Family Studies Faculty

Meet Our Family Studies Faculty

Silvia Bartolic (Senior Instructor)

Silvia Bartolic earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and French and a Master of Arts degree in Family Studies from the University of British Columbia (UBC). She then worked as a Researcher in Distance Education and Psychiatry as well as a Sessional Instructor in Family Studies at UBC. After several rewarding years in these positions, she decided to go back to graduate school to earn a PhD. She completed her degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin (partially at a distance) and once again returned to UBC to teach as a Sessional Instructor. She currently holds a Senior Instructor position in the Department of Sociology.

Three goals that drive her instructional practice—to position students as co-creators of their learning; to develop their transferable skills for life after the BA; and, to promote an interest in lifelong learning—are marshalled in support of her overarching aim to create lasting change in students’ knowledge, beliefs, behaviors and attitudes, even when they face exceptional challenges.

When asked what she loves about the Family Studies minor, Silvia says, “As one of the primary socialization agents, families are such an important part of who we are as individuals and as a society.  I love the diversity my students bring to the learning environment adding so much to our discussions on the various ways we ‘do family’. This minor allows for a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives on family life that can be transferred to our day to day interactions both in personal and professional settings.”


Kathy Greaves (Lecturer)

Kathy Greaves is a new Lecturer in the Department of Sociology with a focus on the Family Studies minor. This year, she will be teaching Family Context of Human Development and Parent-Child Relationships. She received her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University (OSU) where she remained as an Instructor for 18 years. She typically taught courses with enrollments from 400-600, culminating in an estimated 43,000 students. Cultivating personal growth in students is the central tenet to her teaching. She was a frequent guest speaker, authority on sexual health and relationships, and is a Certified Family Life Educator. Her Ask Dr. Sex column was the longest-running college student sex advice column in the United States, giving her the well-known title of “Dr. Sex.” About joining UBC, Kathy says she is “cautiously excited” to interact with UBC students after teaching US students for so long. “I’m sure I have a lot to learn from Canadian students!”


Phyllis Johnson (Associate Professor)

Phyllis Johnson’s research emphasizes the allocation of financial and human resources by families coping with stressful circumstances, including immigration and resettlement, family separation, unemployment, and conflicts between work and family responsibilities. Her recent work and family research focuses on families with one member working in distant and dangerous settings. This line of research began with an archival study of sailors on Arctic voyages, and now includes NASA astronauts. She is part of a multinational group of researchers (P. Suedfeld, PI, Canada, and co-investigators V. Gushin, Russia, & J. Boyd, USA) who have received a Canadian Space Agency contract to interview retired Cosmonauts. Marital and family relations, and work-life issues are her contributions to this retrospective study.


Anne Martin-Matthews (Professor)

Anne Martin-Matthews has returned to UBC as of July 1, 2018, following a 14 month secondment as Acting Vice-President, Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics, for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in Ottawa. Prior to that, she completed two terms (2004-2011) as the Scientific Director of the Institute of Aging, one of 13 national Institutes of the CIHR. Since coming to UBC in 1998, she has held positions as Associate Dean Research, Associate Dean Strategic Initiatives, and Dean pro tem in the Faculty of Arts. She has been a member of the Department of Sociology since 2008. Prior to coming to UBC, she was founding Director of the pan-University Gerontology Research Centre, and member of the Department of Family Studies, at the University of Guelph (1978-1997).

 Robyn Pitman

Robyn Pitman (Lecturer)

Robyn Pitman is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Colombia. She has a PhD in Family Relations and Human Development from the University of Guelph. Before coming to UBC, Robyn was an undergraduate Sessional Lecturer for 8 years at several universities. From 2013 to 2016, she taught exclusively at the University of Guelph in the Adult Development and Child, Youth, and Family programs. She has experience teaching lower and upper level courses that include introductory psychology, child development, health and well-being, couple and family relationships, research methods, parent-child relationships across the lifespan, introductory statistics, and relational processes.


Caroline Sanner (Lecturer)

Caroline Sanner is a new Lecturer in the Department of Sociology. She will be teaching courses in family studies, including Family Context of Human Development, Diversity in Family Forms, and Human Sexuality.  She attained her PhD at the University of Missouri in Human Development and Family Science, where she also worked as a community educator, teaching research-based programs on topics such as how to strengthen romantic partnerships, nurture and support children during parental separation and divorce, and create healthy step-family dynamics. About coming to UBC, Caroline says, “I deeply enjoy the creative energy and intellectual vitality of the university classroom. I’m delighted to bring my teaching experience to UBC, and I look forward to engaging with the students as we explore critical family issues.”

Other Contributing Faculty to the Minor




Neil Armitage

Sinikka Elliott

Sean Lauer

Nathan Lauster

Yue Qian

Oral Robinson

Becki Ross

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