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Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

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43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #385
CE Offered: BACB
From Diploma to Behavior Analyst – Educating Our Next Generation
Monday, May 29, 2017
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Convention Center 304
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Thomas Ratkos, M.A.
Chair: Thomas Ratkos (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Rodney D. Clark (Allegheny College)
Abstract: As the science and practice of behavior analysis grow, more and more programs have been created to meet the demand. Existing programs are growing, adapting, and changing over time as well. This symposium is a joint effort of two research teams that have investigated various aspects of undergraduate and graduate training. One paper will present what literature that members of the field believe is essential for undergraduates seeking to enter practice or graduate programs. The second paper examines the state of graduate training programs. Best practices for ‘raising’ the next generation of behavior analysts must be developed using an evidenced-based approach. If we are able to raise standards and take a thoughtful approach to how we train undergraduates and graduate students, we will build a foundation for our discipline to grow broad and strong. Our discussant will review these papers coming from a background of a career teaching undergraduate students the concepts and principles of behavior analysis.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): education, graduate training, teaching, undergraduate training
Essential Readings for Undergraduate Students in Behavior Analysis: A Survey of Behavior Analytic Faculty and Practitioners
THOMAS RATKOS (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University), Ryan M. Zayac (University of North Alabama), Nathan Donahue (University of North Alabama), Amber Paulk (University of North Alabama), Mary Ware (University of Southern Mississippi)
Abstract: A growing need for individuals with behavior analytic training at the undergraduate level has led to an increase in baccalaureate programs with a strong behavior analytic focus. Although research has been conducted examining essential and assigned readings at the graduate level, no research to date has focused on identifying suggested readings that should be a focal point of undergraduate training programs. The purpose of the present study was to identify what individuals from across the behavior analytic field believe are essential readings for undergraduate students as they prepare for employment in the field or admission into graduate programs. Respondents were asked to provide answers to a variety of questions about essential readings in the field and whether these would be critical to undergraduate training. This paper presents those texts that were deemed essential, as well as areas where opinions varied.
Evaluation of Behavior-Analytic Training Content by Behavior Analysis Program Coordinators
JAMES W. DILLER (Eastern Connecticut State University), Dana Blydenburg (Eastern Connecticut State University)
Abstract: This study investigated the perceptions of program coordinators of Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) approved course sequences. A survey about the content of these training programs was distributed via a BACB listserv, and 49 program directors responded. They reported on the coverage of an array of behavior-analytic content and the sources of their course readings. These participants also indicated whether content area coverage was sufficient, too little, or too much. There were many program directors who reported that particular areas do not have sufficient coverage (e.g., Behavioral Pharmacology, Biological Bases of Behavior, Organizational Behavior Management). Furthermore, several program directors reported that their course sequence does not adequately prepare students in basic research. These results suggest that the evaluation of behavior-analytic training content may be warranted to train well-rounded behavior-analytic professionals.


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