University Series 039 | Clarion University & CLM Center of Excellence

We have had our fair share of unique programs, but this is one of the coolest partnerships we have seen! Today we are joined by Dr. Cristin Ketley, Dr. Cathy Scutta, and Dr. Kristina Zaccaria from Clarion University and CLM Center of Excellence. This program is built to train Behavioral Educators. Not sure what that is? We weren't either, but listen and find out!


Contact Information 

Dr. Cristin Ketley -

Dr. Cathy Scutta -

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria -

Additional Links 

Programs at Clarion University

CLM Center of Excellence 


Shauna Costello (00:00:01):

You're listening to Operant Innovations, a podcast brought to you by ABA Technologies. This week, on The University Series, we are speaking with Clarion University and the CLM Centers of Excellence as they describe their partnership and their goal to train as many behavioral educators as possible. Today we are here with Clarion University and I am very excited because we have multiple women from the program. Instead of me introducing them, I am going to let them introduce themselves. Thank you all for being here and I'm gonna pass it over to you.

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:00:41):

Thanks, Shauna. I am Dr. Cristin Ketley and I'm an assistant professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and I'm the VCS coordinator for our ABA CLM program at Clarion.

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:00:53):

Thanks, Shauna. I'm Dr. Cathy Scutta. I'm the director for the CLM Center of Excellence and I coordinate the program between Clarion and the CLM Center of Excellence.

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:01:08):

Hi, Shauna. Thanks for having us. I'm Dr. Kristina Zaccaria and I'm the director of communications and design for the Center of Excellence.

Shauna Costello (00:01:16):

Thank you all. And I'm very excited. The first thing we usually start out with is just a general overview of the program. What does that look like?

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:01:27):

At Clarion, we do have the BCABA level program, as well as a BCBA level program. Both really do mirror each other in terms of looking at creating behavioral educators. That's our main goal. To do that, we have a beautiful blend of applied behavior analytic content and the competent learner model. Information that we blend together in our courses. That's really what makes us different. Each level of coursework is seven courses, all online and we've been going since about 2018, so we are pretty new. The other thing that makes it really specific to creating those behavioral educators is we have created some wraparound supervision activities that go along with the content that we're providing in each course. Each of the courses does run throughout the year. Not your typical per semester program, but instead we try to really keep our students going in terms of both their activities in class, as well as supervision, so that we're really starting to develop actual practitioners in the field and can carry along their knowledge base through their development, along with their supervision activities in the field. The program does also require students to have some interaction with a learner. The students don't just do reading and lectures and do not have real contact with classmates or their teacher or their professors since it is an online class. We do have synchronous class meetings where everyone's together, everyone's sharing and part of having that experience that they are actually implementing what we're teaching with the learner. They bring that information back to class, talk about what worked, what didn't work, show videos of them interacting and performing the implementation task that they might have learned in last class. They show it to their peers and we walk through what worked, what didn't work, what could be done differently, what was great, and other people could grab an idea and use it with their learner as well. It's really heavy in coaching as well in terms of let's make you that behavioral educator that we wanna see, instead of just the coursework that maybe you go through where you don't actually have contact in that fashion.

Shauna Costello (00:04:16):

To build off of that, this is something that is... of course, after we met before I went and started doing my own research, but this might be a new term that people are hearing with this behavioral educator. Before we get more into some of the specifics of the program, what does that mean?

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:04:41):

I'd like to take this one. I'm actually an occupational therapist and a behavior analyst. We work with kids with disabilities, all kinds of kids with disabilities, as a multidisciplinary team. One of the things that the competent learner model, a core value is that it's a team based model. As we were designing what our ABA CLM coursework would look like, we really took the concept of we want to create educators, no matter what their backgrounds are, that have this common thread of behavioral analytic instructional excellence at their core. That's what behavioral educators are. It's a multidisciplinary behavioral educator and the behavioral analytic approach adds to our own individual expertise. It doesn't take anything away from the other professions. It's an add-on, it's a value add. That's what we think of when we say behavioral educators.

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:05:55):

Well explained, Cathy. I always like to make sure that people understand exactly what Cathy just said, because we are housed in the special education department at Clarion University. That doesn't mean that you have to be a special educator or have a teaching background to be able to be really successful in our courses. Everything that Cathy just said really explains it. Once again, it doesn't have to mean education.

Shauna Costello (00:06:25):

That is exactly why I asked just because if somebody hears that, I feel like there could be a lot of misunderstandings when they hear that. I wanted to clarify that because once we get into some more of the specifics, it's definitely an interesting concept to learn about. Within the program, who are the main faculty and what is some of that research that is going on? What are those opportunities? I know that with the online format that might look a little bit different as well. What does that look like?

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:07:05):

Since we are the beautiful blend that I keep talking about of the competent learner model and behavior analysis information, the three people that you're listening to right now are the main faculty. We felt very strongly that anyone that's teaching the courses needs to be very well versed in, not only behavior analysis, but also the competent learner model, which I'm sure we're gonna talk about. The competent learner model really is disseminated through the Center of Excellence, which Cathy and Kristina are both the leaders of. They are also part of our main faculty at Clarion. I teach the courses as well as Cathy and Kristina. We are the people who created them. We are the people who create any updates that need to happen based on changes that are coming out from the BACB, or just making sure that we're providing good instructional design to our students. Any updates that come along with that. Really, it's us. There is the additional faculty at Clarion that does help support us. They don't tend to teach in our ABA CLM courses. I don't think I mentioned this, our courses are also built into our masters of special education. The verified course sequence, the seven courses at the masters level, are built into the masters of special education degree that we have. Once again, a person does not need to have a teaching background to be in that degree, but if they are someone who is seeking potential certification and wants to get their masters, in addition to that potential certification, we have that option. There is additional faculty that do help me teach the courses in the MS. We can make that degree very specific to the interest of the individual student. If they have an interest in gifted education, or gifted supports, we can tailor the program. If they have an interest in Autism, we can tailor the program to that and provide some additional credentials around that interest as well. We have a lot of options in that area and do pull in some additional faculty, but when we're talking just ABA and CLM, it's us. Research wise, we feel very strongly that we are educators and not researchers. We are definitely always thinking about research, but our main goal is to make sure that we're providing really good content to our students so that they can go out into the world and make those socially significant changes with individuals that they're working with. Research wise, it's not the biggest component of our program, but there are some small things that are happening that, maybe Cathy and Kristina can talk about a little bit more, because it's a little more Center of Excellence driven than Clarion driven. It is Clarion supported, of course.

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:10:27):

I think the Center of Excellence really focuses on global dissemination. We have people all over the world that are interested in doing research in the competent learner model, in various capacities. One of them, the developer of the competent learner model, Vicci Tucc,i right now is really focused on the fluency flashcard app, which is embedded into the core sequence, but also the supervision activities tracking portfolio system that I assume we will talk about later. The goal of the fluency flashcard app is to develop fluency around all of the vocab that is huge to ABA, and then also CLM as well. The way that it is built into our courses and the supervision activities, the portfolio tracking system is really to build fluency around those concepts. Also, like Cristin was saying, really developing competent behavioral educators from an application perspective. Everything that they're doing is practicing those concepts while they're learning the terminology. It's really both. The fluency flashcard app is one of the research things that is going on right now, along with like Cristin was saying, just really developing those competent learners. We have case studies going on around the world of so many amazing students that are really changing. They're really developing those key repertoires and key deficits. We have a central hub on the Center of Excellence that is all dedicated to research.

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:12:24):

Yeah. The only thing I would just say is that, as both these ladies have said, we are interested in practical applications. That's our main goal and through the Center of Excellence, we have had many doctoral students who have gone through our first inaugural doctoral program. It was started at WVU by the late Dr. Daniel Hirsch and actually these two ladies are graduates of that program. The main reason that program was started was to develop research agendas around topics within the competent learner model dissemination and as the model has all of these different components we have had probably 10 graduates so far, and each of them has done their dissertation research around some component or some complementary research to the competent learner model. We have all of their dissertations posted. Some of them have been published, some unpublished, and as these ladies have said, we try to house all of the single subject, the group designs that we have done, anything that we have, we try to put here so that people can replicate it. Again, not our main focus. We're not one of those programs that emphasizes that wholly.

Shauna Costello (00:14:08):

I think that's a very important distinction to make, and that's why I brought it up because I do like to make that distinction. One of the main goals of this podcast is for our listeners to be able to find a program that's going to fit them. Not being highly focused on doing research is not what all of us are focused on. I think that it is critical that students learn the applied side as well. To be able to bring that research to the applied setting, because we all know how hard it is to do applied research. Having that amalgamation of both where it's not strictly research based. I think that brings something very special to the program and makes the program what it is. Typically next I go into the practicum sites, but before we get there, I wanna make sure that we really get to talk about the method behind the program in general. I wanna make sure that we give time to that because this is a really big part of the program, the competent learner model. I want people to become more aware of this. Before we go into some of those practicum sites, how about we go a little bit more into that?

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:15:39):

Sure. I can start there. The competent learner model is a model of instructional tools and it's an entire system, an entire package developed by Vicci Tucci over a 40 year time period or more at this point. We talk about the system, it includes training and coaching materials for all of the adults, and it merges all of these pieces of the model at the intersection between applied behavior analysis, direct instruction and precision teaching. All of those pieces, but also pulls in the science of coaching and the science of implementation. How to disseminate, how to get things to stick. You've got the training and coaching piece of it, which has online training modules, competency based coaching, mastery based performance checkouts. Then we've got of course our university certificate programs. We have ABA CLM through with Clarion and we also have CLM standalone certificate programs as well. The next part of the package is for our students, for our learners. It has assessments, curriculum that go along with the assessments and the curriculum is a track based curriculum, designed much like any good direct instruction curricula. We have data and graphing tools, we have an entire online management system that allows us to have online learner folders, etcetera. That's the learner programming. The third part of the system is all about implementation, and those are our dissemination tools. It helps us to be able to replicate, over and over, implementation across large scale implementations. We have environmental assessments, implementation steps, planning steps, and various fidelity tools. Kristina, Dr. Zaccaria, manages one of our largest implementations in the world. It's across six counties and she uses all parts of this system to embed this programming that actually touches staff and kids across all of these countywide school divisions. Maybe she could talk a little bit more about that piece when you get there, but it's a complete package of ABA direct instruction, precision teaching materials.

Shauna Costello (00:18:34):

That's very exciting.You just gave the perfect transition into potential practicum site opportunities with sending it over to Kristina. What are some of those practicum opportunities? What can the students expect from those and what does that look like?

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:18:55):

Well, I'll let Cristin start with the background and then I will talk about some of the supervision activities that we have built in and the system to support that.

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:19:04):

When we were building these courses, to get verified through ABAI, we really felt strongly that the competent learner model information, training needed to be embedded in the courses because it is built upon applied behavior analysis. In our courses, when we're working on a task list item, let's say it's the verbal offerance. We then move into, "Where is that at CLM?" How do we actually teach that to our learners? How do we actually put that into practice in a classroom, a practicum site, a center based service? Wherever it may be, someone's home. With that comes some very specific instructions. We call it format within CLM. The individual has guidance as to how that should be implemented, and then data tools, all of the other components that Cathy talked about. To be able to do that whole scope and be able to build our courses all in that fashion, we wanted to help support our individuals in their training sites. Wherever they were in terms of trying to get their field work hours. We do not have associated practicum necessarily with the university, but we still do help our students find appropriate supervisors because we really want the supervisor to be a BCBA plus a CLM certified implementer or coach. Our students are then getting that dual knowledge, which is fantastic, and really helps their development as an implementer of behavior analysis in CLM. We really help connect our students with a supervisor and then of course just check their site. There are sometimes where we help to guide the students, "Hey, have you tried this area as a way to gain some hours?" To help solidify implementation, knowledge and practice, mostly Kristina Zaccaria created the wraparound supervision activities and portfolio that is a process that supervisors are able to use with their supervisee. The supervisee is also very involved in the actual portfolio management as well. We really wanted to make sure that we weren't just throwing our students out into those practicum sites and saying, "Go for it," and not really having a clear direction as to what supervision should be and look like. We all know there's guidance to supervision, but there's not a whole ton [Laughing]. Sometimes it can be very confusing. The way that one person supervises can look very different than someone else and Kristina really put a lot of time into researching what supervision should be and look like before we actually ever put that into the hands of supervisors and supervisees. Kristina, do you wanna talk about the actual wraparound supervision components?

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:23:00):

Yeah, thanks for giving that background. As Cristin was saying, we developed an entire supervision activities portfolio and tracking system. We all know that, especially with virtual supervision... I think that's also an important component that a lot of our supervisors and supervisees are really doing virtual supervision. How do we take best practices for not only supervision, but also virtual supervision? It's different and really puts it into one package. The other component that's really important, and I think Cristin alluded to some of this, sometimes we're learning about these things in class and then how is it actually applied to the setting? I think that sometimes in supervision, we inadvertently miss each other because we're learning all of these terminology and all of these things, but how does that actually apply? The supervisors aren't going through the content. We really looked at the course syllabi and then said, "What are the most important activities that focus on that application component, that they can really practice in the field? It really provides that wraparound supervision component that if they're learning about a concept, then they can practice it with their supervisor, get that direct feedback, and then also really differentiate it. All of the courses, of course, have their course syllabi, but then the supervision activities also have a syllabi. They can really say, "I need a little bit more practice with this concept," or "I feel really good about this concept." It's not that you go through and you never differentiate it because that wouldn't be best practice. That the supervisor and supervisee really say, "Okay, here is the plan for the semester." All of the best practices for supervision are built in. We have quarterly assessments, the agenda template, of course, adhering to all of the BACB guidelines that we're always keeping up with. It really ends up being a true portfolio for the supervisee. They're uploading videos, they're attaching all of the data collection so that then they can go back and say, "Okay, here's all of the components that I did. Here's my progression throughout these two years." It also helps them prepare for the exam, but then the exam is just the starting point as we know. They will have access to it forever and they can go back and say, "Here's a template that I created for whole interval recording. Let me pull that." It really is cumulative that they can have after they are certified.

Shauna Costello (00:26:04):

That's so huge because that is one thing, especially with upcoming changes in 2020 to supervision, that's gonna be huge. With the changing requirements, there's gonna have to be that ongoing supervision where a lot of this stuff, they can bring with them and use that and augment, and show their supervisors once they're out in the field, what they've already done, what they can do and what they will hopefully continue to do with potentially their future supervisees as well.

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:26:41):

Yeah, and like you just said, I think that that is one of the main components. We wanna model good supervision so that they become good supervisors. From the very beginning, bringing that in and really saying, "You're gonna be done with this." You now are going to take it and provide really good supervision for somebody else. What does that look like? That doesn't look like just one and done, "Here you go. Go do this. I never give you feedback," but we really want them to be learning from that supervisor perspective. How do I give feedback? That's built into the course.s They're actually having to give feedback to their supervisor about what is working and what is not working. How many times do you get to the end of the supervision experience and you hear the supervisee say that it was a terrible experience? I didn't learn very much, or I wish this could have been different. We built that in so that they're learning how to get feedback, but they're also taking ownership of their experience. They're learning how to do that when they're a supervisor.

Shauna Costello (00:27:48):

That's so nice and it's so exciting. From one standpoint, I do wanna also comment back on what Cristin was talking about too, along with you, Kristina, about the practicum sites in general. It ties back into what Cathy had mentioned about dissemination and things along that line as well. I just want to reiterate what I'm hearing and everybody, tell me if I'm hearing this correctly, the supervision site, you're not required to be a specific CLM site, but you'll be helped to find a competent supervisor. Then you will learn from your coursework and from the three of you about how to incorporate CLM into your setting. Is that correct? Did I hear that correctly? Perfect. Okay. Everyone's nodding their head. Nobody will be able to see that. [Laughing]

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:28:53):

Yes. Sorry. [Laughing]

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:28:57):

I wanna say that a broader connection here is that, as the competent learner model Vicci Tucci has built this model to be a capacity building model. This is not an expert model. We build the course of study and the competent learner model creates educators who become experts in their own right. Everything that we design in our ABA CLM program, including the supervision, everything is designed to build capacity. Even thinking about just what Kristina was saying, wherever we meet our students and our supervisors, we wanna take them to the next level. We believe that we're constantly learning and growing and that we don't have all the answers. As Kristina was saying, when she designed that wraparound component for supervision, we want to meet people where they are practicing and then make that, because CLM can be implemented anywhere. It's not just that we have a one size fits all. We really tried to think about the underlying mission of what CLM tries to do, which is to disseminate our field, disseminate this expertise down to the hands of the practitioners who are working with the kids or working with the adults with disabilities or working with whomever, our clients.

Shauna Costello (00:30:47):

That's great to hear. Not only does that show what the partnership between the programs is really trying to do, it also brings it back to our main tenants as behavior analysts is dissemination, it's about spreading the word. A lot of people might be a little hesitant for some online programs, but I am hearing that this is something that you're not only gonna just learn CLM, you're not only going to learn applied behavior analysis, direct instruction, precision teaching, but you're really going to be able to apply it absolutely anywhere you go with the populations that you're working with. That's something that's really exciting to me, especially because it is an online program. It is so accessible to anyone. You'll have you three, the faculty here to help you find the correct supervisors to be able to learn how to become a great supervisor. Not all supervision is created equal, [Laughing] I even fully admit this and I've done this on other podcasts. It took me a while and I'm still learning to this day. I'm always learning, but just hearing all of this from the program standpoint, to the practicum standpoint. Just the amount of individualization that the students are gonna be getting from the program is something that I love to hear.

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:32:27):

I'm glad that you noticed that and brought it up, because we are a university program, but we really like our classes to be smaller because we don't just push students through. I can tell you where all of my students are working, who their learner is by name. I see them weekly. I know things about their lives. It is an online program, but very people driven and very supportive in terms of not just being a face or a voice that my students hear. Cathy and Kristina are the same. The students really have relationships with us in terms of professional behaviors, their actual implementation, the sites that they are in. It is not just those lectures and readings, once again. We really take care of our students quite a bit. We also provide quarterly supervision meetings to those supervisors of our students and often the supervisees will come to those meetings. It's a big community that we are forming as well. To help even if the students are done, graduated, certified, actually making change in the world, we still have through the Center of Excellence, many professional development opportunities that continue to push the knowledge of our students or other people in the community or our other implementation sites. I don't know, Cathy. Do you wanna talk a little bit about those?

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:34:14):

Yeah. If anybody could take a look at and you can find that we have lots of different professional development activities. Webinars three times a year, we have coach meetings for our certified coaches around the world, and they can join in and be part of those. Sometimes we have onsite workshops. Any of us might go on site to an implementation site and really help them with a specific topic like engineering learning environments, or a specific topic that takes a little more of a workshop type. We also do collaborative consultations. Individuals who are struggling, specifically with a challenge with a learner, a challenge with the adults that they're training, a challenge with the administration support, whatever. We will have these individual consultations. Every couple of years we do the CLM conference and we are anxiously awaiting... We were supposed to have our first one held at Clarion University a summer ago and we ended up canceling or postponing. Not that we couldn't have done it virtually, but it's as Cristin said, truly a community of practitioners from around the world. We're small enough that we love to get together. We know each other, we know people from France, we know our implementers from the UAE, and we love to be together. We decided we're gonna wait until we can do it live. I think that'll be next June. Those are all the different kinds of professional development support. As Cristin said, it's a coaching model. Every single thing that we do is to build. Even in our webinar topics, we're always thinking, "How does this elevate us to be, each of us, more successful?"

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:36:55):

I was just gonna add that if you can't tell already, it really is a community. It's a community of practitioners that I always smile at when I hear Cathy say, "We know each other." I think that is one of the strengths of this program. It is all online, but it's done in such a way that it's not just responding to a discussion board. Like Cristin was saying, somebody in France and where they're working and they're learners and tell you what's going well, and maybe what they're trying to work on. I think that is something that we're really proud of because it takes a lot of work, but the value of a community of practitioners coming together around a common language, it's really powerful. You can watch videos when people show them and they might be talking in a different language and you have no idea what they're saying, but the ABA that they're doing in the CLM is really great. I think that it's different, but it's also a strength. It's just really powerful when you're part of that.

Shauna Costello (00:38:09):

That speaks to my next question. It's incorporating a lot of what you're saying, but then it goes a little bit deeper. What is the student experience? What can they expect from workload? We've talked about practicum and typically when you're going into one of these programs, you've researched what you should expect from that. What is that student experience like?

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:38:38):

The workload is a lot. [Laughing] There's no other way to say it. The workload is a lot. We are not a program that you will just fly through and do readings, listen to recorded lectures. We'll just get in, get out. We are not that. If you want to be a student who wants to learn behavior analysis and do it, and have somebody help you to get to the point of actually doing it. Really creating change with a learner who maybe is the learner that nobody else has been able to get to do those academic things, or get to do those pieces of communication that haven't happened in that individual's life, we are the people for you. We really want to create people that are going to create change. To do that is a lot of work and it takes a level of commitment and effort. Once the students who find that they are in the right place are here with us, it's easy. They absolutely love it. The homework, if you wanna call it that, the activities that they need to do in between courses or in between actual class modules or class meetings, is really more practice based than sit down and type of paper. The actual student experience could look like you have your class, which tends to be a three hour class online, you have all of your classmates and your professor virtually of course, but all together where we review content, and then also share some of those activities that you had to do as if you wanna call it homework or assignments. In between, you're of course reading. It's important to make sure that you're contacting all the literature, so that is built in, but also then you are completing CLM modules, which look like an online system that has content as well as videos explaining the content. You actually have to do some practice with the vocabulary to become fluent in that, as well as some comprehension checks that are built in. That's part of what is required, but also we'll just stick with the verbal operants as the example, since I used it earlier. If we're saying this is what we're learning this week, go implement that with your learner, videotape it with appropriate consent, of course. Videotape it, bring that back to class and let's talk about it. Let's actually see what you did. That was amazing. What maybe you could work on a little bit the next time. What are some suggestions for you and your learner? There's that coaching component always built in that is the real kind of implementation, that we feel actually creates those people who will go into the world and create change, or are able to create change with what we call a naive learner, those learners who really need their skills to be developed. It's not a typical program in terms of you're not writing papers. You're not necessarily doing discussion boards and having to reply to your classmates. There's a little bit of that built in for a good purpose in ethics, but everywhere else, it's more community based, coaching based and more shows us what you're doing as opposed to writing that paper. It is a lot of work, but the students absolutely love it. We have really great feedback from our students that we take very seriously. We have been able to really see some change in the student's learners, but also the students themselves.

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:43:15):

The other thing I wanna pick up on is something that Cristin started off with, which is this is a very robust program. Most of our students are in the field working. We do have some pre-service, but we have a lot of people that are already working when they enter our program. We recognize what a commitment this is and how hard it is. We are okay with the fact that this program is not for everyone. We are okay that not everybody wants to do the CLM. If you wanna do this, then believe me, it's our mission to make you successful to make you an excellent behavioral analyst and excellent behavioral educator. That's what we do and we know how to do it, and we do it well. If you aren't on board, we're okay with that. There's another program for you somewhere, where you can take the coursework and take your quiz and move on to the next little bit of content and take the quiz. Obviously you're starting to see what our bias is, Shauna, about how we produce excellence in our field. That's a strong belief for us.

Shauna Costello (00:44:40):

It's very refreshing to hear, because this is the reason behind this. You can only learn so much from a website. There are so many programs on the VCS list on this, on that. Really getting into this, really hearing from the faculty who are behind these programs, you really start to get a feel for what you're really going to get when you apply to these programs and enter into these programs. I love hearing that. One thing that I do wanna ask, and Cristin and I had talked about this when we met before, and Cathy, you mentioned it too, with France and UAE and this and that. What does that mean for some of the students and potential international work? It might not be while they're in the program, but maybe after they've graduated. What does this partnership really mean for some of the students?

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:46:02):

Thank you for the question. The CLM Center of Excellence is all about global dissemination. Everybody, wherever you are in the world, has to have a licensed agreement to actually use the entire system. Our students, while they are going through the course of study and some of the components, don't give them the right to take it and implement it outside of a licensed agreement. We emphasize that to our students throughout, but we also emphasize to them that this is just the beginning. Going through our program, we want them to stay connected to the Center of Excellence. Even if they aren't working for an organization that has a license right now, at some point they may find themselves in a situation or they may advocate for it. We've seen a lot of people who get introduced to the model and want to really implement it. Not necessarily yet through our program, but in other ways, they end up coming back to us for that. There's more work out there around the world than we can possibly keep up with. If anybody has those interests to work internationally, we have opportunities, at least more and more opportunities to be part of a true community of practitioners that is global and learns from each other.

Shauna Costello (00:48:02):

That's really great to hear. I'm biased, but dissemination is one of my biggest focuses as well. It's just so great to hear that there are all of these opportunities and that might also mean for international students to potentially enter into the program as well. It might be something that's already happening near you and you are not even quite sure. I did wanna throw that in there as well, because we do have some international listeners. One thing too, that I always like to ask, is the application and admissions process. What does that look like?

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:48:47):

We do try to keep the admissions process pretty simple because it's just the first step to get students started and get them in contact with me as their first person at the university to then help them through the rest of their program. At the undergraduate level or someone seeking potential BCABA level content knowledge, they simply have to fill out a form on the Clarion website and then the admissions team will help them through the rest of the steps, which are pretty typical. Sending of transcripts if they need them. That's about it at that level. The graduate level, whether it's for just the ABA CLM certificate, which would be our seven course sequence or the masters, once again, they can just fill out the application that is online at the Clarion website, which is That form will help to also prompt them to send transcripts. We do not require GREs. We do not require letters of recommendation. It's really just the application and transcripts. Those come directly to me as the coordinator, which I then approve at this point. Our admissions team is extremely friendly and helpful and can always answer any questions through our Clarion website as well, or students contact me directly a lot of times via email. If needed, I can always set up a meeting to help students through the process. We do have a decent amount of international students already and always are accepting more international students, especially since this is an online program. The process for online students is a little more time consuming because we do need verification of a degree through WES and we also do need English proficiency scores. Those are two things that are required as well as transcripts and the application. The same as someone who is a domestic admission. All of that information is on our website, but I also have some handbooks and documents that I can always send to everyone, if they want to reach out to be able to get more information or have some support in the actual admissions process. Once again, they can find that information at I can be reached at

Shauna Costello (00:51:47):

I will make sure to put anyone's email in the podcast description that would like to be contacted for any questions. I'll put the program's website in there, and then I'll also put CLM's website in there as well. In any other references, we wanna make sure that potential students have the opportunity to go and look at. We've covered a lot so far. We have covered a general overview, all of you as a faculty and how research and applied work are looked at. We've covered what CLM is, the practicum opportunities and the individualization of the program, what to expect from the program as a student and some of the potential opportunities that are even international for some of the students, and then the admissions process. We've covered a lot so far. Is there anything else that any of you want to make sure that we cover?

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:52:49):

The competent learner model has a component of the model called "the course of study." The online modules that we use for training. Of course, that was all developed by our developer, Vicci Tucci. When she did this, she did this large content analysis of what people need to know when they're working with these really challenging learners. What do they need to know? What do they need to know first and next? She built this scope and sequence for adult training. It's fascinating because it's all ABA based, but the very first thing that she teaches, in course of study unit one, is the whole need to be good, keen observers. She talks about that, so everybody on the team can get stimulus control over our observation skills so that we know what it is that we're observing and what the relevance is. I say that because it's not necessarily that we took the task list. We started from the task list, first. We started from this larger content analysis of what behavioral educators really need to know to be successful with challenging learners. Then we started with that content and then dissected the task list content and married it within the course of study. We've got the CLM course of study that has the practical mastery based application performance checks built into them. We took the ABA task list and the content from, not just the task list, but our science in general and married it with the CLM. We did this little bit of a backward analysis as well to try to marry this content together. That's how we did that and then from there we built in to make sure that they had all of the relevant, current research, current topics, all of the things that would make a well rounded behavior analyst. We know that maybe some people are not going to stay in working with students with Autism.They may have clients who are adult clients who may be more in the mental health sector of our field, or they maybe wanna get into organizational kinds of behavior analysis. We recognize that, but we think that the way we built and designed this creates really strong behavior analysts in general.

Shauna Costello (00:56:11):

I like hearing that too, because that is something that I really try to pride myself in with my supervisees and my students that we have coming in through ABA Technologies. It's just so nice to hear that. Not only are you gonna come in and get these applied skills and be able to go out into the workforce. We all wanna do that. That is the goal, but at the same time, you're really going to be learning and living and breathing the science and the philosophy and the theory of behavior analysis as well and you're gonna be getting this very well rounded education on all of these different education models within the science of human behavior. It's not only focused on, like you said, little kids with Autism, because that's not all we're working with. I know that is something that I often see on social media. A lot of people are asking questions about what do I do with one of my students who's 13 or 20? Or this, or that. Is there anything else that anyone wants to say to wrap up to hit home about what potential students should know?

Dr. Cristin Ketley (00:57:41):

I would just say if there is a potential student who wants to be part of a community of learners who is working towards creating change in their environment, we are the program for you. We are the people for you, and we would welcome you in our community with arms wide open.

Dr. Cathy Scutta (00:58:02):

Once you're here, we support you forever. [Laughing] We really do. We really mentor each other, we support each other, we spend time problem solving with each other. I'm much older than the three of you, having been in the field for like 34 years. I've never been part of a community of practitioners that really do what we say we do. We're here to support each other. We intend to do that for our students as well.

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (00:58:44):

I would just add one more thing that it's not only the faculty members to the students. I think that the community really provides that student to students. We do it with each other, but then also I think that's so important because you might be the lone behavioral analyst in public school, or if you're doing in-home work or whatever. We hear all the time that this work can feel isolating or you don't have that community. Just to be able to send a Marco Polo or to be able to say, "Hey, can you jump on Zoom?" Can we really talk about what I would do with this learner? We really try to create that peer to peer, because that's super important as well.

Shauna Costello (00:59:29):

What Cathy said as well, regarding just the faculty and the school and program in general. That's the big difference between a supervisor and a mentor. There is a difference. Also what Kristina said about networking and really getting in with your peers and your colleagues. Getting in close with them, even though you're online, is gonna be huge because I know for me, I was in person and it's still really nice to be able to, if somebody asks a question, I'm like, "Well, I know somebody who's in that area." I haven't talked to them in a few years other than social media, but it's really nice to be able to be like, "Hey, so and so. I have this question about this, it's your area. Can you help?" And they're like, "Absolutely." It's really great to have that just because I like to call myself an inch deep and a mile wide. It's really nice to have this network of strong behavior analysts that are out there that I can reach out to. Like you said, it's not only the faculty in the program, but it's also the peers within that program. That's really great to hear. I wanna thank everyone for speaking with me today and talking about both programs. I guess it is two and the partnership between them and the opportunities for the student. Thank you all so much.

Dr. Cathy Scutta (01:01:07):

Thank you, Shauna.

Dr. Cristin Ketley (01:01:09):

Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Dr. Kristina Zaccaria (01:01:11):

Thanks. It was fun.

Shauna Costello (01:01:15):

Thank you for listening to this episode of the University Series. As always, if you have questions, comments, feedback, or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to us at


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