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Faculty & Staff

Faculty and Staff

Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, Ph.D

Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1995, under the mentorship of two pioneers in the field of behavior analysis, Donald M. Baer and Ogden R. Lindsley. Jesús is one of the few scientists in the world studying animal training from both the theoretical and applied perspectives. He, along with his students, has greatly contributed to the understanding of the science and practice of animal training. Jesús also studies the antecedent control of behavior, generalization, behavioral cusps, fluency-based teaching, treatment of autism, teaching of academic behavior, rule-governed behavior and contingency-shaped behavior. He has served on several editorial boards, including the Journal of Precision Teaching, the European Journal of Behavior Analysis, and the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy. He has also served as a reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, the Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Behavioral Processes, and PLOS ONE. Jesús is a fellow of the Eastern Psychological Association, a trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International.


Selected Publications:

Integrating Teaching and Interdisciplinary Scholarship to Enhance Student Learning Outcomes
Rosales-Ruiz, J., & Baer D. M. (1997). Behavioral cusps: A developmental
and pragmatic concept for behavior analysis. Journal of
Applied Behavior Analysis,30, 533-544.

Rosales-Ruiz, J. (2007 May-Jul). Teaching dogs the clicker way. Teaching Dogs Magazine, 5(3), 30-35.

Weiss, S., & Rosales-Ruiz, J. (2014). Operant/ Classical Conditioning: Comparisons, intersections and interactions. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 27(4), 515-525

Traci Cihon, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Dr. Cihon received her MA in Psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis from the University of Nevada-Reno and completed her PhD in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis at The Ohio State University. Dr. Cihon is currently an Associate Professor of Behavior Analysis at The University of North Texas (UNT). At UNT she teaches graduate classes in Verbal Behavior; Introduction to Behavior Principles; Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in Behavior Analysis; and coordinates the Teaching Science Laboratory that is responsible for the delivery of instruction for undergraduate Introduction to Behavior Analysis courses. 
Dr. Cihon is a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D). She has worked internationally in several clinical and academic settings including public and private sectors in both school and home settings with a variety of individuals with and without disabilities. Much of Dr. Cihon’s clinical experience has focused on developing comprehensive treatment programs for children with autism that incorporate components of Direct Instruction (DI), Precision Teaching (PT), Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (VB), Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Natural Environment Training (NET), Natural Language Paradigm (NLP), and other subsets of Applied Behavior Analysis and for children who are at-risk for school failure. More recently, Dr. Cihon has led several classroom-, clinical-, and research-based initiatives that explore the ideations of global citizenship, internationalization of the curriculum and institution, and study abroad in the context of interdisciplinary learning communities. Her current research interests include behavior analysis and education, behavior and social issues, and verbal behavior. Dr. Cihon is the past chair of the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group (SIG) for the Association for Behavior Analysis-International and is the current chair for the TxABA Behaviorists for Social Responsibility SIG. She serves on the editorial boards for several major disciplinary and non-disciplinary peer-reviewed journals such as The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, the American Annals of the Deaf, and Behavior and Social Issues
Selected Publications:
Integrating Teaching and Interdisciplinary Scholarship to Enhance Student Learning Outcomes
Cihon,T. M., & Stephens, C. J. (2011). Integrating teaching and interdisciplinary scholarship to enhance student learning outcomes. Journal of the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri, 41,65-82.
Cihon, T. M. (2007). A review of training intraverbal repertoires: Can precision teaching help? The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 23,123-133.
Cihon, T. M., Morford, Z., Stephens, C. J., Morrison, D., Shrontz, R., & Kelly, K. L. (2013). The effects of large - group instruction, modeling, or See The Sound/Visual Phonics on undergraduate students learning to read Italian.Teaching Reading in a Foreign Language (Special Issue) 25(1), 26-51.

Karen Toussaint, Ph.D., BCBA-D



Dr. Karen Toussaint is an Assistant Professor.  Dr. Toussaint received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Louisiana State University and completed a postdoctoral research appointment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute.  Her main research areas include examinations of early language acquisition and the treatment of severe behavior disorder. Current research projects examine efficient training methods to train novice behavior therapists, variables the influence the acquisition of auditory-visual discriminations for individuals with autism, and teaching strategies that produce generative language in young children. Dr. Toussaint conducts her research at a local preschool and at the University of North Texas Kristin Farmer Autism Center.

Selected Publications:
Integrating Teaching and Interdisciplinary Scholarship to Enhance Student Learning Outcomes
Kodak, T., Clements, A., Paden, A., Leblanc, B., Mintz, J., & Toussaint, K.(2015). Examining the Relation between an assessment of skills and performance on auditory-visual conditional discriminations for children with autism, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,52-70.
A Parent - Oriented Approach to Rapid Toilet Training
 An Evaluation of Choices on Instructional Efficacy & Individual Preferences Among Children with Autism

Rick Smith, Ph.D., BCBA-D                                                                                                        

Richard Smith received his Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of Florida. After receiving his doctoral degree, Rick joined the faculty at the University of North Texas, where he served as Chair of the Department of Behavior Analysis (1999-2015). His primary research interest is in the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders in persons with intellectual disabilities with specific areas of focus in motivational variables, advances in functional analysis procedures and the use of complex research designs to investigate basic principles underlying the effects of behavioral interventions. His research has resulted in numerous presentations and publications and he recently completed a term as Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. In 1997, Dr. Smith received the American Psychological Association’s (Division 25) B.F. Skinner Award for Innovative and Important Research by a New Researcher, in 2000 he received the Texas Association on Mental Retardation’s Research Award, and in 2007 he received the Hiram J. Friedsam award for outstanding faculty service from the University of North Texas College of Public Affairs and Community Service.

Selected Publications:

Integrating Teaching and Interdisciplinary Scholarship to Enhance Student Learning Outcomes

Identification of Environmental Determinants of Behavior Disorders Through Functional Analysis of Related Behaviors

Multiple-Respondent Anecdotal Assessments: An Analysis of Interrater Agreement & Correspondence With Analogue Assessment Outcomes

Identification of Environmental Determinants of Behavior Disorders Through Functional Analysis of Precursor Behaviors

Shahla Ala'i-Rosales, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Shahla Alai-Rosales received her B.S. from Southern Illinois University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, where she was mentored by Drs. Barbra Etzel, James Sherman, Jan Sheldon and Don Bushell. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas, where she integrates service, training and research projects in cooperation with several local and global partners. She is also the director of BAO, a program dedicated to high quality distance education to increasing global access to behavior analysis education across the globe. Shahla teaches classes on applied behavior analysis and autism, ethics, early intervention, parent training, applied research methods, and behavior change techniques. She served on the governing board of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). She has served as a subject matter expert for several organizations in the areas of ethics, training, and supervision. She received the Onassis Foundation Fellowship Award for her work with families, UNT’s “Fessor Grahm” award for her teaching, and was named one of Texas’ top 25 women educators. She is currently the Co-PI on a grant from Easter Seals and the state of Texas to develop and evaluate systems and training for underserved populations with autism.



Selected Publications:

Integrating Teaching and Interdisciplinary Scholarship to Enhance Student Learning Outcomes

Three Important Things to Consider When Starting Intervention for a Child Diagnosed With Autism

Teaching Social Skills to People with Autism

Applied Behavior Analysis is a Science and, Therefore,Progressive



Manish Vaidya, Ph.D.


Manish Vaidya earned his bachelor and master’s degrees at the University of North Texas and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida. Following a brief postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Kansas, he returned to the University of North Texas where he is now an associate professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. Manish has been interested in issues related to stimulus control since nearly the beginning of his graduate training. His current research interests involve attending, short-term remembering and the development and maintenance of equivalence relations in pigeons and people.

Selected Publications:

Integrating Teaching and Interdisciplinary Scholarship to Enhance Student Learning Outcomes

Conditional Discriminations, Symmetry, & Semantic Priming

The Challenges of Integrating Behavioral and Neural Data: Bridging and Breaking Boundaries Across Levels of Analysis

Interactions Between Equivalence Relations and the Development of Analytic Units


Daniele Ortu, Ph.D.                                                                                                        

Daniele Ortu received his M.A. from AILUN in Nuoro (Italy) and his Ph.D. from the University of Stirling (United Kingdom). He is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas, where he teaches Behavioral Neuroscience. His primary interests are real time measures of brain activity, specifically Electroencephalography and Event Related Potentials and how they relate to a Skinnerian perspective. Conceptually, Daniele is involved in understanding how brain responses can help providing some missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to comprehending complex human behavior. From an applied perspective, Daniele is interested in training procedures to help paralyzed patients gain operant control of their brain responses to move external devices and facilitate their overall independence. Daniele is an Associate Editor for the Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and serves in the editorial board of the Journal Behavior and Philosophy. 
Selected Publications:
Experience-Dependent Changes in Human Brain Activation
Neuroscientific Measures of Covert Behavior
The Challenges of Integrating Behavioral and Neural Data: Bridging and Breaking Boundaries Across Levels of Analysis


April Becker, Ph.D.                                                                                                       

April Becker received her B.S. from Colorado State University, where she studied behavioral ecology and songbird vocalizations under Dr. Myron Baker. After working in various zoos and aquariums as an animal trainer, presenter, and caretaker, she came to Texas to earn her M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas working with Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Dr. Sigrid Glenn studying motivation, creativity and cultural contingencies. Dr. Becker earned her PhD from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center where her work with Dr. Mark Goldberg focused on behavioral recovery from brain injury and the use of plasticity-modulating pathways to augment rehabilitation. Dr. Becker's research and interests have two aims: to better understand the basic mechanisms of learning and recovery from brain injury and to develop better clinical approaches to rehabilitation. 
Selected Publications:
Becker, A. M., Meyers, E., Sloan, A., Rennaker, R., Kilgard, M., & Goldberg, M. P. (2016). An automated task for the training and assessment of distal forelimb function in a mouse model of ischemic stroke. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 258, 16-23. 
Ortu, D. Becker, A., Woelz, T.A.R. & Glenn, S. S. (2012). An Iterated Four-Player Prisoner's Dilemma Game with an External Selecting Agent: A Metacontingency Experiment. Latin American Journal of Psychology, 44:1, 111-120. 
Baker, M. C. and Becker, A. M. (2002). Mobbing calls of black-capped chickadees: effects of urgency on call production. Wilson Bulletin, 114, 510-516. 


Sandy Magee, M.S., BCBA

Sandy earned her B.S in Aviation at Northwestern State University where she became a licensed pilot and certificated flight instructor. Sandy taught people to fly airplanes for over 10 years when her love of teaching led her back to school -at UNT. While completing her M.S. in behavior analysis, Sandy served as Senior Trainer for BATSS, under the guidance of Dr. Janet Ellis. Sandy has worked as in-home therapist, consultant for school districts, and has taught classes on campus for nearly 20 years. In 2001, Sandy received UNT’s Outstanding Alumna/Alumnus Service Award and the Faculty Excellence Leadership in Diversity Award in 2013. In 2009 she joined BAO as an instructor, assisting in instructional design, using ABA to teach ABA. Sandy leads a team of student researchers investigating the relationships between measures of brain activation and operant responding with an emphasis on approach-avoidance conflict. With 16 peer-reviewed journal publications and over 50 professional presentations, Sandy still says what she enjoys most is learning and helping others to learn.





Joshua Jessel, Ph.D., BCBA-D


Joshua earned his PhD as a doctoral fellow at Western New England University where he conducted research with Dr. Gregory Hanley on the assessment and treatment of problem behavior of children diagnosed with autism.

“This research closely informs my clinical work at the Behavior Disorders Clinic in the Child Study Center where I oversee the treatment of nearly 100 patients with autism per year. My research focuses on (a) creating a safe and efficient assessment of problem behavior and (b) developing effective and socially validated behavioral interventions.”      






Bryan S Lovelace, M.S., BCBA  

Bryan is a certified behavior analyst who received his B.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis and an M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. He is the owner and operator of Texas Behavior Services LLC in Denton, Texas; a company that delivers high quality behavior supports to individuals with intellectual and other related disabilities. In addition, Bryan serves as the Clinical Director of Intensive Services at Lakes Regional Community Centers where he provides direct clinical oversight of multiple programs that serve poor and undeserved populations in the Northeast Texas region. These programs include a day-treatment and outreach program in Rockwall, Texas that provides intensive behavior supports to children and adults, and two Crisis, Respite, Wrap teams located in Terrell and Corsicana, Texas that offer a spectrum of services designed to reduce emergency room visits, interactions with law enforcement, and to prevent institutionalization of high risk individuals. Bryan is a proud member of the Skeptic's society and has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis since 2009 where he teaches undergraduate students how to think critically and practice skepticism.     





Mary Hunter, M.S.


Mary Hunter earned a master of science in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in 2013. She provides dog training services in the north Texas area through her company, DogTrainingology, and teaches as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Texas in the department of behavior analysis. Mary also serves as the president of The Art and Science of Animal Training, a non-profit organization that provides educational programs for pet owners and animal training professionals. In her free time, Mary trains service dogs for a local organization and blogs about animal training on her blog, StaleCheerios.com. 








Meranda O'Gorman, M.S.  


Meranda O’Gorman received her B.A. from the University of Kansas and M.S. from the University of North Texas. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas, where she teaches a data collection and analysis course as well as a survey of applied behavior analysis literature course. She joined Behavior Analysis Online in 2014 as the TA for the Techniques in ABA and Staff Performance courses in addition to helping with the Autism and Ethics courses. Meranda also completed an internship with BAO last summer.      








Ruthie Cross

Ruthie Cross is the heart of our department. She has worked at UNT for 19 years  and came to the Department of Behavior Analysis Fall 2008.  In Ruthie’s words:

"I love this place.  I do everything except teach.  A few of my duties are payroll, purchasing, set up the classes, textbook coordinator, keep track of the budgets, track and submit course fees, coordinate department events, over see our mail service for the department, department representative for UNT State Employee Charitable Campaign, keeping of inventory records, and of course the best part the Department Mom.   I have been married for 38 years to the same sweet guy, my love and best friend Randy. Randy retired from UNT after 30 years of service in 2009. He drives for SPAN now.  We do bleed GREEN for sure! My husband and I attend Towne North Baptist Church in my home town of Denton, Texas.   Randy is a deacon and co-teacher for the men’s Sunday school class.  I teach 3rd to 6th grade children.  Saved to serve is our moto. We had one child, a daughter, Sara, married Jeff 13 years ago, a wonderful young man and our son-in-love. They had one child, a daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzy) and she is 11. She is the treasure of our lives. !  My door is always open so come on by.".