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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #135
CE Offered: BACB
Providing Behavioral Services in Higher Education: Supporting Students, Faculty, and Administration
Saturday, May 26, 2018
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom HI
Area: EDC/PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Katelyn Danielle Smith (University of Mississippi)
CE Instructor: Benjamin N. Witts, Ph.D.

University enrollment and state support for public institutions have largely been trending downward for several years now. These downward trends mean that universities have less money and fewer resources to support their many programs and services. When resources are scarce, administrators are faced with difficult choices. The behavior analyst is uniquely situated in the higher education system to provide services that help support institutional goals and protect his or her discipline during difficult economic times. Curricular and pedagogical advancements through behavior analytic technologies help to strengthen the behaviorist's position within the university while simultaneously expanding the field. This symposium presents three areas of involvement where behavior analysts can provide meaningful contributions to student, program, and university growth. G. DeBernardis discusses ways in which behavior analytic undergraduate programming can promote student success while also growing our field. K. Kellum provides an overview of how to promote university-wide faculty success in meeting assessment and accreditation goals. B. Witts reviews how behavioral faculty can include graduate students in conducting assessments at the university to increase supports for non-traditional students.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): accreditation, curriculum, higher education, university
Target Audience:

Higher education instructors (faculty, professors, lecturers) Higher education administrators Graduate students

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the symposium, attendees will be able to 1) identify how faculty and administrators can contribute to student success in ABA and the field of ABA through undergraduate education, 2) identify how behavior analytic faculty can contribute to assessment and accreditation practices across the university, and 3) how graduate courses in ABA can be used to help graduate students get hands-on experience with behavioral assessments while contributing to university growth.
Fostering the Future: Promoting Behavior Science in Undergraduate Education
GENEVIEVE M. DEBERNARDIS (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The increased demand for behavior analysts has led to rapid growth within our field, yet a need remains for qualified practitioners at the bachelor’s level. Compounding this issue, there are few bachelor’s programs that offer specialized training in behavior analysis, and most programs in general psychology provide students with minimal exposure (if any) to behavior science. Given the need for behavior analysts at the bachelor’s level, more needs to be done to promote opportunities within behavior science in undergraduate education. This paper will review the current state of undergraduate training programs in our field, including the various ways students are formally exposed to behavior analysis in academia. This will include a review of the current state of undergraduate majors, specializations, coursework, and experiential learning opportunities in behavior analysis. Suggestions for implementing undergraduate training in behavior analysis and fostering the development of these programs will be outlined. In addition, the anticipated future growth of undergraduate education in behavior science will be discussed.

Nontraditional Students' Views of Their University at a Medium-Sized Midwest University

BENJAMIN N. WITTS (St. Cloud State University)

Higher education recognizes two general classifications of student: traditional and nontraditional. Traditional students are those students who transition immediately from secondary to post-secondary schooling. Nontraditional students are everyone else, and include undergraduate students over the age of 25, students who took time off between secondary and post-secondary schooling, and those students with dependents, to name a few. Nontraditional students are often overlooked by faculty and staff, disconnected with their university, and must endure additional hardships not experienced by their traditional student counterpart. This presentation outlines four assessments conducted at a medium-sized Midwest university that aimed to better understand how this broad population was being served at this university. While some results varied, the general conclusion across assessments was that this university is atypical when it comes to nontraditional student inclusion, belonging, and supports. I conclude with a discussion of how this information can be used to continue developing these supports and how it can be used for recruitment and retention efforts.

A Focus on Faculty Behavior: Influencing Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment Practices
KAREN KATE KELLUM (University of Mississippi), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana, Lafayette)
Abstract: Many regional and field-specific accrediting agencies compel institutions to engage in institutional effectiveness or assessment practices. The specific requirements and language vary between these regulatory bodies, but they typically require a focus on student learning at program or institutional levels. Generally, each accrediting body mandates that programs/institutions define what students should learn, measure the extent to which such learning occurs, and use those data to make changes to the context of student learning. Most faculty are quite adept at developing and evaluating course assignments and examinations; however, few have direct experience doing so across a program of study or the institution. Yet, faculty are often asked to serve on assessment committees. The contextual influences for measuring student learning for class grades are likely quite different than those influencing measuring such learning for the purpose of program or institutional improvement. These different contexts likely require slightly different sets of faculty behavior. This paper reviews contextual changes made over the last 8 years to improve assessment practices at a large southern university and subsequent results as measured by correspondence to good assessment practices. The paper concludes with suggestions for contextual changes that may improve assessment behavior at other institutions.



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