University Series 011 | Wayne State University

Join Operant Innovations as they talk with Dr. Krista Clancy about the undergraduate and graduate degrees at Wayne State University.

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Shauna Costello (00:01):

You're listening to operant innovations, a podcast by ABA technologies. This week we're in the heart of Detroit at Wayne state university. And we'll be talking to Dr. Krista Clancy, dr. Clancy earned her undergraduate degree from Western Michigan university. Her master's degree from Eastern Michigan university and her PhD at Wayne state university. She has been practicing in the field of applied behavior analysis in autism for over 20 years. Dr. Clancy is the program director for the graduate and undergraduate programs in ABA at Wayne state university, where she oversees curriculum development and the field placement for all students in the programs. Dr. Clancy is also very active in the field, functioning as the autism center director for university pediatricians, where she is responsible for the training and program development of the ABA treatment and the clinical oversight of the center. She collaborates with the school of medicine at Wayne state university to run an interdisciplinary training rotation for approximately 150 students in residents per year in a variety of programs, medical, and clinical.

Shauna Costello (01:07):

She has been the principal investigator on state grants, totalling approximately $1.5 million focused on the capacity building and support for the autism insurance legislation passed in 2013. Please welcome dr. Krista Clancy. Speaking about Wayne state university. We are here with Dr. Krista Clancy speaking with Wayne state university in the heart of Detroit, so welcome.

Dr. Krista Clancy (01:34):

Thanks, Shauna. I appreciate that, you've invited me to come and talk about our program. I'm super excited about it. Um, we actually have two programs here at Wayne state. We have, um, an undergraduate program as well as a graduate program. Um, both obviously with a focus on training, um, practitioners in applied behavior analysis. Um, our new program is our masters in applied behavior analysis. In about 2013, we started a, um, a cohort model where we did a graduate certificate and, um, we have had, um, we are now in our 11th cohort and this year is our first year that we were able to get approved and get started with a masters in applied behavior analysis.

Dr. Krista Clancy (02:20):

So previous to that, our students were able to get a master's in educational psychology. Um, and then they had a concentration in an applied behavior analysis, but now, um, we were able to add some more content to our behavior analysis content. And then we took out a little bit of, um, the educational content that we were covering for the masters in education. So I'm excited about that. Um, so our program in applied behavior analysis is a 40 credit hour program. And our students enter in the fall and they are able finish this whole master's in a year and a half. We go straight through five semesters. Um, as I said, we, um, we do this in a cohort model. So the students get an opportunity to really get to know each other. We usually have pretty small class sizes. Our program is an on campus program.

Dr. Krista Clancy (03:18):

Um, our students come in all together, usually between, I would say, 15 to 20 students in a cohort, and they are able to really work together. Um, a lot of times they're out in the field together, sometimes they're, um, in their other classes together as well. Um, we teach our cohorts actually all on one particular site, which is kind of cool too. So we usually have, uh, three, three or four core cohorts running at a time. Um, so we usually have a couple of our master's programs and then our undergraduate program. And we have a nice little building that the students all attend and they all for the most part have classes on Thursday. So they get to eat lunch together. They hang out together. We have the new cohorts entering. We have the more experienced cohorts who are there. So it's really a nice mentorship model that they get to. Like I said, they really help each other out and they work well together as a community.

Shauna Costello (04:20):

I know that I have a little bit of experience with Wayne state's program because when I was in Metro Detroit, I was supervising a student who was going through Wayne state's program. I'm not sure if I told you that when we talked before or not, but, um, so what is a little bit more, I know you said that there's one site that they focus that they're at a lot of the time, and I know that Wayne state is primarily, primarily downtown Detroit in the heart of Detroit. Um, I had, I had the luxury of, um, living right there. Right North of Wayne state when I was in Detroit, I'm very, very familiar with the Cass corridor and that area. So where are, where are the students, where is that location that your students are?

Dr. Krista Clancy (05:11):

Yeah, so, um, interestingly enough, we actually have rented space out of a community college out in Farmington Hills. So we don't have our, um, ABA cohorts downtown. They do come downtown. They have three classes that are still in the, um, in the master's of education program. So our students take, um, in addition to the behavioral classes, they take a developmental class. They take us like psychopathology class and an evaluation and measurement class. So it's a nice, um, it gives them a nice background just on the kinds of things that would help to supplement their work in applied behavior analysis. Those classes are all downtown, typically they're in the college of education, um, which is kind of right in the middle of campus.

Dr. Krista Clancy (05:55):

Um, but our behavioral classes actually teach out of the Oakland County community college campus. There used to be a Wayne state campus over in Farmington, and that building itself actually closed because the only people that were in it were us. And so now they've moved us to, um, one of the buildings in, um, on that Oakland County community college campus. But, um, like I said, the cool thing is, is they're all together. There's like a nice little lobby and they kind of mingle together and do some things. Um, but the nice thing is, is parking's free and it's easy to get to. And it's just, it makes it for a really nice commute, um, most, well actually all of our students are also working. So we require our students to do their coursework and their field work at the same time. Um, we have, uh, basically a sister practicum class to each one of our core content classes.

Dr. Krista Clancy (06:53):

And each semester they take a practicum class where they learn something about working in the field. Um, most of the content is heavily focused on applied behavior analysis, but we also do, um, some of the content just kind of focusing on how to work with parents a little bit better about how to have effective communication, things like that are also embedded. And our students are, um, doing these performance packets that we have for them as well. Um, and what they do is they, they all, I actually just started something new. Um, when we started our masters program, um, we were beefing up the content a little bit, preparing things for task list five and just feeling like we were getting students that had more background in applied behavior analysis, entering our programs. So we started to really, um, start at a higher level within our foundations class.

Dr. Krista Clancy (07:44):

So I started to ask the students, um, just this year that they either come into our program with an RBT certificate already, or we have, um, as I said, our undergraduate program is happening at the same time. And we changed when that program starts. So instead of that program started in the fall. We now have that program starting in the spring summer. So if any of our students are entering and they do not have that RBT already, they then take the first course, which is the foundation course in our BCABA program, which is basically all the RBT curriculum. So they all are entering, you know, with some basic knowledge and applied behavior analysis. And they're all working because by semester one, they have to start with their field experience work, and really starting to focus on that. So, um, our goal for the students is that they finish everything by the end of the time that they're here.

Dr. Krista Clancy (08:41):

And I feel like what makes our program different than, um, some of the other programs, at least from what I've experienced in this particular area is the students feel very prepared when they leave our program because they've gotten the opportunity to work out in the field. They have practiced every single thing that we have done in class because we have a very heavy behavioral skills training model. So they learn about it. They role play it in class, and then they take it out into the field and meet with our practicum packets that we have their performance based packets. And we work really closely with the people in the community. So we don't have our own university based training program, but I also work very closely with all of the students to make sure that they're placed in a practicum placement where they have a supervisor I'm available for any of the supervisors to call in and speak with me about any of our, um, graded material that they have to do.

Dr. Krista Clancy (09:41):

But the students then follow along with the coursework where they have a variety of training rubrics, and they have to take those out into the field. Their supervisor has to agree for them to be in our program to fill out all the paperwork that's associated. So they do all the live stuff. My experience with this so far is the, both the practicum students or the field experience students, as well as the supervisors who are out in the field have really enjoyed adding this because it gives them some structure. It makes sure that they leave the program, knowing how to do all the basics like they don't miss, they obviously, everybody learns how to do discrete trial and mandate and things like that, but they have to do a functional assessment interview. They have to do an FA, they have to do a training rubric where they have to teach somebody else.

Dr. Krista Clancy (10:27):

So it just kind of walks them through that process. And the students have felt much more confident and prepared when they leave our program. They also, um, in the state of Michigan, at least right now, um, they, the students are able to work as soon as they graduate because we have a, um, we have a licensure or not a licensure. I'm sorry. We have, um, we have a bill that passed some legislation that passed a few years ago that allowed, um, they call it a QBHP. It's a qualified mental health professional. And as long as you have a master's degree and you've had a years worth of experience working with children with autism, and you have at least three classes under your belt in applied behavior analysis, you can bill as if you were a BCBA, um, for the Medicaid clients in the state.

Dr. Krista Clancy (11:15):

So they were supposed to end that, but they extended it another five years. So our students do also have the benefit because they have all three of those things when they graduate, they may not have their BCBA, but they can get out and they can practice and they can work while they're studying for their exams. So I think that that's really beneficial because, um, I would much rather our students be prepared and have those practicum hours underneath of them or those field experience hours underneath of them. So that way, when they get out in the field, I know they're going to get a job and I know they're going to be functioning like a BCBA because all these positions that are available in Michigan. So I do feel a lot better that they're very prepared to actually be in that role. And they're doing good work with kids instead of, you know, learning how to do that after they graduate, which I know a lot of people have the experience where they do all their coursework first, and then they do their field experience afterwards.

Dr. Krista Clancy (12:08):

And I really do like our model because our students are pretty sought after too. I think a lot of people like, um, when, um, they get somebody from Wayne state and they've had all of those different experiences as well. So I think that's probably my favorite part of the program. Um, the other part that I really like about our program is outside of me. So I'm the only full time faculty here at Wayne state in our ABA programs. And all of our other faculty are adjunct faculty and they're all BCBAs or center directors that are out working in clinics. Um, so they have really great, um, experiencial learning that happens in class because they're bringing all that stuff right from the clinics, right from the work environment that they're going to be in. And, um, and the students not only get their field experience, but almost all of them get a job, you know, a good job right at the end, because of course, as somebody who's doing field experience supervision, you want to not just waste all the time that you've invested in that student, but you want to keep them on and you want to hire them.

Dr. Krista Clancy (13:13):

So almost all of them have a full time job before they've even graduated, which is also really nice. And I know it's not, it's not competitive in the sense, like most BCBAs can get a job, but it is really nice to be training at the place that you're likely to work. So the students also have a lot of flexibility because they can go pretty much anywhere as long as their supervisor is willing to do our packets because they are graded and, you know, they have an opportunity to take our students. So that's another really great thing, but our adjuncts, they teach at both levels. Most of them teach in our undergraduate and our graduate program. Um, so similar concepts, but you know, a little bit of a different flair for how they're going to use it out in the community, which is really nice as well.

Shauna Costello (14:01):

Yeah, and I had that same experience when I was in Metro Detroit. I was actually teaching in the undergraduate program at Oakland university. And I know that even hearing feedback from the students that I was teaching, they really appreciate it because each one of us came with a different background and different experiences. And sometimes they'd be like, oh, I didn't even know that was a thing for behavior analysis, just depending on who was teaching them and what they were being taught in that course. Um, but I also know that, you know, Michigan it's, they have expanded that QBHP role. And I know that in, when I was still there, it's been almost two years now since I've been out of the clinical world. Um, but I know that a lot of the centers and the services throughout Metro Detroit are even requiring their, all of their, their RBTS to become a certified RBT. So I can see that that's coming. That's a much bigger thing than it was, when it, wasn't even a thing when I was in grad school. So,

Dr. Krista Clancy (15:08):

Yeah, we definitely have a benefit of, of being able to have their RBT right up front, you know, getting that, um, even if they don't require it, most of the places will pay you a lot more if you have an RBT. So, um, most of our students, I mean, I would say all of our students, Wayne state is a unique kind of university because people are, you know, kind of pull themselves up by their bootstraps and, you know, they're all working, they're all very, very busy, you know, nobody's paying for their college. You know, a lot of these people are coming in and, um, they're really working hard.

Dr. Krista Clancy (15:39):

So that's the other reason why we have the classes kind of altogether. Um, I, all of our instructors, they clear their Thursdays. We do Thursday classes for the most part. And that way the students are free to work any of the other days. Um, it's a long day for us. Cause if the students have two or three classes in a day and we only teach them one day a week, so, you know, they're in class all day long, but, um, they're excited, they're interested. Um, you know, they bring their lunches, we all kind of eat and talk and learn and, you know, do all of that stuff together. So, um, it does enable them to work really hard, but the nice thing is, is they're working in a field that they're also learning in so it's for most of our students, it's very applicable. They're learning in all of the environments that they're in. So lots and lots of crossover, which is very cool.

Shauna Costello (16:32):

And so what are some of the, I know some of the practicum sites that are up there in the area or the potential sites that they're learning at, but can you explain maybe like, what are some of the sites that the students are getting their experience at? Is there any that are unique? Um,

Dr. Krista Clancy (16:48):

Yeah, I mean, as far as unique, I'm not sure at this point, um, a lot of our students are coming from similar places because, you know, they come through our program and then they tell the other people that are at their place and then they also apply for our program. So a lot of the programs now or the clinics that we're working with are fairly familiar. They're like repeat clinics for the most part, but we get a lot of people from, um, uh, I'm also the, uh, director at University Pediatricians Autism Centers.

Dr. Krista Clancy (17:22):

So we get a lot of people from there just because of my presence in both of those places. And we have a couple of professors that are also from there. Um, so we get a lot of cross over, um, from there we get, we've gotten quite a few students coming from a children's center, which is right down in Detroit. Um, so they have given us a lot of really positive feedback on our packets and things like that. Uh, we get a lot of students now from gateway, gateway has gotten pretty big and they've got multiple locations now. So, um, so I think in between the two cohorts that I have running, um, during the day we must have five or six people just from, from gateway. Um, we've always had a lot of people from Centria. Um, Centria historically had done a lot of in home therapy.

Dr. Krista Clancy (18:10):

Um, but now they've got a couple of clinics as well. And I guess what I'm seeing as far as the trends is there used to be clinics or in home. And now what we're seeing a lot more of is almost every place is doing both. And for our students, my recommendation is that they get some experience in both types of settings. So I really do prefer when, like, if they start out as in-home great, but I do prefer that they then ask, um, whatever agency that they're working for, if they can also get some clinic experience, because, um, I do find that the students that just do in home are limited because they only see a handful of cases. Um, so I think that that's an important thing for students when they're kind of thinking about, um, you know, what is their educational experience going to look like?

Dr. Krista Clancy (18:57):

Because the bigger problem, I guess, with the educational experiences, when students are, are not knowledgeable in the types of experiences that they need to get the most out of their practicum. And that's actually something that we've added to our field experience courses now, because the first course we've really focused on, let's get ready in your practicum. What do you need to, um, what do you need to talk to your supervisor about what kinds of things do you need to make sure you're prepared with? Um, we have a practicum plan where they have to sit down with their supervisor and they have to, you know, kind of lay out what are all of my hours going to look like all 1500 of them, what am I going to do? Where am I going to do them? And they have to sit down with their supervisor right off, right in the beginning when they do their contract and things.

Dr. Krista Clancy (19:45):

And then of course we've got like benchmarks for each semester to kind of do certain things, um, within that time period. So I think, I think that has gone really well. Um, there's a variety of other places that we've also partnered with pretty much, like I said, I will let any of the students, as long as they have a good working environment, I'll work with any of the other programs. So, you know, we've had autism home supports, we've had Kauffman center, we've had, you know, just any pretty much any of the places that are interested where the students are going, 'cause I don't want to limit them. And I really want them to have an opportunity if they're already working somewhere, I want them to stay as long as there's, as long as their clinic will provide them with the supervision. I don't want to take them out of their clinic and then send them somewhere else because most of these people are coming in because they've already found that they love being a behavior technician. So I don't really want to disrupt where they're at. Um, and that helps the clinics be a little bit more likely to work with us as well.

Shauna Costello (20:46):

Yep, and I know that in the school system, up in that area, it's still a little bit 50 50, but, um, I know that, uh, where I was working at before we actually, and I know that it's a, it's on a very case by case basis, but we actually had the, to where the school district was paying us to provide an RBT in the school, a trained RBT in the school, um, just because they needed more support. And so I know that there are some really unique opportunities up there and the amount and the array of different clients that the students are probably working with is just insane because I know that I worked anywhere from, I think my youngest at one time he came in when he was about eight months, he wasn't even walking yet. Um, and then I worked all the way up until, and they're individuals in group homes in their seventies.

Dr. Krista Clancy (21:41):

Yeah, absolutely. I haven't really had a lot of the students coming in, working in group homes. We did have a relationship with Hawthorne psychiatric facility and we were doing a little bit of work from, with them. Um, so that we had a couple of students placed there, um, which was unique, but it was still, um, in their child and adolescent unit. And then we, yeah, most of them are working with a kid and they worked from like 18 months up to, you know, 18 years because that's where the benefit is typically, you know, paying for services. Medicaid goes up to 21, but I haven't had a lot of people report that they're working with, um, with adult patients yet. Um, I'm definitely hoping that that increases. I know that they're hiring for BCBAs at a lot of the psychiatric facilities in the area.

Dr. Krista Clancy (22:36):

They're also starting to hire in the schools. We have had a handful of people that have had field experience placements in the schools. The problem that I have seen mostly with that is there aren't enough BCBAs working in the schools yet to provide that supervision. So that's been a little bit difficult, but we did have somebody from Ohio that was working in the school and came up here. We've had somebody working at a Detroit school district and then, um, the ones that are doing both where they're actually just functioning as a teacher and then they're trying to get their BCBA on top of that. They don't, they're not as successful because they're just really pulled too thin, there's too much to do. And they're not really immersed in the world of ABA. And that's been a little bit more difficult for those folks, but, um, but some of the other ones, they, they, they really are starting to get a lot more BCBAs working in schools. Um, but you know,

Shauna Costello (23:31):

Typically it's, it's a consultative method though, too. It's not always the get the training, that they would get at a different settting.

Dr. Krista Clancy (23:43):

You're right. It is very much consultative. And they struggle with, um, getting a lot of the one on one stuff done because they're not very strong in just the general stuff that we do in the clinic, but they are more strong in writing behavior plans and assessments and things like that because those are their experiences,

Shauna Costello (24:02):

Yeah, and those collaborative skills, because I know that that's a, that was a big thing that I needed to talk with my supervisees about is that like I would have them shadow me in schools just because, because I was the BCBA, I was the one going into the schools because I was doing the consultation, but at the same time, they're my supervisees. And I want them to get that experience. So, you know, I would sign all their releases dot all the I's cross all the T's to have them just come with me to see what that's like and kind of get that experience just because that the collaboration with the school system is so important. And as much as we want to go in there and be gung ho, that's not always the best way to do it. So, um, so that's

Dr. Krista Clancy (24:49):

A lot of our students are having experiences going to IPs, going and observing, but they definitely are going, I have heard quite a bit of that, um, in our discussions. And we spend a lot of time, um, we have one field experience class in particular, um, where I was talking about working with parents and, and improving communication. And we focus on that coordination of care. We focus on, you know, who are we talking to out in the community? How do we need to partner with them? Because those are those soft skills are not a strong point for us in applied behavior analysis. So, um, so we do, we take a whole class to really focus on that and hit on some of those pieces and just making sure that when they go out into the world, they're, they're treating people with the same values and respect that they want to be treated with and kind of learning how to be that collaborative person so that we could go out in the bigger world and, um, and make more friends in other areas. So I think that's going really well. And that's, I think a little bit unique with our program as well, that we really do focus on, you know, the whole child, not just, you know, working and changing behavior, but changing behavior of the family and trying to collaborate a little bit more with all those other people. So that, that is kind of close to my heart. 'Cause it's a, it's a downfall for a lot of people out in the field.

Shauna Costello (26:12):

Yeah, it definitely takes some getting used to, to, cause I know that, um, we stay in our bubbles often. So breaking us out of our bubbles yes, is a thing, but that comes with experience. Um, and I know that you kind of talked about, um, like these, like the projects in the templates and like the experience packets, what are some of the, either research or projects or those types of things that the students are going to be working on while they're going through the program?

Dr. Krista Clancy (26:43):

Yeah, sure. Um, we don't have a mandatory research project. They don't have to do a thesis or anything like that. Um, but um, each class they do have to do a presentation, so they get good at talking in front of people. They get good at really using their verbal skills and being able to, in the beginning, we want them to learn how to talk like a behavior analyst. And in the end we want them to learn how to talk behavior analysis in, in normal speech that you would talk to everybody else. And, um, so they do, they do a formal presentation, um, pretty much every semester. Um, when they do their research class, they learn how to do the research and they develop, um, a research protocol, but they don't necessarily implement it if they wanted to implement it. And if their supervisor at their field site was able to do that, we do have several students that on the clinics that they work at, they're very research oriented. So some of them will turn into a poster. We have local conference here, it's the behavior analysis association of Michigan. And every February they have the conferences on Thursday and Friday and our classes are always on Thursday. So it's mandatory for all of our students to go to the behavior analysis association of Michigan conference on Thursday. And they actually have to, you know, write something on that. So, um, I think that piece of it, although they don't all necessarily do research, they get immersed in our, you know, in our, I guess our community, and kind of seeing what's out there and what other people are doing.

Dr. Krista Clancy (28:18):

And like I said, a lot of them will complete a poster. I do encourage them usually the second year, if they're working with their supervisors, are they able to present anything or are they able to, you know, take a piece of something? Um, they all have to, as part of their field experience packet, they all have to, um, present something like they have to create some sort of a training and present it to, um, somebody at their clinic. So whether it's a parent or whether it's, um, you know, behavior technicians, they have to create some sort of training. Um, and then in their last semester, um, we focus on feedback and supervision and they have to create a 30 minute presentation where they have to use behavioral skills training and present it to our class as if we were behavior technicians.

Dr. Krista Clancy (29:05):

And then we all practice giving the feedback and making sure that we're using our good supervisory skills to make sure that we're doing that, but they have to, um, make sure that they have, you know, a really solid instruction model of feedback so that, you know, the audiences is really participating and that teaches them some of those skills that they would need, not just to do research, but to teach other people how to do things out in the community, whether it's just going and presenting at the MAT conference or the BAM conference or, you know, whatnot. So I think that that's probably the closest that we've got to doing those kinds of things, but, um, the projects I think are beneficial for what their role is going to look like out in the world, whether they're, you know, go into an IEP to describe what the functional assessment is or whether they have to sit down with talk to a parent about a specific procedure, or whether it's a timeout procedure or whatnot, they can very easily just like, let it roll off the tongue and they're not tripping over their words. And they sound a lot more confident that way. So lots of practice with talking and writing

Shauna Costello (30:12):

With the projects that I've seen come from Wayne state, it really allows the students to be creative with what they want to implement and really make it their own. So it's not just like this canned project that you have to do it this way. Um, I remember my student coming in and she's like, I really want like, cause she'd have to sit down and go through the whole thing with me first before anything else. And it was, it was the training and so she, because she was an RBT, she knew exactly what a lot of the other RBTs needed. And so it was really neat to see her come up with this training and this procedure that she's like, I really think that, you know, this could benefit all of the other RBTs in the clinic, but you know, it was tailored to our clinic and our staff at the time. So it was really nice. But then, you know, it also worked as her project for class. So yeah, it was, it was really cool.

Dr. Krista Clancy (31:10):

We really try to do that. We want them to make something that's going to be useful. You know, obviously the supervisors and the clinics are putting a lot of time into these guys. And we want that to be a little bit of a payoff too. Like, what do you like, what can, what can the student give back to you to make sure that they're doing something that's going to be productive for your clinic and the projects they start off. So in the first class, is the foundations class, and they just do a lit review, like they do a review on some article, they have to present it. So it's just kind of getting them acclimated to that. The second, the second semester they have to do a case presentation. So, you know, it's all behavioral assessment and like, we kind of go through all the steps to do that.

Dr. Krista Clancy (31:50):

And then they present on a case as if they had completed all of those assessments or they've done part of those assessments. And in our treatment planning class, they have to create a treatment manual. So they don't necessarily have to train anybody on it. But if they're smart, they start to think about like, what are they interested in training on? And then they create this manual. And then later on when they actually do the presentations in the last semester, like they may have created something that was kind of building off of that first thing. And then in the research class, like I said, they come up with some sort of a research proposal. So, and a lot of that stuff can directly lead to treatment as well. You know? So maybe it's a case study on a particular kiddo at their center or something. That's typically what they're doing.

Dr. Krista Clancy (32:36):

'Cause they're all really immersed in their environments and they're a lot of really cool things at their centers. So I think it really does go back and forth and the students, because they're from all of these different places. So it's not like they're all working at the same clinic. Their experiences are so varied and they really, um, I think they benefit a lot because we talk a lot about what's going on out in the field and you know, how are they like using this information? So I think it's really beneficial because they get an opportunity to highlight what they're doing. But also when they talk about it, now everybody else in the class goes, oh, you take data that way, or, oh, you, you were training it this way or this is how your clinic does it. And then they bring that information back and then they share it with their own clinics.

Dr. Krista Clancy (33:20):

And I think that that just enhances, I've just seen the quality of services just in, I guess, how the students described their experiences in their own clinics. It's changed so much in the last few years. Like just kind of thinking about what the students knew when they came in, in the beginning cohorts when we started and now a few years later, like the quality of intervention has just changed so much. So, and I'd like to think that some of it is how we're training our students, you know, because if we're training people to be really good practitioners and really good supervisors, then they should then be training the next group of students who then are going to do the same thing. So I think we're getting like an exponential gain from that, um, where the students are better, therefore for the services better, therefore the students get more, you know, even better than they were. So, um, so I'm really, I really am seeing an upward trend of ability and problem solving and critical thinking and all that kind of stuff.

Shauna Costello (34:19):

No, and that's great to hear, because I know that from the supervision I got, when I was in grad school, I wanted to produce that same type of quality to my supervisees. And so I know that, um, after I left, uh, my clinic that I was at, um, I know I got texts and stuff from them that were like, thank you so much. We didn't realize how, like, how much you were doing and teaching us until we went somewhere else, and then they said that. And so it's, it was really great to hear. I actually just got a text from an old supervisee about just a few weeks ago. And it was a, it was a parent and our parent and the parent was like, I don't know who trained you, but they did a phenomenal job. And there was some other language in there, but we won't say that right now. But the parent was very, was very, um, not very happy with her previous one. So like they, they got her to come in and yeah, I got it. I just got a text and I haven't, you know, it's been about a year and a half since I left that job position. So it's really great to still hear from them that supervisors are being like, yeah, they're just continuously improving the quality of supervision. Um, so I know we've talked a lot about the program and the students and the practicum sites and the projects. Um, but how can people, what does the application process like? What is the interview? Is there an interview process? Um,

Dr. Krista Clancy (35:49):

Yeah, it's pretty simple. Um, all of our stuff is online. Um, you can very easily just Google BCBA Wayne state university, or BCABA Wayne state university, there's, you know, the general application for the college. And then we have a program application for both of our programs and they fill out the program application and, um, everything is due in March. So March 1st is kind of our big day that we want everything in, um, for both of our programs. Um, you just fill out the application, we do ask for letters of recommendation and obviously a minimum requirement for the GPA. So we want to see the transcripts. Um, we don't have a GRE requirement for the master's level program.

Dr. Krista Clancy (36:34):

Um, but basically once we get everything in, we take a look at it. Um, we're looking for experience, we're looking for obviously ability. Um, I always think that my gut feeling is, is that if we're doing our job as instructors, then we can teach anybody anything as long as they come in and they have the motivation. And then they put in the effort. And I, and I try to tell people, we do have a group interview process. So I bring everybody in and I kind of talk a little bit about the process, the effort, like all of the work that goes into it. And I, and I just try to be really upfront with them because I think when you're looking for a graduate program or an undergraduate program, you have to have a good fit. Like, what are you trying to do? How much time do you have to do it?

Dr. Krista Clancy (37:21):

How much effort are you putting into studying? What do you want to get out of it? You know, so, and we're really, we're really working to train our students to be good out in the field, but also have the ability that they need to hopefully pass the exam right up front, where they don't have to put in a lot of extra studying, you know, after they've graduated, most of our students have started to take their exam. Um, the first, you know, after the first, whenever they graduate, whatever the next one is, um, in less, they have some extra hours to finish for their field experience. A lot of our students are really feeling that they're, they're prepared to do that at that point. So, um, just letting our students know like what that work effort is and what they have to put in up front, I think has been really important.

Dr. Krista Clancy (38:10):

But we do group interview. We kind of make sure that because we have the cohort model, that there aren't any weird outliers that maybe won't fit well into a cohort model. And sometimes people don't do as well with that because there's a lot of, um, a lot of interactions, a lot of discussion, our classes are kind of run like a flip classroom where students have to do the work and then they come in and we practice it and we talk about it and we use the skills in the classroom. So nobody gets to sit in the back and just hang out and not do anything. So we want to make sure that everybody feels like they can talk to each other and that, um, they're on the right track. They have the right goals. We don't want people coming into our program if they don't want to be a BCBA, we want to make sure that, you know, they, they want to, um, accomplish what we want them to accomplish in our program because it's really too hard to just do it for the heck of it.

Dr. Krista Clancy (39:03):

Um, there's way too much content and there's way too much work for them to just come in and, you know, learn about learning theory in our program there are better programs for people that want to do that. So, so from there, we sometimes we'll do a follow up individual interview. If there's somebody that we think we have a couple of questions about, but other than that, we try to admit people, um, by April, because if they do need to do something over the summer to kind of, um, catch up, if they need to take that RBT class or if they want to do, you know, RBT training over the summer on their own to get so that everybody comes in with that certification. So around April people find out whether or not they're in the cohort. And then they just kind of get ready to do that.

Dr. Krista Clancy (39:48):

Our first classes start at the beginning of fall and we have an orientation right on the first day of class. So, um, that's when it all kind of gets started, I'm super easy to reach. A lot of the students just contact me directly with any questions that they have over the summer, you know, whatever's going on. But, um, but yeah, that's kind of our process. It's pretty, well, I wouldn't want to say that it's low key, but it's not, it shouldn't be a super stressful process because we're just, we want to know if it's a good fit. That's what we're looking for. Like, do you want the kind of program that we're offering and we want you to be in that kind of program that we're offering. So are you going to do well, here is what we're looking for.

Shauna Costello (40:28):

Yeah, that sounds exactly like I held my old interviews for all of my techs because it was that same thing. I wanted to make sure that you were going to fit in with all of the staff and our energies and the same with them, because it doesn't just need to be a good fit for me. It also needs to be a good fit for them. So, no, I like that process as well. Um, and so one of my favorite questions is now we've talked about the application process. Um, and I say, you, I don't know where your office is if you're at the one building in Farmington, but, um, the main Wayne state campus is right downtown Detroit and people might, when they hear they still, when they hear Detroit, they, they automatically think of bad stuff. Um, but like I told you, I live just North of Wayne state in new center. So that was my stomping ground was right there. But what is your take on Detroit and Metro Detroit.

Dr. Krista Clancy (41:34):

I'm downtown right now. My, my office is downtown on the main campus. And, um, I, we also have one of our centers that I work at is also downtown right on the Wayne state campus. And, um, I love it down there and it's so different than it was even five years ago, but definitely different than 10 years ago. It's just, there's so much energy. And on Wayne state's campus in particular. A lot of the older buildings are being remodeled, a lot of, um, restaurants and bars and like everybody's moving in and the students really, a lot of them, just a lot of them live down here. You don't have to have a car. I mean, for our campus, that can be really challenging, but I mean, Wayne state in general is just hopping and there's so much going on.

Dr. Krista Clancy (42:23):

It's very exciting. I have a class that I teach late at night, you know, I like walking back to, you know, it's just like kind of walking down the street. Everything's very well lit. You know, it's, it's a great place. It really is. And I'm so surprised even this year, like all the new things that are coming in, they knocked down all these old buildings, like the, the, um, the dorm buildings and things like that. They built all new buildings and they got like Coney Island coming in. I mean, there was so many different things like that are coming in. It's, it's actually pretty incredible. Um, my stepdaughter lived down here her whole time. She went to Wayne state, lived down here in apartment, loved every minute of it. Um, my daughter's graduating this year. She's going to be moving down here. So I think it's a really great place to live, I really do. Um, and it's easy to get everywhere. It is literally whether you're in the suburbs, you know, whatever direction you're going for work. Um, it's a half an hour drive right from wherever. So it's no big deal. There's a million freeways that dump right into the middle of Detroit.

Shauna Costello (43:33):

I was gonna say, Wayne state is right in the middle of all of the major freeways.

Dr. Krista Clancy (43:36):

It is, it's really convenient. And even if something's blocked or there's an issue or whatever you can, I mean very easily maneuver around. So I don't mind it. I live, I live about 40 minutes from here and, um, I really don't mind coming down here at all. I really enjoy it, actually, it's a nice vibe.

Shauna Costello (43:56):

And I mean, there is like, just like you said, there's so many new restaurants that there's so many, there's so many activities. I mean, you guys just had Dally in the Alley a few weeks ago and Dally in the Alley is just where they shut down the Cass corridor. And it's just like a huge, big block party, but there's always events like that going on the campus. Now they have the Q line, which is right on Woodward. I know I took it all the time because I lived right at the end of the Q line, the last stop. And with that Q line, it takes you three miles straight. And well, you guys are closer than I was, but it takes you straight downtown into downtown Detroit. You can go to any of the music festivals they have down there. You can go to any of the sporting events or concerts, or.

Dr. Krista Clancy (44:47):

Oh, yeah, we're so close. They have the new stadiums down there, they have the Caesars arena, like major concerts going on down there, all of that. They have those little scooter things, what are those scooters called?

Shauna Costello (44:58):

The birds and the limes and the,

Dr. Krista Clancy (45:00):

I don't know, but you rent it on your phone and then you can just drop it off and leave it anywhere. And all the students are on the scooters all the time now. And there's like scooters, everywhere. Faculty are on the scooters too. I'll just, I'm okay with walking, but the scooter thing is really fun that everybody's on them. So transportation super easy down here,

Shauna Costello (45:22):

And it's really easy to bike too. I know that, I know that I would, I know that I would bike from my apartment all the way downtown it's three miles. It's a three mile bike ride. It's, it was perfect. And yeah, it's super easy to get around. It's actually still pretty affordable too, to live actually right around Wayne state, unless you go like right downtown Detroit, that's where it starts getting expensive.

Dr. Krista Clancy (45:45):

There are some really pricey places that are kinda by down by the arena. I mean, there's some really nice places going in. Like those, those are the places that most of the students live.

Shauna Costello (46:00):

Right, yeah. It's really cool. Actually the apartment buildings that the students could live in, um, they're all is when you go down there, if you can just walk around the, if you just walk around the streets, every building has a name. Every apartment building is named. So like mine was Philson, like and this building, this building and you know what it is just because all of the apartment buildings are named.

Dr. Krista Clancy (46:24):


Shauna Costello (46:25):

And they're all like, they're all like over a hundred years old, they have the most character ever. And, uh, I miss my, I miss my Detroit department. It was probably my favorite apartment I've ever lived in. So,

Dr. Krista Clancy (46:37):

The buildings are really cool down here. Like just the interesting things to look at that like how there's, that, that is actually really cool that all of the buildings, regardless of whether they're old or new or whatever, everything is very interesting to look at very artsy. Um, lots of, lots of cool things in that area too. I think even, even all the student living, I mean, obviously the dorm is a dorm, but if you're in any of those flats or those apartments that are off campus, um, really neat living places around here.

Shauna Costello (47:09):

Oh. And also one thing I always like to mention is they're super dog friendly. You guys are right next to one of the best dog parks in Detroit.

Dr. Krista Clancy (47:19):

Yeah. That's true. There, there is a dog park, not too far from here. So

Shauna Costello (47:24):

Yep that was my dog park. That was my dog park while I was there. So, um, I love, I love the are, and I always like to rant and rave about Detroit when I can, just because it's not what people think it is. It is actually wonderful.

Dr. Krista Clancy (47:37):

And if you're coming to Michigan, I I've always lived in Michigan. I, well, I lived in Florida for about a year and a half. Um,

Shauna Costello (47:47):

I'm so sorry.

Dr. Krista Clancy (47:48):

Yeah, I actually was too. I hated Florida when, cause when you come from Michigan and everything's so green and there's so many lakes and then there's like all this outdoorsy stuff to do. And then when I went to Florida, I was like in the middle of it, it was like over by Tampa and there's like, no lakes. And anyways, I love everything about Michigan. If people are not from here and they can get a minute to go up North or go camping or hiking or things like that. Um, yeah. I just, I'm definitely a Michigander. I love everything about the landscape here.

Shauna Costello (48:21):

Moving away from it has made me appreciate it even more. There is absolutely everything you could ever want in that state.

Dr. Krista Clancy (48:28):

Yeah. Yesterday just in the back of my neighborhood, I live over by proud Lake and they have miles and miles of trails. So we just take, we walk out our back door, we walked down to the neighborhood, we hit the trails. We went on like a six mile hike yesterday just for the heck of it because it was Sunday. It was, it's just beautiful back there.

Shauna Costello (48:45):

And just like you said, though, you're only 40 minutes from the heart of Detroit. You have this beautiful Lake, right? Yeah. And that's everywhere and it's there and it's wonderful. Um, so you have like the, and Detroit is a big enough city, but it's still a pretty small, big city. Actually, I, I could walk around downtown and run into plenty of, way too many people that I, that I know. Um, so it's a, it's a small, big city, but it still has, it has such a feeling of community and there's history there and,

Dr. Krista Clancy (49:22):

And culture.

Shauna Costello (49:24):


Dr. Krista Clancy (49:24):

There's so much to consider with just all of the different cultures. And I think the med school also brings a lot to the community as well because it just gives it a different feel and, you know, people are coming from all over the world to study at Wayne state. Um, it's just, it's just a very, it's a very cool place. I really, um, I started working here, um, I don't know, 2012 and I hadn't really had any experience with downtown or with Wayne state. And as soon as I came down here, I was, I was just in love. I just love, I love the whole campus. I love the whole Wayne state Detroit vibe thing. Um, it's, it's a very cool place to be. So lots of culture, which I love, the classes, very multicultural classes, more so than anything that I've experienced before.

Dr. Krista Clancy (50:17):

You know, I mean you just have, and it also really adds to the experience of the student, not just from a cultural standpoint, but if you think about what everybody's bringing in that class and their experiences with their own cultures, and now you have, um, training in a variety of cultures of people that you're going to be dealing with on a daily basis, because you don't get to pick who your clients are, you know, they're going to come to you and if they have need, um, you need to be somewhat familiar with, you know, lifestyles and backgrounds and, um, being here at Wayne state, you get a lot of that. Just, just making friends with people in your classes. So I think that's a huge benefit to,

Shauna Costello (50:55):

Yeah, that's awesome. And just a, like you said, another plug for Wayne state. It is one of the best medical schools as well. So, um, but I know we've covered a lot. Is there anything else that you can think of that we haven't talked about yet that you want to make sure?

Dr. Krista Clancy (51:14):

The only thing that I guess that I would say is, um, the end of our program, um, I always end, um, the last two classes, um, with the final cohort class, um, with exit interviews and I meet individually with each of our students who are leaving. Um, I review, they turn in a portfolio and I review all of their work with them. But I think just as importantly, is I get the feedback from them and their experience within our program and what they liked, what they didn't like. And every year when a cohort finishes, I take all of that information. I report it back out to our team. We make changes every single year based on what the students tell us. And, um, the students themselves have given us such great feedback. Um, our program is so much stronger now than it was when we started because of, um, really what the students are able to give us.

Dr. Krista Clancy (52:10):

And I really do enjoy that part of our program as well, because I think it gives an opportunity to make sure that it's tailored well to the consumer. So obviously the people who are purchasing our program are the students and I want their money to be well spent. And I want them to feel like they got what they had intended to get. And the students are more than happy to, you know, share what their learning was and make it better for the next group, because they are so invested in applied behavior analysis. They're so invested in our field that they want the next group to have an even better experience. And I think that's been a really, um, it's been a really nice, um, opportunity to, um, really get that feedback from the students. So

Shauna Costello (52:54):

Hearing about that continuous growth is wonderful, always improving.

Dr. Krista Clancy (52:59):

Yeah. So I think, I mean, that's our program and in, in a big nutshell, that's a big nutshell, that's a lot of stuff, but yeah, I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to talk about it though, because I am really proud of the program and I really do feel like, um, it's what the students need. And, um, and I'm just really excited that you've been able to talk to me about it and you can just share it with people. So, thank you very much.

Shauna Costello (53:26):

No, thank you. I love hearing about, even though, like I said, that, you know, I have this tiny bit, this tiny amount of experience with Wayne state's program. Um, it's I always learn something new in these interviews.

Dr. Krista Clancy (53:41):


Shauna Costello (53:41):

Even though I lived right there and I was on Wayne state's campus all of the time that doesn't, but just the amount that I learned and I'm hoping that, you know, that was the point of this was to really get and start disseminating, not just the field of behavior analysis, but the programs of behavior analysis. So that, because just like you said, we need to be able to find the programs that fit us in our needs. And I know that when I was at Western for my undergrad, so it was very easy to throw all my eggs into one basket for grad school, I was like, no I'm just going to go to Western.

Shauna Costello (54:15):

And, but you know, after doing these interviews, I'm like, maybe I should have, you know what I mean? Like actually looked at other schools. I didn't even look, I fully admit I didn't even look at other schools. So yeah, that was the point of this. And, you know, with your permission, I will be putting the website and your email, if you would like on the podcast description. Um, so everybody can, if they have any questions, just like you said, they can reach out to you, um, or visit the website with that. We'll have more information on it, about the application process and the location and just what you can expect even more of. But I mean, if anybody has any questions, I know you said that the students reach out to you. So,

Dr. Krista Clancy (54:59):

Yeah, I would love that. So, um, feel free to put all my contact information on there. Um, I really love to talk about the program obviously.

Shauna Costello (55:05):

No, that's good.

Dr. Krista Clancy (55:09):

If they have questions, then certainly I would be more than happy to talk to them. And that's, that's what I like. I want it to be a good fit. I don't want them to come in and, and not like what they've gotten. I want them to know exactly what they're getting into because I want them to be successful.

Shauna Costello (55:24):

Thank you for listening to operant innovations next week, we'll be speaking with Corey Robertson and he will be talking about why we do what we do. And as always, if you have questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to contact us at


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