University Series 025 | Regis College


Join Operant Innovations as we talk to Dr. Jacquelyn MacDonald & Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (two of the hosts of ABA Inside Track) about the on-campus and online programs at Regis College and how they constantly strive to provide their students with a fun, supportive,  & scientific environment.

Contact Information:

Additional Links:


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 speaking with Regis college and we're speaking with Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald and Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys. So without further ado, Regis college.

Shauna Costello (00:17):
We're talking with Regis and because we have more than one interviewee today, I'm going to pass it to both of them to introduce themselves. And then we will jump into an overview of Regis. So welcome. And thank you.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (00:35):
Shauna, thank you so much for having us on. So this is Diana Parry-Cruwys. I am an assistant professor in the Ms and ABA program at Regis, and I'm also the practicum coordinator.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (00:44):
And I'm Jackie MacDonald. I am the program director of the master's in applied behavior analysis at Regis and also the program chair for the on-ground program and online program.

Shauna Costello (00:58):
Very exciting.

Both Dr. McDonald and Dr. Perry-Cruwys (00:58):
Yay! We're so excited to be here!

Shauna Costello (01:04):
Yes thank you! And how about just some overviews of the programs and it can be the on campus. It can be the online. It can be whichever you prefer.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (01:14):
Sure. Yeah. Regis started the ABA on-ground program in its first inception in 2012. After a recommendation from a psychologist in the psychology department, which is shocking, right? Because we sometimes have a divide from that, but they were like, we need an ABA program. And so they hired Dr. Lauren Beaulieu to create and direct the program and she created and directed the program until 2017. In which I took over and Diana came on board and the on-ground program has around 20 students per year, per cohort. And we offer daytime classes and evening classes. The program usually takes around two years to complete, although we would like it to take three years to complete full disclosure just to give people more time. But the two years is, is what you can and you can do it in we have a mixture of different types of modalities that students can experience in the program. So we have our traditional classes, we have practicum classes, we have thesis classes, we have intensive eight week classes where it's a mixture of in-person class and recorded lecture and online activity classes, hybrid classes. Yeah, so the on-ground program we think is a really strong program. We, we value the students that we have and the collaboration and partnerships that we have with the students to make the program as best as it can be. The online program started in 2018. Right now they have 65 students. All the classes in the online program are those intensive eight week classes. So you're just going to class around the clock for two years. But then you graduate and then you're great. You're good to go. Did I miss anything Diana?

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (03:20):
No, I don't think so.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (03:23):
I have some perks about our program. We can talk about a little bit later, but we've got a lot of them.

Shauna Costello (03:30):
Oh, well, yeah. That's one reason to keep listening because I'm very excited about that.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (03:37):
Cliff hanger.

Shauna Costello (03:38):
So how about you two and any of the other faculty that you work with? What are, I mean, what are your interests? What are you working on so that they, some of the listeners can just become more familiar with your work?

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (03:53):
I can go. So my, I can tell you a little bit about my background, which will kind of, you know, you gotta know where you were to know where you're going, right? So I've been working in the field of behavior analysis more specifically with individuals with developmental disabilities for close to 20 years now. So I got my start at the New England Center for Children and I got my master's through Northeastern university and then my doctorate through Western new England university. My focus in my studies during my doctoral dissertation was in joint attention and evaluating the effects of early intensive behavioral intervention on a range of outcomes for extremely young learners. So learners under the age of three, and I'm continuing to be interested in research in that capacity. So I have some students who are looking at parent training, social skills, teaching joint attention, all of those types of areas. But I also think that behavior analysis can be applied in varying ways, right? And we talk about that in our classes and I encourage students if they're interested to seek opportunities to conduct research and or clinical practice outside of that arena. So I have students who have been doing thesis projects in environmental sustainability and other types of choice assessments. And then in the future, I have a few other areas that I would be interested in having students who join me in looking at some socially significant behaviors outside of specifically working in special education. And then in my own research work, I've been interested in seeing how we can really best apply behavior behavior analytic teaching strategies for our graduate students. So I have an ongoing project right now to train people in how to best use the field work tracker which you may be familiar with for BACB supervision. And I'm also interested in the application of gamification strategies for learning in the classroom.

Shauna Costello (05:57):
That's really neat because one thing too, that I just side note, my mom decided to share a article about composting and it's a free service in our area and she's like, should we do this? And I was like, compost, yes, we should.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (06:13):
Sure. There's so many different ways that we can be thinking about implying contingencies on larger levels. And I think is important to, to interpret those things in and behavior analytic lens. So I really loved doing that.

Shauna Costello (06:25):
But how about you, Jackie? What about, what about yourself?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (06:28):
Yeah, so Diane and I have a remarkably similar start. I also started at the New England Center for Children and received my master's from Northeastern university and my doctorate from Western New England university under the advisement of Dr. Billy Hern. My dissertation research focused on observational learning and teaching observational learning. And I'm still really interested in that. And I have some ideas about how I want to expand that research. I just have to get some students on board to help me out with it. They're always like, Oh, I don't know, but I'm always, if someone is interested in that, come on, come on our way. Cause I got a ton of ideas. And so recently I've been looking at some research with Diana and also doing some research on parent training both parent training for children on the spectrum and typically developing parents because parenting is real hard and we all need some help there. And so looking at the best strategies to help parents, parents, young children we've also looked at trying to develop a friendship curriculum to help students get ready for kindergarten, both typically developing and students on the spectrum. So that's something that we've been looking at quite a bit and trying to use that use the Hanley preschool life skills as a jumping off point to kind of look at what else we can do in that area. I've been involved in research with equivalent space instruction looking at multitasking and study skills. And some of our students recently are published. And we're submitting an paper with a former student on looking at police brutality through the behavior analytic lens and that study that article, that theoretical paper really came out of a class that we have called radical behaviorism, where students choose a socially important topic. And they look at the current literature that's outside of behavior analysis and apply a behavior analytic lens and framework to those research articles. And then at the end of the class, they have to find a solution to the problem and then solve it. Right. I'm just kidding.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (08:48):
No big haha.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (08:49):
Yeah, no big. Laugther. That parts not part of it.

Shauna Costello (08:51):
I mean you gotta solve it, how else, like, come on. No, I mean that's, yeah, that's really exciting

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (08:58):
Thinking about what Jackie was saying regarding the friendship curriculum. I'm really, I hope that we get to do that project. And I'm really excited about it because we, this is something that we try to stress in our classes as well, or at least I do is like, we're, we have a huge responsibility when we are provided with clients, right. And determining what are going to be the socially significant goals that we're working on is not actually very easy at all to do. Right. So like thinking about in terms of social validity, particularly in the area of social skills, how are we going to select those skills? What I, what I'm trying to stress to my students is that this is a complex social arrangement, right? And it should not all be on the part of the autistic child to make changes for their own behavior in order to quote unquote fit in to the community, right. It should be an at least equal part on the larger community to evaluate any type of neuro-typical difference, neuro atypical difference. And see what is actually going to function as a problem for that individual versus what is just societally different from what we expect to be the norm. Right? So there's a lot of education that really should be happening in an inclusive classroom or in the general education setting on acceptance of difference, right. And how you can help to support all students in the classroom in a way that doesn't single anyone out. Right. So I'm really excited about, and I just hope that we have the opportunity to pursue this further, but I think it gets pretty closely at the heart of the values that we have at Regis and in our program and areas that we're trying to really instill and continue to help our students grow in while they're in a program.

Shauna Costello (10:53):
Yeah. And I like that a lot a lot. And then if I remember correctly, you might have one more faculty member, right?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (11:05):
Yeah. We have Dr. Jill Wilson. We actually have two more faculty members.

Shauna Costello (11:08):
Two more faculty members?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (11:09):
as of right now. Yep. So Diane and I represent the on-ground program for Jillian Wilson and Dr. Roseanne Lesack represent the online program and they are interested in pediatric feeding disorders. And they're also pursuing lines of research on development of online course methodology and pedagogy and how to best support the online student.

Shauna Costello (11:34):
And I mean, that's becoming even more important now. And I know that a lot, I've been seeing so many people struggling with this and coming from a family of educators in the K through 12 system, it's like, I have to tell them all the time like, Oh, behavior analysis can help you. And they're like, blah no, I'm like, no, really I really am. I tried to, I try to get them all excited. But no, that's really. That's really exciting. And some of these research opportunities you know, I'm more familiar with how on campus students, the on-ground students can get involved in these research projects, but like, what are some of the experiences with some of the online students and some of the on-ground students with getting involved in these research projects?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (12:23):
Yeah. So it's a little bit easier for the on-ground students to get involved in research because of research project is required. And so everyone has to pick a research topic in the, on ground program. We try to make them easy and, you know, pretty...

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (12:39):

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (12:40):
fun, easy, fun, and something that can be useful to the literature, but that's not going to take years and years and years. Right. Because we want them to graduate, but we really want the students that come out of the, on ground program to be science practitioners. Right. So we want them to understand that if they have a problem, the first place, they should look as good as the literature. Right. We can go to the literature, we can say that, but then once you actually get to the literature, what do you do? Right. So the thesis project really just looks at how then do you extrapolate procedures from a research article and make it applicable to your, to whatever question that you're asking. So that's really one of the main points of having the thesis. On-Ground students can also take part in these lines of faculty research that we are that we are engaging in both the outside of the field of being outside of the field of autism and within the field of autism. So one of the perks of our program is that we also have a campus clinic right at Regis the Regis Autism Center. I know it's very clever name. I, I'm not, that's not my strong suit. I couldn't think of something like pretty or fancy. So Regis Autism Center tells you, it tells you what we're doing. And we provide a high quality behavior analytic services for children, two to six or seven in an integrated setting. So it's within the, the preschool of the Regis Children's Center. So most of our students are integrated throughout the day. Well, not right now due to COVID, but most of the time they're integrated throughout the day. And that actually gives us a lot of opportunity to see a research unfold, like see questions that we can answer unfold. So students have that opportunity to engage in, in those types of faculty lines of research, the on ground students require they don't, they're not required to do a thesis, but they're required to do a capstone. So more of a practice-based online. Oh yeah. Sorry. Online students. That's why we have done here. She helps I get them mixed up. So the students are not required to do a thesis they're required to do a capstone. And the capstone requirement is to start and end a case from the beginning to the end. Right. So have this client target behavior, develop the entire program, implement the program, assess the program, you know, present that program from the beginning to the end, everything that could happen. So the capstone is required for the online students.

Shauna Costello (15:20):
I'm surprised they ever graduate then.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (15:22):
I know, I know!

Shauna Costello (15:25):
Everything that could ever happen? I'm just messing with you. That's I know I had to do the same thing, same kind of stuff too. So I get it. And it's really nice to have everything you know close, especially for the on-ground students. I mean, that kind of fits into the practicum opportunities. So I'm assuming that the Regis Autism Center is a practicum option. Are there other, other practicum options that Regis students have? And also when we talk about like the online students, like, how does the practicum work for them as well?

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (16:03):
Yeah. So speaking to the, on the ground program, we have about 20 different sites right now that are local we're in Massachusetts, right? So there's, we're lucky in that sense. There's lots of options around here and lots of really excellent high quality practicum sites available. So we have agreements with several different agencies and local companies in the area. We work closely with the folks there who supervise our students online, it's the same type of arrangement except it's out of national scale, right. Or I guess international at times but mostly national scale. So Dr. Lesack is the one who oversees those arrangements but it works in the same way, right? So we check in regularly with the folks who are our supervisors at the site as well as sort of the overarching folks in charge to make sure everything's continuing to go well. And we check in with them regularly. And then we also offer anyone who's supervisors at those sites. We have an ongoing invited lecture series at Regis that's sometimes in person and sometimes online, depending on the state of the world. So we have you know, fairly well-known speakers come in and talk about their areas of expertise and those are available for CEU credits. So we offer those for free for anyone who's supervising our students is sort of an added incentive for them. And then additionally, I teach the full eight hour supervision workshop yearly as well for anyone at those companies. Who's looking to come on board, supervising new BCBA trainees. So that's available as well to them for free. That's a good time. That's a good eight hours.

Shauna Costello (17:56):
Oh, trust me. I'm part of our eight hour supervision training. I completely understand. I just had to rewatch the whole thing and I'm like, Ooh, yeah, let's go watch myself talk about this. But no, I mean, that's really nice to hear that even with the online program, that they're still checking into those sites and not necessarily fully requiring to just be like, okay, go find an independent supervisor and figure it out. So it's really nice that they have that resource at Regis.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (18:27):
Yeah. So you know how we were talking about the capstone project for the online program while we don't have the same exact thing and the, on the ground program, we do have a component of the practicum series that I think hit some of the same goals as the capstone project. So for both programs, we have students in the practicum create a portfolio as sort of like an end product at the end of their practicum series. And through that, they do several different assignments. Many of them with their actual clients, although a few of them can be hypothetical as needed, right. And we walk them through what we consider to be some sort of the base clinical skills that one would need to be a BCBA. So they start simple. They start with like writing an operational definition and it goes all the way through either completing a skills assessment or a functional behavior assessment, and then creating goals based on that assessment. And then in the middle, it's doing a preference assessments, TA creating a shaping program, things along those lines. And I like it because we're holding them to a really high standard with this project, right. Where I sometimes do have them redo them like two or three times to get them to the quality that I think is important for them to be able to demonstrate to someone that they can produce something of like BCBA, caliber quality. And I liked that they have this as a permanent product at the end of their experience, right. Because we don't always have that in our field. And I think that it's a piece that could be really useful when you're then going to go and apply to be a BCBA somewhere, to be able to show someone sort of your body, your body of work, right. And show that you are able to produce all of these very skills that, that we expect for people to do, but you don't always get the practice. And I think trying to bridge the difference between learning the white book right. And putting it to practice in a way that's meaningful and thoughtful is a big jump. And we use that practicum series in order to try to develop those skills. And we spend a lot of time talking about not just like what it what's in book. Right. But like, how is that really going to translate over to your real, your real life scenarios and all of the varying components that, that entails. And we're excited as well. I've been focused on including components of supervision within the practicum sequence. Right. But now with the fifth edition, that's going to be its own class.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (21:08):
So excited about that.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (21:10):

Shauna Costello (21:10):
I'm really excited to hear that you, you call it this practicum series. Like it's this, you're working your way through it. It's not just like this requirement that you just have to do because sometimes what a lot of people forget is that test is just the minimum standard, like minimum standards and complete, like, depending on your practicum experience, you could go out into, I always put this in quotes, "the real world" and be thrown for a loop because depending on what your practicum experience was like, it could be completely different. I mean, there was, of course there was stuff that I learned being like the supervisor, like the only supervisor and, you know, I was lucky that I still had a team that I could consult with if I needed to. But yeah. It's like, so having that option, that opportunity to really work through and try to get as much hands-on experience of what you are actually going to do. Like, no you're in charge of this. This is you, is, is just really, really great to hear because I was very lucky that I got, I got to work with some very competent behavior analysts. And even I got to the point in my program where I went to my she was my PhD mentor, student mentor. I went to her and I was like, Hey, I'm in my second year. Can can I go more into a supervisory role please? So I can start. I was like, I need to, I, can I start working on some of these skills? And she goes, you know what? Yes, you can, you can. Yeah.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (22:47):
Yes, exactly. And that's, that's one of the things that I have them do. One of the first few weeks of practicum too, is I say, what are you hoping to get out of this experience? What do you anticipate? You're going to need to learn as far as your clinical skills and your supervisory skills, right. And being able to sort of objectively identify what those are, and then talk to them about how are you going to create these opportunities for yourself, right. How can you learn to advocate for yourself in reaching out to your current supervisors or to me to make sure that we're getting those opportunities for you? Because let me tell you two years goes by really fast, right. And.

Shauna Costello (23:25):
really fast yeah.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (23:27):
To be prepared, you do have to learn how to advocate for yourself and seek out those opportunities.

Shauna Costello (23:32):
Yeah. And I mean, I think that's one thing too, to just mention, like, this is just my own personal experience, but I am now officially five years out of my master's program. I am still learning to be a good supervisor.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys(23:45):
Oh yeah.

Shauna Costello (23:46):
And it is a, it is a, it definitely changes. And it's just this continuous learning process. So I think that's one of the best supervisory skills that I learned was to be able to not only how to do it, but also to ask for feedback.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (24:03):

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (24:06):
Right. It's a requirement for ethical guideline, guideline five, right. That supervisors need to get feedback on their own supervision doesn't happen as often as it should. But yeah. So in, during our ethics class, we spend a lot of time talking about how the code can relate to not only our practice with clients, but also to the supervision practice. Right. So we'll do a ton of role-play scenarios. We've done it via zoom. We've done them in person, right. When we mostly are in person for this class looking at like, here's your testy boss, here's your like, boss that doesn't want to accept feedback. Here's your boss that's open. Right. So how do you navigate that? And then flip, and then we flip it over saying, okay, now you're the testy boss. You're the open boss. You don't want to receive feedback. Right. And then the supervisees need to start talking in both capacities so that they have, they have at least some experience having these difficult conversations. Right. Because no one wants to have a difficult conversation for the first time without having done it before. Right. For reals, for realsies. So that's something that we, you know, really try out to promote throughout the program is if there's going to be challenges or obstacles that at least you've had some exposure to it.

Shauna Costello (25:29):
Yeah. That's great. Because one thing too, that I've learned from that, especially even when you're asking, like for feedback from your supervisees, is that saying it once isn't good enough? Especially when you get new supervisees, because they're like, wait, is she actually be like, does she actually want it? Or like this and that. So it, especially with my new students that always come in in the summer, I'm at almost every group meeting, almost every individual meeting. I'm like, what do you need? What do you need from me? What do I need to do? Like every time. So you're just continuously teaching them that and, you know, just showing them that, no, please tell me, tell me, so tell me stuff that you can tell me

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (26:15):
Follow through. Right? No follow through.

Shauna Costello (26:19):
I've actually gotten a lot of experience with like cultural competence. This is my first semester with international students. And so depending on where they come from and what culture that they were raised in, it's, it's very different. Actually. I noticed I talked too much and depending on where they come from, especially one of my, like one of my students it's from, you know, like she's from an Asian country. And so that supervisor, supervisee relationship is a little bit different because that's, you're brought up believing in different things when you're talking to a supervisor. And so giving feedback to a supervisor, that's one thing we've had to work on.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (27:04):
And I'm glad that you brought that up too, because that's one of the tenants of our program. We've really tried to infuse cultural sensitivity and cultural competence through all of our classes from the basic principles of behavior analysis class, all the way through assessment intervention, ethics, right. When we're talking about a radical and verbal behavior we've cultural competence is of utmost importance to us so much so that we've actually just revised our mission statement and our program objectives to include that, to make us accountable, to include it in all of our examples in our classes, making sure that we're, we're embedding it in the very essence of, you know, what we're teaching students. Because right now it's not available on the task list, but, you know, we need, so then we need to provide that experience. Another way that we provide that experience is through a one credit class called cultural competence global experience. So our students as well as alums. So just so you know students and alums can sign up for this one credit class and go on an international service trip to an international country. So right now, we've been going to Iceland. And so we've been spending around two weeks in Iceland working with schools on any sort of thing that they need. Right? So students get a glimpse of what it's like to be in a different culture, what it's like to work with people that aren't like you necessarily and also get a lot of experience on what it's like to be a consultant, right? So usually you don't get to be a consultant until you are one and you have no experience and they're like, do it. And then you screw up a few times, right? So this, this one credit course completely optional is a chance for us to supervise our students in providing culturally competent care, as well as this, these consulting skills. Right? So the trip last about two weeks, 10 to 14 days, depending on how fancy we were getting. And at the end of the experience, the students provide a training to the partners that we're working with and then give that training to them to be able to use it in their upcoming school year. So it's fun, both for the students, I think. And then it's helpful for the partners.

Shauna Costello (29:34):
I mean, if you ever need anybody help go into Iceland or, you know, anything like that, you just let me know, it's my bucket list actually for next year, if things work out with the world. So we'll see.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (29:47):
Yeah, we were playing, we were planning to go next year, but we're going to hold off the following year, just so that the students aren't like plopping down, you know, time and resources into something that might not happen, but it's planned and ready to go. Surprisingly,

Shauna Costello (30:02):
That's so exciting. And that's such a neat opportunity. A lot of times it's kind of like this, it's kind of like study abroad almost along with this, getting these different types of experiences that.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (30:17):
In a really condensed setting

Shauna Costello (30:17):
very condensed, but I mean, but no, that's really neat though, because I mean, you don't hear that.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (30:25):
Yeah. There's just no replacement for that type of experiential learning, right? Like you can practice with scenarios and role plays, but until you do it and you're immersed in it, it's hard to sort of understand the levels and the complexity and the nuance. So it's, it's great when students are able to do it, they've all really appreciated the opportunity. I didn't get to go last time. I think no one's fault except my own. Oh, I really hope that I get to go the next time around.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (30:58):
Yeah. So we've done that two times so far. And we are looking to expand our, our partnerships beyond Iceland, but that was our, that was our first one that was established. Yeah. So that's one of the perks I think of the program, right? Is that you can be part of this global experience either as a student or as alum. We actually love the alums to come because our plan usually is that we'll have one alum paired with one student, right. So that the alums can use this time as a training opportunity to get further supervision on how you train a student and the student gets the opportunity to be there. Right. And be learning from Regis graduates.

Shauna Costello (31:42):
And I know that a question that might come from this, whether it's for you or, you know, an email or things like that is you said it's a one credit course, but is there anything else, you know, out of pocket that goes into getting to Iceland and things along those lines.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (32:00):
There is. Yeah. So there is there's like a set nominal, so it's a one credit course and then just set nominal fee. But throughout the year we fundraise for that. So we have different fundraising opportunities that the student, the students take hold up and, and go forth. There was like a brewery, a brewery visit. The last time there was a community garage sale that they had. And you know, they'll.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (32:25):
there was like a cycling-athon right?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (32:29):
Yep! At soul cycle. So you know, they really, they, they raised that money as a group together.

Shauna Costello (32:36):
Yeah. And I think that, that brings to another, just to like the Cohorts that are in your program as well, that they're working together to get to a certain goal, like to go and do this experience. So I know that I've done fundraising and stuff before, and it definitely brings you closer to the people that you're working with. So building that network up.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (32:58):
Yeah. We really value that. Our classes are really small, right. We usually accept around 20 students into the program and we divide them into two cohorts. So there's 10 students per class, usually 10 to 15 depending, but usually it's 10 students per class. And they stay with those students for the first year of the program, just so you feel comfortable, you get like a solid base. And then the second year we mix them up and then, you know, we'll mix them up in the practicum sequences as well. But the nice thing is that that's not the only time they see their classmates. So we frequently have end of the semester gatherings. We had a potluck, a cultural potluck in December where everyone brought comfort food from their hometown. And we sang karaoke and ate food together, which was very nice.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (33:51):
Good time.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (33:51):
In that in the spring, we usually have an alumni cocktail hour in our gallery at school in the summer, we try to have like an end of the summer semester picnic this year, it's a zoom party where we're going to play some online games. You know, so we try to incorporate that community, that sense of community that we're not just taking classes, but where we're going to, they're going to be peers and supports when you become a BCBA.

Shauna Costello (34:21):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go ahead.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (34:23):
I was going to say we stress that or I stress that a lot to them in practicum, as well as, you know, like Jackie and I were in grad school together. Right. And then I can tell them, I'm like, you know, that guy that runs that company you work for, I went to grad school with him too. Right? Like these are the people who are going to be your behavior analytic community possibly for a very long time. So use them get to know them and think of them as more than just your classmates right now, because they're going to be likely your colleagues moving forward. And, you know, in that same vein, I think it's important that we build their peer relationships, but they also have a really close relationship with us as well. I think, I mean, at least from our perspective, it feels that way we spend a lot of time with them, right. So each of them are assigned their thesis advisor from the get-go right at the beginning, when they start with us there, they, we see what their research interests are. They, we see where they align with ours. And then we have some other very, very trusted faculty who also oversee some thesis projects in varying areas. And they're assigned to one of those. And then we meet with them from the beginning pretty much weekly throughout. Right. So there's a lot of time spent together. There's a lot of soul searching, right. And there's a lot of just sort of general advising in addition to the thesis advising. So, we come away, I think with some strong relationships with our students, we talk a lot about the value of mentorship in the program. And I tell them all, and like, he doesn't have to be me, but before you graduate, I want you to formally reach out to someone who has been a mentor or a supervisor to you and ask them to formally continue in that role with you. Because just because you're graduated, doesn't mean you're done, right. There's so much learning left and you're going to need that person. You're going to need a trusted person. So many of them do that. So some of us, some of them were their mentors, but some of them as someone else who's, who's close to them that they trust. But I think it's really important piece.

Shauna Costello (36:27):
I like that formally too, because I know that I'm just a forward person in general. So, but I know that I have that opportunity from where I went to school to reach, I've reached out to people who weren't even my faculty advisor, I reached out and like, Hey, I know that this is more your area.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (36:47):

Shauna Costello (36:47):
Can you help me out in this? And they're like, yes, we can. And so building those relationships, like, I love that you do that formally though as well. And I think one of the best things, I, yeah, I think one of the best things I learned from my faculty advisor while I was at Western was handwritten letters and notes. And I still credit her to this to this day is that I write, like, even if it's just like a random, just a random little note, I'll just send it off to somebody like, Hey, how you doing? And it's handwritten though. It's not a text. It's not a call. It's like, it's just a little surprise in the mail. And then I'll get a message back being like, thank you so much for sending that. Like, that was really like, I wasn't expecting it. It was really thoughtful and things like that to, to hear about your process as well is I liked that. I liked that process a lot.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (37:39):
Oh, good. Yeah, we do too. And I can tell you as a professor, any handwritten notes that your professor gets, those are saved, right. I have a little folder of every one I've ever received and they really do mean a lot.

Shauna Costello (37:52):
So, and I mean, that kind of brings us into like the application process as well, because the last couple of things we've talked about with like the thesis and then the cohorts and things like that. I mean, what does that process look like?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (38:05):
Yeah. So the application processes is fairly similar to most other schools. Students usually will inquire about the program via the internet. And then I will get a little blurb saying that they're, they're interested in the program and then I usually reach out to them. And we'll usually set up an informal discussion, zoom, in person, or phone call depending on the world. Right. and then I, I do this before they even apply to the program so that they are not wasting their time. If it doesn't sound like it's something that's going to be helpful for them. And so I'll give them a rundown of the program. Talk about the classes, talk about the prices, talk about what makes us unique, talk about our BCBA pass rate. And then I usually, if they talk to me first, I can give them an application fee, waiver code to secret so that I don't have to pay the application fee. Like it's a secret on this podcast. And then, so once they're really interested in the program they would fill out an application. And then within that application there, we require a letter of intent. We also require three letters of recommendation transcripts as well as an interview. So once the application is complete, I'll spend around a half hour speaking with the students about their application, about what they want to do with their lives. And this really helps me kind of get that, get to know them and get to know where they want to go and help me if they don't already have a job to help me and Dr. Perry crews to place them in employment. Right. So if we know where they want to go after, after they're done school, then we can help them get there. And one of our approved practicum placements yeah. And GRE is not required.

Shauna Costello (39:58):
Yeah. And then I always like to ask too, because some of, some of the application processes and deadlines are a little bit different. So when are your application deadlines? And interviews?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (40:11):
Yeah. So our application deadlines, the completed application is usually due on March in March, usually like the end of March. But one nice thing about Regis is we're a rolling admissions university. So we can accept people before that March deadline. I find waiting to be highly adversive. And so we try not to have students wait once their application is complete in their interview has been completed. So if you finished your application in October and you have an interview and your application is completed, we're not going to make you wait until March to know if you are accepted into the program. We'll usually let students know within one to two days after the formal application is complete. And then we'll accept the students until we have, until we have spots that no spots available. Right. and then we would Institute a wait list, but I feel like if a student is qualified to be in the program and excited about behavior analysis, there's no need for them to wait until March to know that. Yeah.

Shauna Costello (41:09):
Yeah. And I mean, I yeah, I would have loved, you know what I mean to have that because I mean,
Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (41:17):
And I guess that's a downfall too, though, is with this early, with the early accepted also comes with an early, you know, decision also comes in early acceptance. So we usually give students one to two months to decide. Yeah. Because if they can't take that spot, we want to give it, we want to be able to give it to somebody else. I think, I mean, it's a good benefit, right? It's a good benefit for students so they can start planning. And sometimes students come to the program without practicum placements, you know, without current employment. And that gives us some time and to find a place that's going to be suitable for them, both in what they're doing. And then who's going to supervise them.

Shauna Costello (41:51):
And I mean what are the students looking at when they're looking at what is around Regis? What is the area like, what can they expect? I mean, we've talked to a couple other schools that are in Massachusetts, but I mean, what can students, potential students expect?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (42:09):
Right. so Regis is located 12 miles West of Boston, the city of Boston in in a suburban neighborhood called Weston. And nobody lives in Weston that works at Regis or students. We would not recommend students to look for housing in Weston. It would be my it'd be near impossible. But the campus itself is lovely. It is a really small campus. We'll have rolling hills and big cherry trees right in the, the, the architecture is so gorgeous. They recently just recreated the entire inside of the campus. So now we have like quad and they redid they redid the library. So the library is modernized. There's a Dunkin donuts inside of it, for those of you that need your Dunkin's. And so the canvas is critically pleasing. One would one would say, right, if you love to work out, there is a, there is a workout place in every dorm, as well as in the athletic facility, we have like three dance studios, which seems unnecessary, excessive, but that's fine. If you love dancing, there'll be a place for you to dance, dance.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (43:27):
Beautiful, fine arts center.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (43:30):
Nice gallery. Yeah. and so that's nice. And most of our students usually live around where they work. So students will live in a nearby town called Waltham, which is a little bit closer to the city. They might live in the city. They might live in Metro West, which is past Regis going out West, obviously Metro West. But usually students live closer to where they work because they only come to campus one or two times a week. So it's one time a week per in the first year and two times per week in the summer and the second year. And so we usually advise students to live where it's going to be easy for them to get to work cause they're going to be going there theoretically almost every day.

Shauna Costello (44:17):
Well, and I mean, that's really nice too, because just now talking about the application process as well, you're, they're already going to know where they're going to be placed and where they're going to be working. So if you're moving, if you don't, you need to find an apartment. I know that that was probably one of the biggest things I had to do when I went down to Florida, when I moved down to Florida for work I had never visited the area I was going to, not even after I accepted or before I accepted the job posting, I was just like, yep, I'm coming. And so I had, I was like, I literally don't. I had to ask my coworkers or new coworkers. It was like, where do you guys live?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (44:56):
And during the interview process, we talk about that. And once we have the cohort of new students, I do send an email out to all of them with blind CC'd saying, if anyone's looking for roommates or places to live, here are some of the places that current students live here are some places that you could move into. If current students have like a room available in a house, some of our, most of our students actually, when they move here, we'll find someone else that's moving here and they'll share an apartment. So that's kind of nice. So we, we don't find you a house, right? Like I can't claim to be that person, but I can point you in the right direction to find that person.

Shauna Costello (45:35):
Well, basically you're basically like the housing matchmaker on top of everything else.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (45:40):
I'm like, Oh, look at this two bedroom, two bathroom apartment.

Shauna Costello (45:43):
Just get your real estate license while you're at it.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (45:48):
Right. You should just be a landlord.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (45:51):
I think that would be a conflict of interest. But yeah, so, I mean, we do try to make that process easy for students. So when they come, when they start a campus based program in the fall who only have fall admits they've done their pre-practicum training that Diane has created for them. We've secured employment for them. We've secured housing for them. Well, help them get them in the right direction so that they can go, you know, there's no time wasted, right. We can't waste time now that we have more hours that we need to approve for practicum. So it's just, it's go, go into the races.

Shauna Costello (46:34):
No, and I like it. And as somebody who's moved across the country and even across the state and things like that, it's very nice to have that as a resource because yeah. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have somebody to talk to about that kind of stuff. So it's a very nice resource. And what are some of the stuff that your Stu..., I mean, maybe during their free time, you know, between work and school, you know, there's not always a lot of it, but I mean, you're very, very close to Boston. It's still on my bucket list. I've been to Massachusetts, just never that far East. But I mean, what are some of your students activities that your students are doing in their, the free time that they have?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (47:20):
The activities that they're telling me they're doing?

Shauna Costello (47:23):
Yeah, let's go with those.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (47:25):
Okay. I know a lot of students really appreciate the music scene in Boston. A lot of our students have said they've gone to a lot of live shows. Some of them like dancing, we got a good dance scene, I guess I'm a little too old for that. But when I was younger, I was I was a dancer. And you know, we, we have a good sports scene as well. So if you're interested in watching sports, we got all the sports that you need.

Shauna Costello (47:53):
I, my second favorite hockey team.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (47:57):Yeah. but I think, you know, I think, you know, there, aren't, there's a lot to do in Boston and the surrounding areas and we kind of have something for all tastes, you know, there, you can go skiing, you can go swimming, you can go to shows, you can go to restaurants,

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (48:13):
A lot of running and biking trails in and around Boston. I think a lot of people are into that.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (48:18):
Yeah. and so I really, I think the only really huge disadvantage that we would have is that it's a little bit expensive, but we, you know, make ways, make ways to work through that and that we have winter. Right. So I wouldn't recommend something, someone coming, if they really hate winter,

Shauna Costello (48:39):
Winter is nice. I promise everyone. It's one, it's probably my favorite season. One of my favorite seasons

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (48:44):
Mine too. But if you like really hate winter,

Shauna Costello (48:48):
No, it was basically the equivalent of me moving to Florida. Is somebody moving to that area to your area when they don't like winter.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (48:57):
We just have to recognize that's one of the downfalls. If you don't like snow being cold winter. It's happening less and less winter is, but it's still happening.

Shauna Costello (49:05):
It is. I know, I know you were talking about being in your sunroom and your very, very hot sunroom. And I, during this, I started like, like, Oh my gosh, I'm so hot right now. I'm like, Oh, I wish it was cool.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (49:19):
It does get hot up here in the summer. I mean, and they say like, Oh, you experienced all the four seasons, but it really is true. You really do get all the four seasons. And winter is kinda the longest one.

Shauna Costello (49:31):
And sometimes in one day, yeah.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (49:34):
Sometimes one day fall is really beautiful. Yes. I give Boston props for fall.

Shauna Costello (49:39):
Yeah. I know. I mean, even by me in Michigan right now, it's 81. So.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (49:46):
90 here today. Yeah.

Shauna Costello (49:48):
So yeah, you get hot if you want hot, as well.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (49:53):
You get the spectrum of it. But yeah. So I think really, if someone was, you know, looking for a program that really is going to look out for you and provide you that support, you know, we're doing that on a weekly basis. Now we really know what our students' strengths and weaknesses are and, you know, we'll work with all of our students to make sure that they not only pass the BACB exam. Right. So we have a hundred percent pass rate, full disclosure, 2019. Right. That's great. But it's not our main goal. Our main goal is that your students are going to be the best behavior analysts that they can be. Right. And that they recognize that passing the exam is just the beginning on a long rewarding journey as a BCBA. Yeah.

Shauna Costello (50:40):
Well, I mean, we've covered a lot. Is there anything else that you want to cover before you get to some more of the perks that you've sort of alluded to?

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (50:51):
I'm gonna tell you about the perks. Yeah, so all of our faculty are PhD level behavior analysts, including our adjuncts. So our adjuncts are chosen to teach specific classes based on their research interests. And so most of the time adjunct faculty are teaching in the area that they've published in. Right. So if we are not strong in those, in those research areas, we'll find adjunct faculty that do, All of them have been published in peer review journals and are working currently in the field. And so that's really important to us that you're going, if you don't have Diane or I, what you mostly do throughout the program that, you know,

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (51:33):
You see quite a lot of us.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (51:34):
You do see a lot of us, but you do see you know, you get that experience from someone that's very qualified to teach to teach the classes. So that's something that we're, we hold as a high ideal. And we tend, we don't break from that. That's just one of our things, a small class size is really important to us as well. Right? So we usually our classes fit around 10 students, which I think is big in a way, but very small in a way. Right. So it really leads, it lends itself to a lot of discussion you know, interaction between the students and the faculty. I think our autism center really is is a really great resource for students. They can work at the autism center and receive supervision from our clinical director who is always on site. So you get a lot of hands-on supervision there and you can either receive tuition remission or be paid. So that's nice that you have that benefit of what you need in your life. Right. I think having those practical opportunities are really helpful, right? So students don't just have to go out into the world and choose a place to work. We've already vetted those for you and for potential students, right? So that, you know, we know what kind of supervision students are gonna receive at each of these sites. And we're continuously monitoring that supervision those standards on a year to year basis to make sure that we're always recommending agencies that align with our goals.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (53:07):
Yeah. We talked about the lecture series, which students are always welcome to come to as well. And if they volunteer at those, they can help us like prepare the certificates and check people in and out. And things like that. Then a portion of that money goes toward either their Iceland trip or to help fund students at conferences.

Shauna Costello (53:30):
That that's really exciting.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (53:32):
Yes. Thanks Diana. Right. And another bonus, with the lecture series is that students come to those, but not only students come, but alumns can come for free and receive free learning credits even after they've graduated. So they can attend the eight hour supervision for free. And then any, any invited lecture series that we have from now, from when they graduated until forever, they can come and get those learning credits.

Shauna Costello (53:57):
That's very, very nice. Yeah. Do either one of you have anything else you want to say about Regis? It sounds like, I mean, it sounds like a really fun well-rounded supportive program. And I, I mean, I liked learning more about it.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (54:14):
Oh, good. We love to telling you about it. I think that sums it up from my end, Jacks. I don't know about you.

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (54:21):
Me too.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (54:23):
Fun and supportive, I think is, are two good adjectives to help describe us and,

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (54:30):
and scientific.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (54:32):
I was just going to add that one as our, as our third. Right. I was trying to think about the best way to say it, but we're, we're really grounded in the research. We spent a lot of time obviously reviewing that with our students as well as its application.

Shauna Costello (54:44):
So well, and I mean, I can plug it of course, but in case anyone listening doesn't know if you've ever heard of ABA inside track. You're talking to that, you're listening to them right now as well.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (55:00):
So yes. And my husband doesn't work at Regis, but is on the, is the coast of the show.

Shauna Costello (55:05):
Yeah. But then when you talk about scientific as well, then you also have your it's scientific with the research and producing the research and things like that. But also, I mean, it was, he, especially if you go back to, I mean, our, what behavior analysts strive to do is dissemination, and that's one thing that you are doing very often, especially with the podcast. So of course, want to plug it just because

Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald (55:37):
Yeah, you're so fine too. So thank you.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (55:40):
Yeah. We, we feel so fortunate that we have that opportunity and have that audience to speak to and we kind of lucked into it, but we're so glad that we did. And if anyone wants to know what it sounds like to come to class, then they probably should listen to an episode that's up your alley because it's basically the same idea.

Shauna Costello (56:01):
No, and I love that. And yeah, of course. I want to plug that because just like you said, it's going to be very similar to, you're going to see what the types of personalities, the types of learning, the types of speaking that you're going to be getting involved with when you, if you go to Regis. So I think that's a very good place to plug inside track because it is a fun podcast And I enjoy it a lot.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (56:26):
Thanks, Shauna.

Shauna Costello (56:27):
But I mean, thank you both so much for talking with me today. I've, I mean, I've had a good time and I've talked to you before, but I've had a really good time. And so thank you both again.

Dr. Diana Parry-Cruwys (56:41):
Oh my gosh, we had so much fun talking to you. It was really fun to get to do this and thanks for having us on.

Shauna Costello (56:48):
Thank you for listening to this episode on the university series. And as always, if you have questions, comments, feedback, or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to

Leave a reply