What Is It?
CBANS [Certified Behavior Analysts in Nevada Schools] is an interdisciplinary program in Special Education and Behavior Analysis, specifically focused on current special education teachers in Nevada schools. Faculty in the College of Education Special Education program, the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities, the Behavior Analysis Program in the Psychology Department of the College of Liberal Arts are collaborating to deliver a Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Behavioral Interventions. This degree will provide scholars with the specialized and rigorous preparation to support students, ages 3-22, with severe behavioral challenges.
Why Are We Doing This?
Research suggests that there is a shortage of teachers who have the necessary skills to support students with behavioral difficulties, particularly students diagnosed with autism and other developmental and intellectual disabilities (e.g., Adera & Bullock, 2010). A majority of students with developmental disabilities engage in challenging behaviors (e.g., Holden & Gitlesen, 2006) and without adequate education and behavioral treatment, these challenging behaviors tend to be long lasting, require more intensive services, and are likely to hinder future academic performance (Dunlap et al, 2006). Decades of empirical research have demonstrated the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in supporting individuals with challenging behaviors. The international Behavior Analysis Certification Board has established uniform knowledge content, service standards, and criteria for the credentialing of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Nevada currently has only 55 Board Certified Behavior Analysts in the entire state, very few of whom are working in Nevada’s schools.
What Are Our Goals?
- Recruit, admit, support, retain, and graduate at least 21 scholars (who are current Nevada special education teachers) with a Masters degree in Education and an emphasis in Behavioral Interventions with scholar support accounting for at least 65% of the budget;
- Provide each scholar with high quality coursework from two departments (Special Education and Psychology);
- Provide each scholar with high-quality fieldwork supervision for a minimum of 1,500 hours including direct supervision (i.e., classroom observation) from a BCBA at least two times per month for 10% of the 1,500 total hours;
- Provide each scholar with the mentoring and support to complete an annual Reflective Self-Evaluation and summary of their annual progress;
- Prepare scholars to be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam by completing (approved) coursework and 1,500 hours of supervised fieldwork (10% direct supervision);
- Mentor each scholar in completing a professional portfolio with artifacts demonstrating skills in eight evidence-based competency areas;
- Ensure project completers maintain employment in Nevada school districts to support Nevada students with disabilities, aged 3-22.
Who Are Our Staff?
Dr. Shanon Taylor, Project Co-Director. Dr. Taylor is currently an Associate Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at UNR. She earned her Ed.D. from the University of Memphis in 2003. While there, she served as a Behavioral Site Consultant for a statewide positive behavior support project, the RISE (Restructuring for Inclusive School Environments) Project. Once at UNR, she served as the project director for Project DESERT (Distance Education for Special Education Rural Teachers, 2004-2007, $246,594, Nevada Collaborative Teaching Improvement Program), which prepared 50 unlicensed, but working teachers, to earn highly qualified status. Dr. Taylor developed the Master’s Degree concentration in autism, leading to the autism teaching endorsement in Nevada. She advises all students in that concentration area, as well as students concentrating on emotional/behavioral disorders. Currently, she is the head of a “community of practice” in Project EXCEL, oversees the recruitment and retention of undergraduate dual education majors, and serves as the College of Education representative to the UNR Faculty Senate.
Dr. Scott Harrington, BCBA-D, Project Co-Director. Dr. Harrington is currently the Director of Youth Transition for the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED) and an Adjunct Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at UNR. He received his Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis from the University of Nevada in 2004, and Masters degree (Applied Behavior Analysis) at the University of the Pacific (Stockton, CA). In 1999 he founded Sierra Nevada Academy, the first elementary charter school in Nevada, where he was the Director for Special Education services, Director of Behavior Services (Learning Resource Center), and mathematics teacher for grades 5-8. He has been funded as the PI or co-PI for $3.8 million in external funding in the last six years, and is currently the PI on three federally funded projects at the NCED. He teaches a graduate course in Education Specialties and an undergraduate course in Community Health Sciences. Dr. Harrington serves as a committee member on several theses and dissertations in the College of Education, and over the last 20 years has scores of presentations and papers in the areas of transition, community-based employment, and measurement.
Dr. Larry Williams, BCBA-D, co-principal investigator. Dr. Williams is the past Director of the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. After gaining his Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, Canada, he helped establish and later directed the first graduate program in Special Education in Latin America at the Federal University at Sao Carlos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, teaching over an 8 year period. He subsequently directed several clinical programs for persons with Intellectual Disabilities at Surry Place Center in Toronto, Canada over a ten-year period. Having published several books and over 60 journal articles and book chapters he maintains a lab group with interests in conditional discrimination processes, relational responding, verbal behavior, clinical assessment and interventions, and staff training and management systems for human services delivery.
Ashley Greenwald, BCBA, MA, co-principal investigator. Ms. Greenwald received her Master’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in Psychology/Behavior Analysis in 2009. She serves as the Administrative/Clinical Director of the Positive Behavior Support of Nevada project; Co-PI on a state funded project through Aging and Disability Services Division and Department and Health and Human Services, overseeing funds of $361,690 per year. In her role, Ms. Greenwald manages statewide training and technical assistance in behavior support for parents, teachers and providers of individuals with disabilities and challenging behavior. Ms. Greenwald has conducted a line of research in autism and developmental disabilities and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Psychology/Behavior Analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Dr. Stephen Rock, project advisor. Dr. Rock is Director of Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities and also Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at UNR. Dr. Rock received his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois in 1985. In 1991, he helped established the NCED and served as the director from 1991-2001 and 2008 to the present. Since arriving at UNR in 1990, he has served as Acting Dean for the College of Education, Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty Senate Chair, chaired of the one the Institutional Review Boards, and served in numerous other campus leadership roles. Currently, he is the Co-Director of the NvLEND; teaches two courses per year in special education, educational research, and program evaluation; chairs a doctoral committee; and serves as an outside member on thesis and doctoral dissertations in psychology, social work, educational leadership, and other areas of education. Dr. Rock has been involved in conducting or supervising over $40 million of externally funded projects from federal, state, and private sources. Dr. Rock will help to advise the project as a part of his director’s role in the NCED.
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