University Series 015 | Arizona State University | On-Campus

You've heard of ASU Online, but have you heard about ASU On Campus? Join Operant Innovations as we talk with Dr. Adam Hahs about the Psychology MS in Applied Behavior Analysis at Arizona State University.

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Shauna Costello (00:01):

You're listening to operant innovations, a podcast brought to you by ABA technologies this week on the university series. We're talking with Dr. Adam Hawes from Arizona state university, and you may have heard of ASU online program, but they also have an on campus program. And dr. Adam Hawes is the director of the MSABA program in the department of psychology at ASU, and is currently the president of the Arizona association for behavior analysis. He earned a PhD from SIU Carbondale, where he focused on language generativity, complex human behavior and clinical behavior analysis with individuals with autism traumatic brain injury and addiction. Dr. Hawes teaches courses and applied behavior analysis and advanced research methods. His research interests include language assessment and development, the peak relational training system, relational frame theory and acceptance and commitment therapy. Dr. Hawes has dedicated over 10 years to supporting and training others in a variety of settings via behavior analytic methods, and have used behavior analysis as science capable of facilitating widespread societal change. So please welcome Dr. Adam Hawes. So we are here with Adam Hawes today from the Arizona state universities on campus program. So thank you for joining us.

Dr. Adam Hawes (01:27):

Good to be here.

Shauna Costello (01:28):

And I'm going to pass it over to you just to give a general overview of the program.

Dr. Adam Hawes (01:36):

Sure. So we started in 2015, we took our first cohort in 2015. Um, and as you mentioned, we're an exclusively on campus program. All of our co coursework is, um, runs through the department of psychology. Um, that's kind of our hub. Um, we have, you know, about 345 classroom hours and we have our practicum embedded into the curriculum such that individuals can currently get their experience with, uh, going through the curricular experience.

Shauna Costello (02:10):

So, so what about the faculty?

Dr. Adam Hawes (02:14):

Sure. Sure. So we, I am, uh, one of the core faculty and Dr. Don Steinhoff is yet another, um, some of the courses are supplemented through faculty associates, all of whom are PhD level BCBADs. Um, and that's, that's kind of our mechanism of operating at present.

Shauna Costello (02:36):

Um, what are some of like the research that you guys are doing on campus?

Dr. Adam Hawes (02:40):

Sure. So my research emphases and interests are specific to acceptance commitment, training and relational frame theory, particularly with kids with developmental disabilities, autism, uh, but also with social emotional, uh, kind of, uh, disabilities or, um, deficits and, um, working within school settings, but also within clinical settings to kind of facilitate their use of, um, RFT and act related curricula. What about your colleagues? Sure. Dr. Don Steinhoff does work, um, kind of in the OBM sectors, um, but he also has specific interests in behavior reduction approaches through kind of, uh, I'll call them new wave functionalist analyses. Um, so novel applications of functional analyses to a particularly unique situations, um, staff training. He also, he also has interest in staff training and kind of, uh, harnessing the efficacy of BST models to promote a broader, more robust patterns of behavior for, uh, staff. So,

Shauna Costello (04:01):

And yeah, I really would just like to reiterate that, you know, we are talking about the on campus program. And so the experience the student experience for you guys is going to be different than with the online program. So what can the students expect, you know, when they're applying to the program, because some of the programs we've talked to, you know, they applied to just work with a specific faculty member, some they just applied to the program, um, kind of what does that process look like and what can they expect?

Dr. Adam Hawes (04:32):

I mean, our, our application process is, um, kind of commensurate with other schools and that we have, you know, requirements of GRE and GPA and transcripts. We didn't have letters of recommendation requirements as well as a statement of interest, a requirement, what, you know, why behavior analysis and why Arizona state university department of psychology, um, you know, in terms of the students or applicants being tethered to a particular faculty, um, you know, if a student comes in and they have shared interest of act and RFT and language generativity, then, then it's more probabilistic that I'm going to be the guy. Um, if they have kind of broader OBM, uh, interests and maybe some staff training, things like that, then Don might be the person. Um, you know, we don't, we don't make those determinations ad hoc. Um, rather we kind of let, let students bring their interests and then we kind of nurture them to be the best behavior analyst they can be. Um, you know, we do have rolling deadlines in terms of our application process. So it's not just this static. Um, you know, if you miss it, you're out kind of thing. But we found that some people are still trying to determine what they want to do with the trajectory of their education and life. And we want to kind of be open and to, uh, letting them, uh, figure that out. And hopefully ASU department of psychology MSABA program is, is the direction.

Shauna Costello (06:06):

And that's awesome. So I know what the rolling deadlines, how do interviews work? Is that something that you guys do, you guys have interviews? Cause some of our programs have these, you know, intensive weekend, long interviews or other ones just, you know, don't have any, or it's sometimes it's pretty relaxed.

Dr. Adam Hawes (06:25):

Yeah. I wouldn't say ours is relaxed. Um, I would say I, we do have, um, you know, we do have interview processes. Um, it doesn't mandate that individuals come on campus, but we at least have both a phone and kind of video maybe via zoom or Skype interviews with some pretty structured questions. And then there's obviously time for them to kind of express their interests. And then we'll ask questions back to them based on how they might fit in the program here. Um, so I would say we kind of fit middle of the road relative to difficulty or kind of rigor of the interview process, but we're certainly not lax.

Shauna Costello (07:14):

And what are some of the classes that, you know, might make ASU program unique where, you know, you said that they're coming on and you're really trying to foster their research interests and kind of directing them on where they want to be, whether it's more related to you or yeah, so,

Dr. Adam Hawes (07:35):

Yeah, so, uh, you know, our, our course, uh, kind of curriculum is, is pretty rigorous. Um, I, I think relative to other programs, um, you know, we have, we're a verified core sequence through the BACB. Um, and now through ABAI I suppose, um, and we have, you know, kind of the stereotypical, uh, courses in any and most behavior analytic programs, but, you know, intro to the principles of applied behavior analysis, um, experimental analysis of behavior. Um, we have an ethics course. We have, um, we, we, I just kind of revised the course to be more about, um, advanced verbal behavior and advanced learning. Um, so we kind of take a walk all the way from, you know, back before Skinner, working all the way up to relational frame theory, um, and then implications of that to therapeutic context. So, um, in terms of our curriculum, like I said, kind of the, the core intro to ABA EAB, um, I teach an advanced research methodology class.

Dr. Adam Hawes (08:54):

Um, we have kind of behavioral observation and functional assessment slash analysis, um, development of behavior, analytic programming. So the actual, the kind of act of writing it and what constitutes that an OBM class. Um, I mentioned the advanced learning and language class. Um, we have a practicum class as well, that's embedded so that we can talk about their experiences that they have throughout the kind of course of the day as they're accruing hours. So that bring that content back into the classroom. And that gives us kind of a mechanism of discussion. Um, and then they have a culminating applied project in the form of a capstone, a master's capstone, um, slightly less rigorous than a thesis, but, um, certainly has all the, uh, hoops that you have to jump through given IRB.

Shauna Costello (09:50):

And so you mentioned practicum, so where are your students getting their practicum opportunities at?

Dr. Adam Hawes (09:57):

So we have partnership with almost a, I would say 25 plus organizations in the Phoenix area, uh, greater Phoenix area, predominantly those are couched in autism, but they needn't only be, uh, in those, those kind of domains. Um, we do have a couple settings and sites that have, uh, emphases in, um, you know, kind of like twice exceptional work, um, uh, some more clinically relevant work. Um, so not just with autism, uh, but, but, uh, clinically relevant populations, as well as like, um, OBM specific placements. Um, but again, most of which, uh, that most of that experience is through the lens of kind of an autism perspective and yet lots of different tangents and tributaries that are, that a kid, uh, that a student can take, uh, should they want so,

Shauna Costello (11:03):

Yeah. And I know that even within a lot of like the clinical settings, there's still options to do a ton of OBM work and their types of experience to get other types of experiences within those as well. Like you mentioned before, the staff training, you have processes, you have, I mean, all of these different processes and stuff that go into an actual clinic, um, I didn't really learn those until I was in like the coordinator of a clinic. So I'm getting some of those beforehand could be really beneficial.

Dr. Adam Hawes (11:36):

Yeah. And if you think, I mean, if you think, or want to talk about settings specifically, we do have, you know, the, the traditional clinics, ABA clinics, but they also have opportunities to do in home and, uh, school-based work. Um, and occasionally, um, we're, we're occasionally they can, uh, work in hospital settings. So it's just, um, kind of dependent on what, what level of support we have from the community and, and how they're bought into.

Shauna Costello (12:06):

Yeah. And so how does that work with supervision? Are you guys mostly the ones involved with the supervision or because you have these partnerships, are there, you know, like the BCBAs or BCBADs there that are responsible for their supervision?

Dr. Adam Hawes (12:20):

Yeah. So kind of a long and winding road to answer that is, is our state licensure requirement is that of 1500 hours. And so the only option given the BACB's kind of levels of, of experience is that 1500 hour mark, which is the supervise independent field work. Right? And so, um, as a function of that, we've, we've forged these partnerships with community service providers who then provide the supervision by, you know, the supervision is provided by a BCBA. Who's also licensed in the state of Arizona.

Shauna Costello (12:58):

That's awesome. Um, and I know that, you know, getting, I know my supervisor here at ABA tech actually got her experience in the hospital, so I know that that's becoming more and more prevalent out there. And, um, I've talked to a lot of California universities and they're, they've always been more progressive than us over here on the East coast, especially with schools. So how is Arizona kind of fit into that school realm as well?

Dr. Adam Hawes (13:27):

Yeah, I mean, I think it's progressing, my biggest concern I think with within schools is, is really kind of the ethics of a caseload. Um, and I, I often worry slash hesitate, um, to just say this experience is going to be equal to this clinical experience given kind of the capacity that one is expected to hold as a BCBA. Who's also licensed in a school. Um, so we have a fairly tightly controlled opportunities within school settings. Um, and we do put, uh, parameters programmatically around what that experience can and should look like. Uh, you know, the students, although some of the sites like them to be employees and work full 40 hours week, we proactively kind of circumvent that and say, they're not meant to be used as full time employees. It's a learning experience. Um, and that, you know, these experiences are such that they can become really good behavior analysts as opposed to, you know, you know, uh, filling a staffing need that you might have.

Dr. Adam Hawes (14:37):

That's simply not the intent of the experience. Um, so within the schools that I think the beauty of that, that you wouldn't maybe get an a, you know, an, an ABA specific clinic is the kind of work amongst a multidisciplinary team and kind of different perspectives that those opportunities and experiences bring. Um, there's no substitute for kind of being a sponge in those settings so that you can better equip yourself to be, um, you know, uh, to be well-versed, um, and competent, and be able to engage in effective discourse when somethings, uh, incongruent with evidence, you know, evidence based practices.

Shauna Costello (15:19):

Yeah. And I know I got a lot of that and I was working in schools throughout Metro Detroit, and it's one of the best experiences that I think I've ever gotten, because I know that, you know, we're all kind of, sometimes we're gung ho when we first get out of our programs and it's a very humbling experience to really figure out how to build that rapport with those other professionals that don't have the same views as you and how to do that. So, um,

Dr. Adam Hawes (15:46):

Yeah, we talk, I mean, I talk about it in our program a lot about, um, a silo effect, Oh, within behavior analysis, we have this propensity to talk amongst ourselves, but we don't do such a great job of sharing outward, uh, with other disciplines, even though they may have, um, good things to contribute to the conversation and trajectory of the, of the clients with whom we work. So, um, you know, we'd be foolish not to at least listen and then make sense of what, what that information is that's coming in.

Shauna Costello (16:20):

Exactly. So we talk about the practicum and how you try to make sure that the students are not too overwhelmed. And then because you then talked about the intensity of the program, so what is that student student experience and why is it, what can they expect? You know, what is the intensity of the program that you spoke about? Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Dr. Adam Hawes (16:45):

Yeah. I mean, I think like some of the best programs we tried to emulate those things. I mean, Western's one, I think SIU Carbondale the on campus program, that's unbiased. Cause that's where I came from. Uh, yeah, the, the UNRs and, you know, the, the top performing, uh, programs, uh, they, there's a standard that they set and then they don't waiver. And so, um, coming from programs like that, and I tell them up front that it's, there's a lot of reading. Um, I make a statement that, that if you're not reading every night, then you're probably behind, um, you know, and a lot of writing, um, and, and kind of, um, multimodal experiences with the content. So it's not enough to just be able to receptively say that, you know, something, but almost thinking in terms of Bloom's taxonomy, um, as to how people, uh, kind of that model of how people learn the depth and breadth with which they learn information, I'm trying to push them to the upper echelons of that, of that kind of conceptualization, such that there won't be experiences once they finish the program that they've not experienced.

Dr. Adam Hawes (18:05):

Um, and so, you know, we're about, uh, creating good behavior analysts, not autism experts, um, um, and so to, to be that you've gotta be particularly flexible and fluent with the material. And so there's a lot of kind of immersive opportunities within the classroom and, and, uh, positions within the classroom. Um, a lot of dyadic training, um, versus my just going in front of a class and talking, uh, they're actually, uh, pairing up and, and, uh, using kind of some of the concepts and principles within inner teaching, uh, to promote acquisition of those skills and that, then that then breeds this, uh, larger more robust repertoire.

Shauna Costello (18:54):

Yeah. And that's, that's really nice to hear, because I know that I got a lot of that while I was in grad school. And I think that that's what has pushed me to be as well, versed and stuff as I have, because I got into this job and not this job, but my first job outside of grad school. And I realized that there was certain things I didn't know, but from my learning history with, you know, being at that program, I dove in and tried to make sure I knew absolutely everything about the stuff that I was going to have to be doing in that job, in that position and at that company. So I think that, that also built on these other skills, not just, you know, behavior analytic knowledge, but also that builds on these other professional skills that the students are definitely going to need.

Dr. Adam Hawes (19:47):

And I think that's one of the areas that, um, you know, as we've kind of gone through the several years that we've been in existence, we've, we've started to place maybe some greater emphasis not taking away from the core behavior analytic kind of competencies, but greater emphases beyond the scope of the task list relative to, uh, soft skills and communication skills. Um, because I've often found that, you know, there are scenarios that behavior analysts can get in and they don't know how to, or haven't acquired the skills, how to deconstruct some of the technicalities of our science and make it palatable and accessible for those who don't speak our foreign language, you know?

Shauna Costello (20:37):

Oh, I know that was, um, so the master students don't necessarily have comps at Western. Um, but our lab did have comps. It was honestly more stressful than the BACB exam.

Dr. Adam Hawes (20:53):

I mean, my, my background originally was in brain injury. So all of my graduate training was in, in brain injury and then addiction. Um, and so only until I think my last year of my doctoral training, did I then kind of start to see the parallels in terms of language deficits, um, that cut across the, um, kind of disabilities and disorders that I wanted to shift into autism and look more kind of granularly at why these deficits exist and how to kind of shore them up.

Shauna Costello (21:31):

Yeah. And so, yeah, and just getting that preparation as a student is phenomenal. If the website is still accurate, it says you are the president for the Arizona association or behavior analysis.

Dr. Adam Hawes (21:49):

So it is, uh, almost accurate on the past president this year. And so my, my tenure is in presidency finishes December 31st. Um, but yeah, that's been a, a really neat experience cause I get to keep a finger to the pulse of the community and its needs. Um, and also bring in some different ways of thinking about, uh, how to promote the science within the state. Um, because, um, you know, I've only been in the state for, uh, four or five years now. Um, most of my efforts were in Illinois and Missouri. So,

Shauna Costello (22:31):

And does that play into, I mean, I know that that's your role, but you know, with having, you know, the associates, the AZABA being so close and how does that play into some of maybe the different student experiences that they did that they get?

Dr. Adam Hawes (22:48):

Yeah, so we, um, we are pretty closely tied to AZABA as a program, um, within our state organization, we have what are called sponsorships and as an, or as a program, the MSABA program sponsors the AZABA right. And in doing so all of its members, um, because my students aren't at the master's level, they get free membership. And so they have kind of free reign to be as involved or not as involved as they want to be in any of the special interest groups or committees and, uh, go to any of our, uh, yearly events. Um, and so it really is just another mechanism and an access point for them to, uh, get out of, uh, out of this experience as much as they want, but it's, it's incumbent upon them to do that.

Shauna Costello (23:49):

Yeah. And I don't know if AZABA does a conference at all, but what are,

Dr. Adam Hawes (23:55):

We do.

Shauna Costello (23:55):

You do? And so I'm assuming hopefully hoping a lot of the students take advantage of that conference and maybe presenting and posters and maybe even potentially other conferences throughout the year.

Dr. Adam Hawes (24:07):

Yeah. So one of the things that we've been kicking around in terms of a strategic plan is to kind of increase, uh, student engagement and posters is one of those mechanisms to do that. Um, a number of students do attend the, uh, attend the, um, year-end conference, but we also have, um, sprinkled throughout the course of the year, um, CE events. And so those give us in the students opportunities, even though they don't accrue CEs, uh, the opportunity to kind of rub shoulders with some of the Titans in our field. Um, so that's, that's really neat. Um, and then their involvement on special interest groups or committees, they can, uh, take active roles in those and, uh, again, be as involved or, or not as they so choose.

Shauna Costello (24:59):

I mean, what are some of the special interest groups that you guys have? Um, I know, I know some of the, you know, the things that ABAI has, but what are some of the special interest groups that AZABA has and, you know, maybe where some of the students kind of getting involved with the community?

Dr. Adam Hawes (25:17):

Sure. So we have, uh, one that I actually head up, which is, um, the ACT and RFT special interest group. Um, obviously the name kind of tells you the, the interests of it, but basically we're looking at, um, what are the ways that we can make relational frame theory and acceptance and commitment therapy or training accessible, and how do we then, uh, deliver that to, uh, practitioners in a way that they can then incorporate it into their daily practices? Um, there's also a component kind of wrapped in there about, um, contacting the literature. And so it's somewhat rare that that individuals in behavior, analytic programs contact some of that, uh, more progressive behavior analytic literature, like relational frame theory or ACT, or even, you know, Stimulus equivalence is starting to pick up cause it's in the new Cooper Heron Heward book, but, um, less so about RFT and ACT or kind of third wave, uh, therapies.

Dr. Adam Hawes (26:27):

And so we want to just create an outlet and a resource to the community for those who are interested in that, um, we have another special interest group that is dedicated to expanding the scope of practice. Um, so kind of, as you've touched looking at populations and, uh, opportunities outside that of autism, um, you know, the stats are proportionally overwhelming that individuals with the BACB practice about in about two thirds of us practice in autism, uh, and everything else is far less than that. So that's what that, that special interest group is about. We have a feeding special interest group, um, that is kind of forged by dr. Missy olive. Um, she, she spearheads the support for individuals in that group. So as to become competent in feeding related issues, um, we have a coordination of care, special interest group, and that's kind of thinking about, um, about the collaborative nature, right?

Dr. Adam Hawes (27:32):

We talked about multidisciplinary teams. And so how is it that ABA can start to, uh, and maybe be more welcome at those tables that are, that are filled up with other disciplines. Um, and then our final special, special interest group is ABA in the school settings. And that is what it sounds like, right? How do we kind of manipulate and modify, uh, what we know is evidence based practices to be accessible and reliable and valid, uh, within the context of schools. So those are the four, five, six that we have. And, and, uh, you know, that we're not, we're not, uh, necessarily tethered to those. We don't have to have those in existence forever, but as different things come up, the, the organization as a whole can and will evolve. So

Shauna Costello (28:31):

It's exciting just to have it be so connected to the program that students can get involved with all of those and really see what's going on.

Dr. Adam Hawes (28:40):

Yeah. It's kind of cool. It's kind of cool. I can only speak to my special interest group that I head up, but I have, you know, probably 10 to 15, either current or former students who are involved in this, in this special interest group, just because of, you know, they, they potentially see the trajectory of behavior analysis and knowing where we can take this. It's kind of cool to see it come full circle.

Shauna Costello (29:08):

Yeah. And I know that I loved getting involved in that kind of stuff when I was in grad school. Um, it's always been my thing, I guess, to kind of dip my hands in as many pots as possible. And that's why I took the job that I have now, because I get to dip my hands in as many pots as possible. Um, uh, what is it a mile long and an inch deep. It's basically where I'm at, I'm at right now. Um, but what about the, the surrounding area? What about the campus what's what's life like?

Dr. Adam Hawes (29:43):


Shauna Costello (29:44):

Besides dry and dusty, from what I can assume.

Dr. Adam Hawes (29:48):

Yeah. I mean, like in full transparency, you, you've got, um, you've got about eight months that are just unbelievable weather. Um, and it it's maybe rivaled only by, um, places like San Diego or LA, uh, in my opinion. And I can say that, uh, because I lived in Missouri, uh, most of my life and, uh, so we don't really have the winters that you would see in, in like a Western, uh, um, so, so that's really nice during the school year. And then summers pretty tough. Um, you know, Tempe is booming, um, and that's where the campus is. A lot of people think it's in Phoenix and yet it's in Tempe. Um, and so, you know, students live either on campus or, um, in, in some of the burbs of, uh, or around, uh, Phoenix, either in Phoenix, proper, or, uh, places like Scottsdale, um, some live further out in places like Chandler and Gilbert, um, campus, you know, ASU is one of the biggest schools in the nation.

Dr. Adam Hawes (30:59):

And so you can be on one side of the campus and not know anything about something else that's going on on the other side, or if you're interested in doing so you can know about all the things going on on campus. I mean, the, the life of the, of the ASU student is, um, is only bound by the way, in which you kind of interact in that space. And so, um, you know, there's over 70,000 students that go here, um, you know, football, basketball, baseball, all our, you know, big time sports, good, good college sports teams, um, excellent weather, lots of outdoor activities. Um, and then, you know, our department of psychology in which the MSABA program exists is, is commensurate and always rival to some of the, some of the most prestigious departments of psychology across the nation, you know, the Stanfords in the, and the Browns, um, because most of our faculty come from those spaces.

Dr. Adam Hawes (32:07):

Um, so, you know, you can expect, you know, uh, collegiality, uh, I think that there's kind of this, um, bond that our students have because of the rigors of the program. Um, one of the cool things in our department is that we have a specific, uh, study and workspace carved out within the building. Uh, students can go in and it's, uh, we call it the MSABA space. We didn't come up with a crafty name, um, but it didn't have that to have a good, fun, you know, a good function tied to it. But it's a space where a lot of sharing happens, both in terms of, you know, resources, uh, understanding of material contact with material research ideas. Uh there's there are computers and offices in that space, uh, whiteboards, um, and lounge chairs, so that students can still be integrated as, as an ASU student, but also, uh, be comfortable in doing so. And so we're, we're really proud of that space and kind of the opportunity it affords students to, you know, get to know their peers, but also form a bond that lasts forever, as you probably know.

Shauna Costello (33:22):

And I know that throughout, yeah, definitely throughout my master's program, but the networking, you know, just from my master's program, I can just assume that the type of networking that ASU has is even larger, just because, like you said, ASU is such a huge campus in a huge everything about it is just, it's very large. So the type of networking, I think that, you know, the ASU students could have, could even be, it could be exponential compared to some other campuses.

Dr. Adam Hawes (33:53):

I think that the piece that, um, and I wasn't privy to this coming to Phoenix, but how big Phoenix is, it's like the fifth or sixth largest city in the nation, but you don't really realize it because of the temperature. We don't have, you know, skyscrapers. And so Phoenix spreads this way as opposed to moving up that way. Um, but with that comes, you know, all the majorly, uh, sports and lots of just really cool activities that you wouldn't otherwise have and in some of the smaller places. And so that's, uh, and the cost of living is relatively, uh, it's far less than, than some of the other major cities. Um, so that's, you know, that's, that's another piece to, you know, come into Tempe. You come into the department of psychology and our program is that we really celebrate all that Phoenix has to offer.

Dr. Adam Hawes (34:47):

And, and, uh, while the city is large, the behavior analytic community is pretty tight. And so we're, as you probably know, word travels fast within behavior analysis. And, uh, that's a good thing for our students because, um, you know, other companies who may not have had time with our students through our practicum rotation process can get pretty good information from their, their colleagues. Um, and so maybe that's something else I should allude to is just the, the fact that students aren't static to one location. They, they actually rotate through two different practicum sites, one for a seven month tenure, and then another for roughly a 12 month tenure. So as to get different experiences, different supervisory experiences, um, kind of building out this repertoire that they may not have gotten if they stayed in one location and we mandate that that's not a choice.

Shauna Costello (35:52):

No. And I think that's good that you mandate that because, um, I know that even like in mine, in my experience, I had to ask for a different experience. I was like, no, I want to do something. I want to do this. Like whether or not it's a practicum site or something else. I was like, no, I want to do this as like, I know this is where you need me right now, but I want to get this experience. And I mean, I was lucky enough that my advisor was great and she's like, yeah, okay, let's get you that experience. And you know, this and that, but, um, not everybody gets that. Not everybody gets, not everybody gets these opportunities to have OBM sites to have clinical sites to have in home sites to have in school sites. So having that option is really good. And so where are some of your students going after they're done? Are they, I know probably some are going into work right away.

Dr. Adam Hawes (36:45):

Yeah. So we have, I, yeah, I can just kind of speak to I'm sorry, go ahead and finish your questions. Okay. So your question was where are my students going? Um, so we are just, I think this is our year that we start to get back, uh, pass rates, but I internally keep track of that. Our BACB exam pass rate is 92%, um, which is pretty good in terms of, you know, considering where, uh, other programs fall we're up in the upper echelons of the pass rates. Uh, so we're proud of that, but, um, maybe even more importantly is, um, is a a hundred percent placement rate. Um, all of our students either get jobs or go on to more graduate training, PhD, SciD, uh, programs. And so, um, a number of, uh, students, uh, graduates of the program stay locally, uh, because they've had those practicum rotations with our practicum site partners, and there's a large need in Phoenix for behavior analysts.

Dr. Adam Hawes (37:54):

And, um, so they're very easily filling those voids. Um, and so we've got this kind of symbiotic relationship with our partners in that we're generating, you know, a number of weltering, uh, behavior analysts who can then come in and be ready to perform, not need another year of training before they're actually ready. Um, you know, and then we have a decent proportion of our students who do go out of state, um, and they go and they practice as behavior analysts in various capacities. Um, and they do tend to align or map on with the BACB, uh, distribution of, of where, uh, behavior analysts are practicing, um, uh, probably two or three students a year go on to PhD programs. Um, and you know, those are places, you know, I just had a student who went to my Alma mater at SIU Carbondale to study under dr. Mark Dixon. And, uh, I have a student who went to Baylor for, um, for, uh, uh, school psychology and is now at, uh, the U of A, uh, down in Tucson. Um, I have a number of students who are in clinical programs, um, kind of around the nation. And then I had one student go over to England, university of Manchester, um, which is kind of cool. And they have what we would call general psychology PhD program, where you then, uh, place greater emphasis in your area of interest. Um, so that, those are two of the things that I think are big takeaways from our program is kind of our success rate in terms of passing the exam that, you know, that's not everything, but it's a pretty good indicator of success. And then our placement rate in terms of, uh, you know, our students getting jobs. And I think that's the thing that, uh, maybe next to passing that, that they care about. Um, maybe most importantly for me is that their good behavior analysts, um, you know, the pass rate is one thing and placement rate is yet another, but are they, are they able to be flexible and think on their toes, if, and when all the, all the book content doesn't, uh, work out, how did they think behavior analytically as a scientist practitioner, right?

Shauna Costello (40:27):

Yes. And I know something that's helped me through that is continuously supervising. So even so I was supervising and teaching when I was in Metro Detroit, but now that I'm done here, I actually have the opportunity to supervise OBM students from Florida tech. And so that's something that's kept me on my toes is cause they're always asking questions and I'm like, oh, I have to, like, I have to know the answers to these questions or being okay with saying, I'll find it for you. I know that that's a big thing that a big skill to be able to say that, um, but that's something that's also kept me on my toes, but it's really cool to hear the different areas that your students are going in and being able to bridge some of these gaps into maybe some of these other, you know, like the more clinical programs or, you know, just these other areas of school psychology.

Shauna Costello (41:23):

Um, because I know that, like I've said before, that's my goal is dissemination and that's how we're going to start doing them is having our are, like you said, are well-trained behavior analysts going into these other fields to learn their languages and their concepts and their principles, and then start hooking them together to bridging all of these gaps. Um, there is one thing just because you talked about it, that I want to make sure that I bring up because you guys are a newer program. Um, your pass rates probably are not online yet. Which means this is just something that I like to make a clarification about because not all schools are like this. Um, we heard on the Western pod on the Western Michigan podcast that they're online or they're hybrid and they're on campus percentages are combined. So I'm going to assume you guys will not be combined because as we had mentioned before, we started talking that the online program and the on campus program are two completely different things. I just want to make sure that I clarify that, that when people are going online to the pass rates right now that you probably will not be on there yet the onsite ones might not be on there yet. So,

Dr. Adam Hawes (42:42):

That's correct. I think it'll be, um, maybe next year, I think it's a, it's either a three or five year tenure before they're posted on the website. Um, but like I said, internally, I keep track of that and we're at 92%, which is, which is I think pretty good. Um, yeah, we, we, we simply don't have any overlap other than kind of, uh, other than that we're both behavior analysis programs. Um, and, and that's, uh, you know, we have different interests, uh, different types of students, um, and different media of delivery. So, um, yeah. So if, if a student were, or applicant, someone who's interested were to go online, they would probably only see the online program results right now. And then

Shauna Costello (43:35):

I will say, I found both. They're just, you have to, you just have to look carefully when you're searching for it. Cause one will say ASU online, like in the department. And the other one, I think it's labeled as the MSABA, like one and just kind of like, I just Googled ASU behavior analysis. And so that is, um, so it's just something that, you know, I'm one more reason why I want to do this podcast because you know, each program is different and each program is set up different and they're set up for a specific reason. And just like our field, we individualize everything just like our programs. So there are different, there are different reasons why, you know, the ASU has it on campus that is separate from the online. And so I just want to make sure that, you know, I'm showing those differences as well.

New Speaker (44:30):

Yes, I appreciate that.

Shauna Costello (44:33):

Yes, of course. Um, so what have we not talked about that you want to make sure that we cover?

Dr. Adam Hawes (44:43):

Oh boy. Um, you know, I think, I think that, you know, both Don and I, while we may not be, um, you know, amongst the kind of giants of the field, uh, we, we do have lineage that roots back to, uh, you know, some of those giants. Um, and so, you know, we want to bring that rigor, uh, and we have a responsibility to do that, to bring rigor to a program that, that doesn't let, um, students who either aren't invested or don't have the behavior analytic chops to practice, practice. Um, and so, um, that's not to say that we go in looking to fail students, uh, but we do want to set our bar high and not a waiver, uh, around that, you know, the other, the other piece is like, uh, we sit amongst, um, a department of psychology that I kind of already touched on, but we are, uh, considered peers in our, in our department.

Dr. Adam Hawes (45:49):

And we get to, we do get to rub shoulders with some of the best thinkers in, in the, in the field of psychology. Um, and so there's a lot of really neat opportunities given, uh, kind of where we exist within ASU, but just ASU broadly in terms of, you know, innovation being a core value that we have here. Uh, that's perpetuated by our, our, our president. Um, let's see what else, you know, I think that students walk away from the program saying, wow, that was really difficult and I'm a better person and a clinician as a product of it. Um, and that's, that's ultimately while they may not be able to see it semester one, what we hope for once they get that degree and their diploma. Um, I, I don't want to leave any doubt that they're ready. And so we've developed a program here that, um, minimizes that probability.

Shauna Costello (46:56):

And I know that I had that. And when you said they might not see it semester one, I was like, well, they probably won't see it semester two,

Dr. Adam Hawes (47:05):

Maybe semester three.

Shauna Costello (47:07):

Maybe, but I know that it's something that I have, and especially when I'm talking to other programs and things like that, just to seeing, you know, all of these new programs that are popping up that are really trying to get the exact same feeling and experiences when they're pushing out these students. Um, I think one thing that, um, that might be a good question to ask is I know that you said you have rolling, um, admin throughout the program. What are about the numbers of students that you guys are taking?

Dr. Adam Hawes (47:41):

Yeah, so we, uh, you know, the number of applicants we get varies. Um, we probably get, um, you know, between 150 and 200 applicants. Um, we have somewhat of a flexible capacity that will take, um, up to about 35 in person. Um, this year we have 28. So, so we don't have a mandate necessarily to take 35 nor do I think that's a good approach. Um, but, um, you know, we took 25 this year, first year students. Um, I, I suppose I should also mention that we, we take students only in the fall. We don't, we don't have a, a spring admittance.

Shauna Costello (48:30):

So even though they can apply any time, is that what it is that what,

Dr. Adam Hawes (48:35):

Yeah. I mean, they our application window opens. Uh, so for example, if you wanted to apply for a 2020 false start, you could, you can start applying October one of 2019, and we wouldn't necessarily close that window until just before the start of this semester in 2020.

Shauna Costello (48:56):

Perfect. Okay. Yeah, that's a good clarification to make, just cause I know that some of them will close it in like December for a fall 20 20, they'll close in like December of 2019 for a fall date. So that's a good thing.

Dr. Adam Hawes (49:10):

Yeah. And we do, we do that as a function of, you know, some students who are really appropriate and qualified for the program may still be figuring out what they want to do. Maybe they apply for a PhD clinical or behavior analytic program and they don't get in. And so they're exploring other avenues, but they wouldn't know that they wouldn't know whether or not they got in until a bit later in the spring. So we, we like to keep it open for individuals like that who, um, may still want that behavior analytic training, but they need to potentially get a master's first and, um, and then springboard from there.

Shauna Costello (49:50):

And so where do you see the program going? So we talked about the first four or five years. And so where do you see it going in the future or where would you like to see it go?

Dr. Adam Hawes (50:03):

Yeah, I mean, some of that stuff, I'm going to keep under my hat. Um, but, um, I think that ultimately I want to continue to, you know, as with any, uh, location there, there, there becomes a saturation of, of, of, uh, professionals. And, uh, one of my hopes is to have some of my graduating students go to places that we've not gone to yet. Right. So that they're not, um, all local, um, and not to say everyone is, but, you know, we've had a few students who go to places like North Carolina or New York, and I want to see more of that, so that the word of the program and its rigor and how good of a product it creates, uh, can be heard in other spaces. Um, you know, I think forging, uh, even better relationships with our practicum partners, so that, so that they, um, have, you know, a good sense of what types of students we want and what we hope their experience to be like in those practicum settings.

Dr. Adam Hawes (51:15):

Um, and then kind of stuff we've already talked about us not being limited to autism specific domains in which individuals practice getting into, you know, other sciences collaborating with other sciences. I think that there's eventually going to be a bigger push within behavior analysis, given OBM contexts, um, work with staff on performance management and, uh, uh, kind of, uh, canalizing performance, uh, but also, you know, medicinal medical kind of capacities. Um, and then, you know, the very heart of what behavior analysis is, is tackling some of those societaly significant, uh, challenges that are beyond again, autism. So things like hunger and racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia and sustainability and, uh, protecting our environment. So, um, we, we have, uh, I think the training and the competencies to be able to address some of those questions at scale, um, we, we need to start creating the seats at the table so that we can, uh, be a voice that's rooted in data. That's rooted in good science to influence the trajectory of those lines of thinking and how we can, uh, just do better.

Shauna Costello (52:52):

Yes, and I completely agree with you. And that is, um, that is one reason why that has always been my interest. Um, one of my bosses sat me down one time and was like, every, everybody has like a focus, like, what is your main interest? And I like, oh, I don't know. I've never had just like one, you know, like people are known for this or people are known for this. And I'm like, honestly thinking about it dissemination. Um, because I, like I said, I liked dipping my fingers in all of these different pots and doing this was just one way to do that. Um, you know, this is universities and different programs and really trying to show people, the listeners who's doing what, and where are they doing it? And you don't need to be stuck, you know, maybe where you think you need, like there might be something else out there that you didn't know about. And if I had a hand in that, that is that's my goal. So

Dr. Adam Hawes (53:49):

I think the, the, the beauty of what you're trying to get at is that most people contact, uh, their information based on what they read or what they're told. Um, and, and most often told by the, by the people of authority. Um, and so this is a different mechanism or media through which, uh, individuals interested in behavior analysis at large can really explore their options without it being confined to rules that people are given by their mentors or, um, by what's on the internet, or what's not on the internet. Right. So it's a nice, it's a nice mechanism for dissemination and delivery of, uh, maybe, uh, an unbiased, uh, uh, mapping out of what's available.

Shauna Costello (54:41):

Yes. And thank you. And I know people have people have come to me and been like, this is something we had talked about before, too. People don't realize that ABA technologies is completely separate from Florida tech. And so this has been, you know, uh, even like a rebranding thing for ABA technologies because, um, you know, we are a professional development company and while one, that's one aspect of our company, one branch of it, and that's the branch that I work for. And, you know, we are this separate entity. We, we really don't have a bias to, you know, Florida tech. Um, you know, I mean, they hired me and I'm from Western I'm like, I think I said, I'm the only one that was not from Florida tech, but, um, but no, I want this to be a completely, you know, this is a straight, I want to learn and teach other people about what programs are out there.

Shauna Costello (55:37):

Um, because I think, I think I've said this before that, um, in some other, some of the other interviews that I was at Western for my undergrad, so it was very easy to just stay at Western for my, for my graduate program. Um, and so I'll be fully honest. I didn't look into other programs when maybe when maybe I should have, you know what I mean, like, I'm not saying that, you know, but you know, hindsight's 2020, like I threw all my eggs in one basket and called it good instead of, you know, trying to reach out and see what's out there. And so that's, my goal is to get as many programs as possible online or on campus or anything so that people can find what program is right for them, because the more dissemination we're doing, the more we're going to start getting into these other fields as well.

Dr. Adam Hawes (56:27):

Yeah. So what other questions, um, if anything do you have for me, and then

Shauna Costello (56:34):

I think that's it for me, unless you can think of anything else that you want to bring up.

Dr. Adam Hawes (56:40):

No, I mean, I, I think we've touched on, you know, core faculty, all PhDs, um, you know, some pretty cool research going on, um, you know, in a number of different domains, uh, and settings. I can't think of anything else. Well, thank you very much.

Shauna Costello (56:59):

Thank you. Have a good day.

Shauna Costello (57:01):

Thank you for listening to Operant innovations. And as always, if you have comments, feedback, or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to us at


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