The Lift 015 | Bringing it All Together - Academic Applications
This episode does not qualify for BACB CEs.
This episode explores how clinical supervisors are using the book "Building and Sustaining Meaningful and Effective Relationships as a Supervisor and Mentor" in academic settings, including Eastern Michigan University & Caldwell University. Dr. Linda LeBlanc and Dr. Tyra Sellers are joined by two professors using this book in their courses as they talk about how they have effectively individualized the contents of the book into their training & teaching.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:00:08):
Welcome everyone, to The Lift. This is Tyra Sellers.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:00:12):
And I'm Linda LaBlanc.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:00:14):
In episode 15, we're going to get some perspectives about supervision and mentorship from some professors. We're going to hear from two fantastic special guests that we have today. We have Dr. Adam Briggs and Dr. Jason Vladescu. I'll introduce Dr. Adam Briggs first. Adam is an assistant professor in the psychology department at Eastern Michigan University. He received his bachelors from Western, masters in applied behavioral analysis and developmental disabilities at Auburn University, and ultimately his PhD in behavioral psychology from the department of applied behavioral science at the University of Kansas. Okay, I have to keep going, there's more. He completed a two year postdoc research fellowship from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Munroe Meyer Institute's Center for Autism, spectrum disorders. He received the Baer, Wolf, and Risley outstanding graduate student award for excellence in teaching, research and service, which is kind of a big deal. Dr. Briggs is a board certified behavior analyst and a licensed behavior analyst in the state of Michigan. He is serving as the 2020/2021 program chair for Mid-American association of behavior analysis and as ad hoc reviewer for several journals. In addition, he is currently on the editorial boards for not just one [Laughing], but the journal of applied behavior analysis and behavior analysis and practice, and has also served as a guest editor for education and treatment of children. That was a mouthful. Welcome, Adam.
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:01:57):
Yeah. Thank you so much and sorry for that lengthy bio. I have to work on trimming that down a little bit, but I do wanna say thank you so much for the invitation to join you on this discussion and thank you to both of you and your co-author, Shahla for creating such an awesome resource. Not only for instructors, like Jason and I, but for supervisees and supervisors alike. I'm confident that the content of this book will prove to be a valuable resource for those training to become the next generation of supervisors, the mentors in our field, which we know is so important. Thank you so much.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:02:27):
Oh, thank you for being here and do not trim it down. I suspect, because you're pretty awesome, it's only gonna get longer and that's totally fine. You earned all of that, so no trimming. Next is Dr. Jason Vladescu, who is a professor in the department of applied behavior analysis at Caldwell University and a clinical supervisor in the Center for Autism and applied behavior analysis. He completed his predoctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at University of Nebraska medical center's Munroe Meyer Institute. He's a board certified behavior analyst and a licensed behavior analyst in New York. He has published a bunch, 60 plus, peer review articles and several book chapters. Jason just finished his term as an associate editor for the journal of applied behavior analysis and is on the editorial board for a whole bunch of other behavior analytic journals. Also, he is the recipient of the APA division 25, B.F. Skinner, new applied researcher award. Also a big deal. Welcome, Jason.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:03:32):
Wow. Thank you for that wonderful introduction, but I'm really honored to be invited and it's such a treat to be joining you fabulous folks here and really looking forward to this conversation.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:03:44):
Yay. Me too and I know Linda is excited as well. Right, Linda?
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:03:48):
Yes. Two of my favorite people. Well, three of my favorite people. Tyra, you're a favorite too and love the opportunity to talk about how we use this kind of resource in doing something like teaching the next generation of grad students that are gonna become BCBAs and maybe even professors. That's really exciting and we thank you for being here and thank you for using the book in your courses.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:04:18):
We typically start with a quote because each chapter in the book has a quote, and this episode isn't based on a chapter. As we were recording the podcast, we just realized we're talking about each chapter, but it might be cool for listeners to hear from people that are actually using the content. We found this quote by Alice Wellington Rollins, and it says, “The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask which he finds it hard to answer.” I think that really embodies a main theme in the book, which is self-reflection, you're not gonna know it all, and the idea isn't to look smart in front of your trainees or supervisees. In fact, it's to continue to be open to showing that you don't know everything, because the critical thing that you're passing on to your folks is how they can come to learn things when they don't know things. I think it would be awesome if we get started hearing a little from you, Adam and Jason, about your supervision story. In other words, how did you get hooked into providing supervision? Maybe you were told to do it, maybe you wanted to do it. What are your values around providing high quality supervision?
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:05:49):
I'll start by saying I've just been so fortunate to benefit from just a variety of really high quality supervision and mentorship experiences. Privileged, pretty much, that have served as just these exemplary models throughout my career thus far and most notably, as you mentioned earlier, I attended the University of Auburn masters program. They had a unique setup where, at the time, it was a one year master's program, but the purpose of it was to be this really intensive training, intensive supervision model. Also, part of being a student within that model, there was an opportunity to get a fellowship. The fellowship would pay for your tuition, give you a stipend in exchange for being hired on the next year as a new minted BCBA. They're reserving you these organizations that would fund that role. The one that I was lucky enough to get selected for was actually coming back to work for Auburn University as a practicum coordinator and supervisor. Not only did I experience this really intensive training supervision experience as a student, but then the year after I was put back in, but on the other side of the model [Laughing], and was put into, for my first two years as a BCBA, this really intensive supervision model. Within that model benefited from having doctors Linda LeBlanc and Jim Carter to function as my mentor advisor, as I was learning the ropes of being an effective supervisor. That was just, again, an incredible experience. One that just lasted with me and helped to really form my values of how I function as a supervisor and how I arranged those conditions. I know we'll get into it a little bit later, but when I was teaching this course or putting this course together, back in I guess it must have been the winter of 2020, I created the syllabus and readings, an area I'm very passionate about, but then I found out your book had come out and I completely scrapped what I came up with and incorporated it because as I was reading it, I was like, "This aligns perfectly with my values and I wonder why." It's because it's written by folks that had trained me how to be a supervisor. It was a really awesome experience that we'll get into a little bit more about how it's really influenced my practices.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:08:23):
Adam, obviously I was there when that happened [Laughing] and we felt lucky to have you take that position and continue supervising the students. I think everyone experiences this, but it's that rapid shift between last week I was being supervised, this week I am supervising others. I think it really was almost that rapid for you and in the part one of that is you remember it. You ought to have empathy for how intense and a little nervous you are, but to not only be a supervisor, but also as a supervisee, so that you can be kind about that. Recognizing I just made those same kinds of mistakes, but I do think when people have that rapid shift and they don't have more senior people around to talk to about that and to talk to about, "You got this. You're gonna know this." Your confidence, I think, can get undermined when you make that rapid shift.
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:09:43):
Absolutely. I really don't know where I would be, because I was gonna get shifted into a position to be a supervisor no matter where I went. I don't know where I would be if I hadn't had those experiences. I can take those experiences that I've had and impart that on my students and say, "Remember now how you feel because you will be in that position or you will be supervising folks in that position." It was also why I value what the BACB actually is doing by requiring if folks functioning as supervisors now actually coordinate and adopt a mentor in those early years. I think that's such a valuable and critical period to gain skills and have a sounding board almost to go to work through some issues that maybe you hadn't experienced as you were a supervisee. We place such an emphasis on coursework's important, practical experience or field work is important, but really those supervision experiences and the relationships you build are so critical in the moment, but then throughout the rest of your career. Putting things in place to ensure that they're high quality and that you are feeling supported throughout, is so important .
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:11:06):
Well said. How about you, Jason? Let's hear about your origin story when it comes to supervision.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:11:14):
Yeah. I'll first start by not answering your question and saying that what I really like about podcasts like this is just listening to Adam's story about how he got involved in supervision and his experiences. I find that really interesting, just on a personal note, and also Adam's quite the wordsmith. He's a tough act to follow as well. Some of the shared experiences, or similar experiences, I've really had some great supervisors in grad school and during predoc and postdoc. I also had some not so great supervision experiences, but I won't focus as much on those at the moment. I certainly think it is important to remember and think about those not so great supervision experiences, because I think they can have a particular influence as well. Always important to keep in mind as a supervisor, but in grad school I had a great mentor. Her name was Sharon Bradley Johnson and tremendous in terms of being a supervisor. Another supervisor I'll mention during my time at Munroe Meyer is Tiffany Kodak. I like to think of them both as talent multipliers in the sense of the impact that they had, just not on me, but every trainee that went through and experienced their supervision. They just made everyone around them better and smarter and made all the services around them better. That's been such a strong source of control on my behavior that I really just try to do the same for the individuals that I supervise. The transition from supervisee to supervisor started to happen while I was a pre-doc. As a postdoc you're thrown right into the fire, because that was over 10 years ago. There were substantially less behavior analysts than there are now today. If you were a behavior analyst 10 or more years ago, you had no choice but to be a supervisor, I think. [Laughing] I get thrown into the fire as a professor and it's been scraping together resources. I really appreciated this book. I think it was tremendous that it's written for behavior analysts and all packaged together very nicely. As soon as that came out, I had already designed a class similar to Adam and I had taught the class at least one or two semesters. The book came out and I was like, "I will find a way to integrate this into my class." [Laughing] And that's what I've done. I know we'll get into it a little bit, but I think students are finding it tremendously valuable, but me as a professional also found it tremendously valuable on numerous levels, not just as a supervisor. Particularly the later chapters, myself and my career as a profession. Great stuff.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:14:37):
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:14:37):
Jason, real quick. You mentioned I'm a wordsmith and I appreciate that compliment, but early in my career, I was not. I'm sure Dr. LeBlanc can attest to that and it was through her and my other mentors, supervision and shaping, I have gained those skills. Again, hearkening back to the value of high quality supervision and training.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:15:01):
Linda, look at you making the world a better place. [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:15:06):
And these guys are making the world a better place for sure.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:15:09):
That's for sure. I just wanna highlight one thing that you said, Jason. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the idea that there is value in being a multiplier, not being a diminisher or being someone who simply makes a carbon copy of yourself. Instead, you wanna make a better version. The best version of that person and I think that's something that we have tried to clearly message in a book. This isn't about a recipe and you do it this way and you make little baby carbon copies of yourself, [Laughing] which means it's more effortful. I really love that you made that point.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:15:51):
I was just going to interject here really quickly. I think that's a lesson that took me a little bit more time to learn. I think earlier in my career, whether intentionally or not, I was trying to make carbon copies of myself and that I finally had the real realization. I'm like, "First of all, the world doesn't need any more of you, Jason." [Laughing] I think one is enough and also that's probably not gonna be a multiplier. In that sense you just try to promote the best and that being someone different than me and better than me would probably be a better goal.
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:16:34):
Tyra, you mentioned it's effortful, but it's more personal and requires you to build a relationship with your supervisee. It requires you to recognize where their strengths are, where their interests are, where their passions are and be able to create the conditions under which for those to flourish. Much like Jason too, I was thinking I gotta create these carbon copies, but it doesn't make sense after you see it a little bit and meet that resistance, and then you start to recognize like, "Oh, I'm here to help them grow in their own way."
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:17:09):
I think part of it can come from the fact, particularly when you're a junior in your career, if you're lucky you've seen one or two versions that you think are good and you're trying to emulate those. You want them to emulate those and you haven't yet had enough examples to see all of the different ways that can be good and can be right and what the core parts of the good and right are that you can try to foster among these variations of different people.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:17:44):
And then get to shape your behavior, right? You are learning so much from each of your trainees, students and supervisees. I wonder, then that leads into what you all think. What are the top one or two? We'll give you three, if you can't just stick to one or two. Jason, you don't like to follow the rules. [Laughing]
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:18:12):
Well, that's the quickest tack I think I've ever seen regarding my behavior. [Laughing]
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:18:18):
What do you all think are the most core, critical, important skills for folks to develop and learn to continue to facilitate for themselves so that they're successful when they are no longer a trainee?
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:18:38):
I think I'll just mention one. First of all, I really appreciated there was a whole chapter or a section of a chapter devoted to it. The independent problem solving I think is so tremendous. As I alluded to before that, we have so many behavior analysts who are recent grads operating in jobs that they may not have a behavioral analytic community. They're often on their own in terms of being able to problem solve and oftentimes, it's like you've been in school and you've had mentors and professors and supervisors available as a source of influencer control on what you're doing. All of a sudden you're thrust into jobs where those kinds of support systems are often not there and being able to then problem solve independently is I think so critical. Particularly if you can apply that and it can occur across numerous environments, will pay tremendous dividends.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:19:52):
Fantastic. How about you, Adam?
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:19:55):
The ones that I came up with actually align really well with what Jason just said. Your professional repertoire is more than just learning how you can in grad school or memorizing the content within Cooper, Heron and Heward, but rather practicing as an independent behavior analyst is a way of thinking or problem solving. Approach each case from this unique perspective based on your understanding that most behavior is a product of its environment. That way of thinking is general and it generalizes across no matter what situation arises or case problem that you have to address. Further than that, your knowledge gained in grad school is cutting edge best practice at that time. Perhaps for a year or two you are in the know, but that science and field continue to advance and the next critical repertoire required is to also be in a mindset that you're a forever student. You're constantly open to learning new techniques and strategies for assessing, teaching, training and this requires skills like continuing to stay in contact with the literature and consuming material, and then being able to translate that material into practice. I think those are the critical repertoires. Those are the ones that generalize across.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:21:10):
I love that.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:21:13):
One more I'll mention... I don't know if it's a specific skill per se... A repertoire of professionalism is so critical as well. A lot of my experiences or what I do as a professor, is so much on knowledge and skills related to behavior analytic content, and less focus on developing professional types of behaviors or soft skills, maybe some folks have called them. I see so much that our graduate students from our program go on to work in a diverse number of environments and the diversity of those environments is expanding. They're going into environments where mostly they're operating with other professionals who have very well defined roles. Behavioral analysts are then the new kid on the block, and being able to be savvy in those types of environments, I think is tremendously important.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:22:18):
Yeah, it gets at interpersonal communication and good audience control when you're speaking. Right?
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:22:27):
One of the other skills in the chapter of the book on interpersonal skills, communication perspective taking is flexibility and compromise.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:22:41):
[Laughing] Is that directed at me, Linda?
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:22:44):
It's directed at all of us [Laughing] at one point or another. That's one that I think helps in so many different contexts, whether it's interdisciplinary teaming, therapeutic relationships with families, getting along with your peers in the workplace when you've come from different backgrounds and programs and have different skill sets. Also when you're in that role of a teacher, flexibility in particular, we have our preferred way to say something. It's the way we think about it. It's words, putting our thought out into the world and then somebody doesn't understand it [Laughing] and you can either be frustrated by that, or you can say, "Okay, what part is it that I need to change a little bit and be flexible about?" Find those synonyms or that different analogy, a different story that I can tell that will help this person understand. Part of that skill pays dividends when you can recognize, "Okay, this is the way I think about it. This is the way I like to talk about it, but maybe other people talk about it this way." Reasonable people can vary in how they talk about the value of the distinction between positive and negative reinforcement or what have you. You can talk about that without having to agree or disagree with it. For me, being a professor and teaching and giving lectures for so long, it helped me to recognize that there are a couple of different sources and all these smart people talk about it differently. It's clearly okay that people can differ on this and that I might know which of those resonate with me best, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the right one. I think when you're new in your career, it can be harder to have the right flexibility and compromise and to feel comfortable with it. If I am flexible and compromise on this, am I gonna do the wrong thing? I better not, right? I get all these functions of behavior, but what if I? [Laughing] It's still new and emerging. What if this compromise is gonna actually worsen something? I think it tends to sometimes make us a little rigid in our career or else we compromise on stuff that we maybe shouldn't have. What have the two of you seen in your years of supervising others?
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:25:54):
Yeah, I'm really glad you brought this up, because this is one of the things that my students and I spend a lot of time talking about, but in the context of building relationships and partnerships with others. Whether you're going into a new clinic to consult or you're being brought onto like an IUP team, but working with others from a kind of interdisciplinary aspect and how important that is to not come in there trying to say, "Here's what we're doing and it's my way or the highway," but you're in there, you're trying to build relationships and how critical that is to be able to then educate or pass on your knowledge and how you think of things. Again, being flexible, but also being able to manage those relationships and compromise in such a way that maintains the relationship and builds the relationship so that you can have an impact and can have an influence on those cases.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:26:53):
Yeah. I'll just add [Laughing] you were speaking Linda, and I connected so well with it. When I first transitioned into being a professor, I had come from a specific background. I was thrown into an environment where I'm working with other professors who are behavioral analysts and I was like, "Holy moly." I was like, "What the heck are they talking about and what the heck are they doing?" This is not the way that I learned things. I had to learn those, I had to really adapt. I think that was a very helpful experience to feel for myself. What it was like to be in that kind of position and develop and push myself to become more flexible. Problem solves how to compromise with folks that I have a great deal of respect for and try to then impart those similar types of perspectives on my supervisees and trainees. This idea being that I think oftentimes it's like they want one path or one way to go, but trying to emphasize the value and variability as well. Variability allows us a lot of different things to select from.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:28:15):
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:28:15):
[Laughing] That's very powerful.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:28:23):
It's really interesting to listen to all three of you talk about this because my trajectory to become a professor was quite different than I think a lot of folks. Certainly a lot of folks my age. I didn't go straight through bachelors, masters, PhD program. I didn't do a pre-doc or a postdoc. I didn't learn the way. I didn't get indoctrinated and instead I had a very applied clinical experience. When I got into academia, I was never the kind of person that was in a camp. I was always wandering among all of the camps. I didn't even realize there were camps until I was challenged from time to time, in terms of "so and so says this" or this article calls it that, or doctor whomever in this presentation said you have to do it this way. I was a little bit shook because that didn't feel very behavior analytic to me because that's not very functional. Obviously there's a baseline level of right and wrong in terms of adhering to basic scientific principles. I had the opposite and I had to learn how to navigate that and tack when people maybe were being inflexible. Not because they thought they were the smartest, but because that's what they learned. How could I talk to them about some other ways? It's just interesting to hear that take on it because my experience was the opposite.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:30:06):
One of the things I've said several times since I started publishing a good bit, and there are people who think there's a model of how you do it and it's named after them, or some kind of packaged intervention or treatment or approach. Even if it's just slang, people call it by that person's last name. I can remember saying, "I hope nobody is out there saying 'the LeBlanc way," because I'm not even sure what that is. [Laughing] Other than get busy solving some problems and figuring it out and collecting some data. I do think that when you are new, you haven't yet seen as many exemplars that would allow you to derive what the core things are that make this a way. I think it brings us to the fact that there are lots of different ways that you could use this book in graduate training or your experiential courses, practicum. We wrote the book so that it potentially could be used in lots of ways for more junior, brand new BCBAs, as well as for more senior people. It's just that different sections of the book are probably gonna resonate and feel most useful at different parts in your career. We tried to write it so that a person could come back three years later, read this thing again, and you might get something slightly different from those reflection exercises. Would you each be willing to talk a little bit about the context in which you use the book? Which course, how it fits into that, and then I'll chime in with a course that I've been creating, but I'll go last. Who'd like to tell us a little bit about what you're doing?
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:32:18):
Yeah. As I mentioned, I scrapped things and this was the first text that I felt really did a nice job of just laying things out. I felt what better way to just start off the course with this book? We take about eight weeks to work through the book and its entirety, and we supplement it with some other readings here and there. The way that the students interact with the book is after they read what the assigned reading is for that week, a chapter or two. They submit a reaction to that, and then also a discussion question or two. That allows me to see, "Are they consuming the content? Understanding the content?" I can help shape their behavior on the back end. It also lets me know they're reading it, they're adults, they can understand it, but then semi-discussion questions about something that is a gray area or something that you think is maybe not addressed, that we can all discuss. I essentially use all those discussion questions. I combine them and then organize them to help guide the discussion in class and that's essentially what the classes are about. I used a lot of the activities that you all programmed in at the end of each chapter to start the class off with. Either small group activities, get the rails greased a little bit in terms of getting some conversation, some discussion going. Have them start in small groups before they come to the large group. Usually it was those reflection activities I found so helpful. I love that theme throughout, and I think it's not just a theme that we should embrace throughout the book, but a theme that we should embrace throughout our career. I like that it helps the students start to think that way of recognizing what experiences they've had previously were effective and they want to keep replicating and then those experiences that were not effective or were potentially aversive. How to learn from that, but then how to break that cycle and how to do something new and different or productive or effective. I was listening to some of the callbacks to some of the previous Lift episodes. I think Tyra used the zombies and unicorn analogy in terms of identifying practices that don't work and we want to put an end to. What's that shiny beacon or what do we want to continue to do and pass along? I think it fits with that and then after we come back and do those group activities, then we segway right into working through the discussion questions. I quite literally used the book from start to finish. I actually brought data to the episode. [Laughing] It recruited student feedback on their experiences and specific questions about outcome data and whether they feel more prepared before or after. Those sorts of things. Using a likert scale from one to five, and then specifically about feedback on activities and whether they'll return to the book for guidance.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:35:34):
Adam, you just make my heart sing. You brought data! [Laughing] I love it. All right. Hit us with some data.
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:35:43):
Again, I've got about 14 students in the class and about a third responded. I think that's typical with survey research, I guess. A five point likert scale, asking them whether they felt more prepared to make the most of their supervision experiences. From the supervisee perspective, on a scale from one to five, they reported 4.4 after reading the book. After feeling more prepared to be an effective supervisor, the average score was 4.2. We can come back to that because that's one of our lower scores and I have some suspicions as to why, and then I would likely return to this book for guidance: 4.2. I would likely recommend this book: 4.8, so really high. This one, I thought was interesting... There's more variance here. I found within text and chapter reflection exercises to be helpful: 3.6. The lowest was at two, but even we had some folks, same fours and fives. Looking at their anecdotal feedback, it seemed the lowest scores with respect to feeling prepared to be an effective supervisor, are related to the activities. I think they wanted more hands-on practices or things that they could take and put into practice. I think some of the exercises get at that and I have more anecdotal feedback that I can share with you afterwards. I think that they were looking for more hands on things or more things that they could literally just plug and chug into their practices. Overall, really high scores. The students loved the textbook so much. I think what they really appreciated about it was just themes that run through honesty, and transparency, and compassion. I think there's a specific comment that this isn't how courses or how content is typically taught, for the most part, in their coursework. Approaching supervision and mentoring from this perspective, they found it really encouraging and really helpful. As the data show too, they're highly likely to recommend this textbook for the folks pursuing supervision, or training to become a supervisor.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:38:04):
Well, thank you for sharing that and thank you to your students for slogging through the material and giving feedback. I wanna speak quickly to the desire for more grab and go tools or pieces. We specifically didn't write the book that way. It's not meant to be a curriculum for you to run with your trainees. It's meant to be something you have to wrestle with and that you would identify certain things that you're good at and other things that maybe you need to work on a little bit more. I appreciate that feedback and maybe what that should result in is a disclaimer in the book. What this is not, is a set of things that you can turn around tomorrow and just do with your trainees. That's not the purpose of this. There are curricula out there, there are books that meet that kind of need, this is more higher order. What are the things that are getting missed? I love that they picked up on that and that's what they want. It's probably not what they need though [Laughing], but not that there isn't value in that. Do you wanna have at your fingertips when you're a clinician, a whole bunch of pre-written acquisition programs for clients or do you wanna know how to create those things? That's what we were trying to give. I love that that's where they landed.
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:39:40):
Yeah. I align with the way that you all designed the book and intended for its use. I actually look at this feedback more as maybe a fault where I failed to even translate that to them. This isn't stuff to take and run with necessarily, but it's the process. That was good feedback for me to make sure that I'm, again, providing that disclaimer, whether you all choose to do it in your textbook or not. It's a good reminder for me to make sure that they know how to take these things and use them, or how to develop them on their own.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:40:13):
Agreed. I think that's the nature of being new to it. You just want some things to be easy, please. [Laughing] I don't think that this, hopefully it's an easy read, but it's not an easy book in terms of here's the exact way you should do it, particularly in the culture chapter. It's really about, "Here are ways to think about it." Here are things to look for, but you gotta explore your own thoughts and biases, and there's no handy dandy checklist that you can get your number, and then you do these five things and your number will get better.
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:40:54):
What you're saying is that this isn't the LeBlanc, Sellers and Ala'i way?
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:40:59):
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:40:59):
That's right. That's exactly right. [Laughing] How about you, Jason? How are you using it? What kind of course is it?
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:41:10):
Yeah, sure. First of all, I'll comment again, hard to follow Adam. He brought data. [Laughing] I brought some qualitative information from my students.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:41:21):
Yes. There's value.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:41:23):
[Laughing] As Adam alluded to earlier, the BACB's requirement is now moving towards staff management and supervision requirements in the task list. In response to that, we developed an OBM course in our program. I was tasked with developing the first generation of that course and it really focuses heavily on training and management of human service staff, the perspective I'm able to bring to that course. Once this book, as I alluded to earlier, came out, it was a natural fit for that class. That's the class I've incorporated the book into. I'd be curious to hear from Adam, the specific types of students that are in his class. In the class I teach, I got a pretty good range of students that are taking the class. It's now a required course in our master's program. I have some students in that class who are really just beginning their behavior analytic journey. They're really either new to the field or have relatively little experience in the field, in terms of even content, even as a clinician in any sense. We also have a PhD program and I have several PhD students in the program who are taking this as an elective and some of those students have been behavior analysts for a very long time. [Laughing] What's nice about that is I get a whole bunch of different experiences and perspectives. Much like Adam, we go through the whole book in five different weeks of the class. I've tried to connect the content of the book with related content in class. For example, we read the chapter on culture to compliment other OBM specific types of reading relevant to cultural responsiveness. We read the chapter on competency based approaches to supervision when we're talking about competency based approaches to training. I've tried to find very natural fits and they do some portion of the activities that are structured into the book. I really appreciated it too, recently you released PDF fillable versions of those activities, which is wonderful because they were doing things like just typing their answers. I was like, "Yes, yes, no, no, no, yes, yes." I was like, "I have no idea what this is in relation to." I really did appreciate that, on a side note. I maybe could have surveyed them, but it was a good prompt being invited to this, to really solicit some feedback from the students about what they're liking about the book and overall really like the book. I think the general consensus was that the pros and tone are great. The personal tone of how the book is written was really appreciated by students, how the topics are framed and how conversations are framed in the book. Students were really able to connect with that. I think their general comment is this is a really important topic that this book tried to make, not that it's not gonna be less effortful, but at least it was made into a more approachable topic and that was appreciated. I think what I found interesting too was different students differed based on what they connected more with. For example, the students who are pretty new to the field and the mentorship tree activity. They didn't really seem to connect with that as much as students who have been around awhile. That was just one example, but I think Linda, you alluded to this earlier, right? Different people, when you're at different parts of your career, you're gonna probably connect more with some of this content in different ways. I think I've gotten that message from my students and also for me, that incorporating this into a class, really allowed me to consume the book, and I connected in different ways with that material. That's how I've been using the book and it's great. One thing that I really appreciated that is built into this, is the discussion of communities of practice. I find that message so important. I have yet to find a way though, I don't know if students fully get it yet. Particularly the ones that are new. They've never known anything about that. They've never operated out on an island where there are no other behavior analysts [Laughing] you can't even talk to, consult with. You have to think about that when you're moving on from grad school and if you're not moving into a position where there is a behavior analyst in the community of practice. How are you going to develop one? That's a message that I've been thinking about for a long time as a professor, and I'm glad that was in the book, and I'm still trying to find ways to communicate the importance of that to trainees and students.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:47:24):
Jason, one of the things I tried to do at JABA with all of the AEs was to bring that idea of we are each other's community of practice. It's just editorial decisions that we're dealing with and editorial work, and we can reach out to each other. We can say, "I'm really on the fence about this, and here's what I'm thinking." That's okay to do, and that's what you should do, and that the job's gonna feel easier and more enjoyable if you do take advantage of that community of practice. You're right. When you are in grad school, you're just surrounded by it, you're immersed in it. Here's what I've been doing with the book and thank you for sharing and please share any specific feedback that you have. I'd love to even see those discussion questions, because that could help us in version two. Even though we're not gonna make anything plug and chug.[Laughing] I actually have been building a series of six, one credit courses for the Florida Tech online new masters program. There's always been a course sequence, but launching a full master's program, one of the core additions is this series of six one unit courses. The courses are experiential, so this is basically intended to be like the practicum class that we taught at Auburn, where you're going out there, you're in your practicum, you have your individual supervisor, but once a week, you're in class with a professor who's giving you the scoop and teaching you those really practical applied skills, working on the competencies, working on actually try this and actually do that. What I've done is built a series of courses based on what the book is saying a supervisor should do and focus on and teach. They sometimes read a few chapters while I'm teaching. For example, the first course is on making the most of supervision. They learn about why agendas are important and they learn about what their supervisor's role and intention is and what their role and intention is, and how to ask important and meaningful questions that they've thought through before they get to supervision and how organization and time management... Basically how to be careful in everything you do, so you get the most out of your learning opportunity and I actually don't know that they read any of the chapters in the book in there, but that's clearly something that shows up in chapters one, two and eight. The second course actually is on using a structured problem solving and decision making approach. Applying that to how you look at graphs, how you choose interventions, how you choose what you measure, how you choose which targets you're going to take right now. Of course they read the problem solving chapter, but they read that one chapter and they read a bunch of other things, but the idea gets blended through. The third one is on relationships. They read chapter eight, but it's a whole course on the kinds of things that you need to be exploring with that. The fourth course is on creating effective programs. They actually reread some of the stuff on self monitoring, self-management. You have to learn how to do this and you have to be able to do it in a reasonable timeframe and make sure you're monitoring your quality. The fifth course is on transitioning to practice and supervising others. That's where they get the majority of the chapter. Some of which they're rereading now from the perspective of, "I'm about to be the supervisor." They may have read the problem solving chapter in course two, when it was, "Okay, you better do some problem solving. Let's talk about that." Now it's a year later, you're gonna need to teach someone else how to do problem solving. The last course is really where they get the, "You're gonna be a supervisor," and now it's like flipping the script. Hopefully that helped you as you were trying to figure out why maybe you're not as organized as you could be and how you're gonna do that better. Now you have to teach that same thing. All of these courses, I've been trying to show you how to do it. Now, take the book and go do it. It's not quite as linear, right? They don't experience the book, start to finish until the end, they get pieces and parts and then many other resources. I'm still building all the classes, so I don't yet have any feedback to give you, but I'll bring it back when I do. These are really three different approaches to using the book, particularly in a supervision course, in an OBM course, and then in an experiential and practicum course. One of the other things that Tyra and I have been doing is we do a lot of workshops and public speaking based on the book with people who have been out for five or ten years. I think the experience is almost even more powerful for them because they're in a different place to be able to reflect and more things to reflect on. One of the things that they're really experiencing is that notion that sometimes you've gotta reflect on the fact that you didn't do things as well as you might have hoped, and you can still learn something from that. You almost have to make a choice about whether you are gonna beat yourself up for past mistakes and try to eliminate them from your history or whether you're gonna explore those suckers and make 'em a strong part of your history that actually improves you. That's my part of it. [Laughing]
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:55:00):
Yeah. I didn't know if I was gonna say this or not, because I know the topic of this is about how we're using this as instructors and in our course. What you were just saying, Linda, really resonates with me because personally when I work through this book... I have taught it once, last fall, and then I'm in the process of using it or we just finished it, but teaching the class now. It resonated with me on just such a different level, personally. Again, I gotta do the math, but close to 15 years of being a supervisor or maybe 10 years now... I actually had to do math this morning to figure out how old I was. I just had a birthday and I literally didn't know. It maybe says about my math, how good that is. All this experience and I'm still learning something through this and we're all aware of the concept of technological drift. Just because we're aware of it, doesn't make us immune to this reality either. Exploring this text last year and then revisiting it again this year has really served to reinforce some of my current practices. Like I said, but also tighten up others and grow in other areas too. The whole section on impact of culture on supervisory relationships, something that I never had readings of or discussions of in grad school until very recently. You all really do a wonderful job tackling this and providing really good points to start conversation and discussion within a class. I scheduled this to go over for a week of our class, but our conversation was so rich and so deep and thoughtful. We actually didn't get to half the questions and I wanted to make sure we provided enough time that we spent two weeks on this topic in class. For next year when I go to revise my syllabus, knowing that I'm gonna expand the time that we spent on this, because it really resonated with the students. I know it really resonated with me. That was personally how this book has impacted me.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:57:12):
I was just gonna say we learned a ton when we were writing it. [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:57:17):
Absolutely and the quote of the episode is, "Just because you're aware of it, doesn't make you immune to it." Absolutely right.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:57:26):
I don't teach a course, but I do manage people and I manage people that manage and supervise and train other people. I use content in that framework and context, either directly or indirectly. It's been really helpful and interesting because some of the folks that I'm using it with are not behavior analysts. Guess what, y'all? It still works. [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:57:50):
Absolutely. The universality of the principles, right? That doesn't mean we're all gonna be great at applying them in all situations, but those suckers still work [Laughing] across a broad range of circumstances. Thank you so much, both of you for using the book, for providing feedback. We very much appreciate that. We wrote this book because we felt like there was a need for something a little different that didn't exist and we wanna keep it timely and valuable for folks. Mostly, thanks for joining us. It's a pleasure to spend time with you both and I've been lucky enough to work with, or mentor each of you in different circumstances. I'm the lucky one and now you're giving back to me by being on this podcast and sharing your feedback. I'm just super grateful.
Dr. Jason Vladescu (00:58:59):
Yeah. This has been a blast. I can't believe how quickly this went by. [Laughing] I feel like we could keep at this for a few more hours, but it was really an honor to be invited and always, I just really enjoyed listening more than speaking during this experience. Thank you all for the invitation. Adam, it's always a pleasure. Really looking forward to hopefully seeing a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh edition of this book. I can't wait to see where it goes and I know I'll be looking forward to it and I'm not lying. I have it right next to me at all times. [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:59:41):
Your academic wooby. [Laughing] Well, thanks to both of you, thanks to everyone for joining us on this episode of The Lift. Adam?
Dr. Adam Briggs (00:59:50):
Yeah, and real quick if I can say something. I always tell my students I do what I do now because of those who've invested their time and energy into me. I channel that into my supervision and mentorship with them. It's very rare that you get a chance to actually pay back. I'm typically paying it forward. I'm grateful for this opportunity and it's a pleasure to work with all of you and have this conversation. I agree with Jason a hundred percent, I could easily have spent another couple hours on this. It's just such a great topic and you all provide such a wonderful resource for us to discuss and to talk about the ins and outs and looking forward to seeing revisions and seeing how it continues to grow.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (01:00:34):
Pass along those ideas for what needs to be added or revised. We love to get that feedback and thank you both so much for your time today.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (01:00:44):
Thanks everyone for joining us on The Lift.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (01:00:47):
Leave a reply