Faculty & Staff

Manish Vaidya, Ph.D. Department Chair

Manish Vaidya is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Behavior Analysis. He earned his bachelor and master’s degrees at the University of North Texas and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Kansas, he returned to the University of North Texas. Dr. Vaidya has been interested in issues related to stimulus control since nearly the beginning of his graduate training. His current research interests involve behavioral health and medicine, technology-infused contingency management, health technologies, and generative learning.
 
 

Selected Publications:

Vaidya, M., Hudgins, C. D., & Ortu, D. (2015). Conditional discriminations, symmetry, and semantic priming. Behavioural Processes, 118, 90-97. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.05.012

Ortu, D., & Vaidya, M. (2016). The Challenges of Integrating Behavioral and Neural Data: Bridging and Breaking Boundaries Across Levels of Analysis. The Behavior Analyst, 40(1), 209-224. doi:10.1007/s40614-016-0074-5

Vaidya, M., & Brackney, R. J. (2014). Interactions Between Equivalence Relations and the Development of Analytic Units. The Psychological Record, 64(4), 681-691. doi:10.1007/s40732-014-0077-0

 

Rick Smith, Ph.D., BCBA-D                              

Richard Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. He received his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Florida. After receiving his doctoral degree, Dr. Smith joined the faculty at the University of North Texas, where he served as Chair of the Department of Behavior Analysis from 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:

Smith, R. G., & Churchill, R. M. (2002). Identification of environmental determinants of behavior disorders through functional analysis of precursor behaviors. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35(2), 125-136. doi:10.1901/jaba.2002.35-125

Smith, C. M., Smith, R. G., Dracobly, J. D., & Pace, A. P. (2012). MULTIPLE-RESPONDENT ANECDOTAL ASSESSMENTS: AN ANALYSIS OF INTERRATER AGREEMENT AND CORRESPONDENCE WITH ANALOGUE ASSESSMENT OUTCOMES. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45(4), 779–795. http://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2012.45-779

Smith, R. G., & Churchill, R. M. (2002). Identification of environmental determinants of behavior disorders through functional analysis of precursor behaviors. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35(2), 125–136. http://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2002.35-125

 

Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, Ph.D

 

Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. 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. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz 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. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz 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:

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

 

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

Shahla A'lai-Rosales is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. She 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. As a professor at the University of North Texas, she integrates service, training, and research projects in cooperation with several local and global partners. Dr. A'lai-Rosales 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 numerous prestigious awards, including the Onassis Foundation Fellowship Award for her work with families, UNT’s “Fessor Grahm” award for excellence in teaching, and she 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

Ala’i-Rosales, S., & Zeug, N. (2010). Three Important Things to Consider When Starting Intervention for a Child Diagnosed With Autism. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 3(2), 54–55. http://doi.org/10.1007/BF03391766

Bondy, A., & Weiss, M. J. (2013). Teaching social skills to people with autism: Best practices in individualizing interventions. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.

Leaf, J.B., Leaf, R., McEachin, J. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2016) 46: 720. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2591-6 Applied Behavior Analysis is a Science and, Therefore, Progressive.

 

Traci Cihon, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Traci Cihon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Beahvior Analysis. 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. At UNT she teaches Verbal Behavior, Introduction to Behavior Principles, Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in Behavior Analysis, and she 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:

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

 

 

 Karen Toussaint is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. Dr. Toussaint received her Ph.D. in School Psychology with a concentration in behavior analysis from Louisiana State University. She completed a LEND postdoctoral research appointment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute.  Dr. Toussaint teaches courses in the behavior analysis progam including Behavior Analysis and Autism, Functional Analysis, and Conceptual/Methodological Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis. In addition,Dr. Toussaint conducts research at the University of North Texas Kristin Farmer Autism Center, and her current research projects examine efficient training methods to train novice behavior therapists, teaching strategies that produce generative learning, and refinements to behavioral interventions for behavior disorders.  Her work has been published in several prominent journals including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice. She currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Selected Publications:

DOAN, Dai; TOUSSAINT, Karen A.. A parent-oriented approach to rapid toilet training. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 2, p. 473-486, aug. 2017. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <https://iejee.com/index.php/IEJEE/article/view/170>. Date accessed: 06 sep. 2018.

 

 Toussaint, K. A., Kodak, T., & Vladescu, J. C. (2015). An evaluation of choice on instructional efficacy and individual preferences among children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49(1), 170-175. doi:10.1002/jaba.263

 

Daniele Ortu, Ph.D.                                                                                                        

Daniele Ortu is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas, where he teaches Behavioral Neuroscience. He received his M.A. from AILUN in Nuoro (Italy) and his Ph.D. from the University of Stirling (United Kingdom). 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, Dr. Ortu is involved in understanding how brain responses can help provide some missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to comprehending complex human behavior. From an applied perspective, Dr. Ortu 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 Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and he serves on the editorial board of Behavior and Philosophy.
 
Selected Publications:

 

 

April Becker, Ph.D.                                                                                                       

April Becker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. She 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 Magee is an Adjunt Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. She 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 an in-home therapist, a consultant for school districts, and she has taught numerous classes within the department over nearly 20 years. Sandy's work has been awarded with several notable distinctions. 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.

 

 

 

Bryan S Lovelace, M.S., BCBA  

Bryan Lovelace is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. He is a board-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 teaches undergraduate students how to think critically and practice skepticism.     

 

Mary Hunter, M.S.

 

Mary Hunter is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis. She earned a master of science in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in 2013. She also provides dog training services in the north Texas area through her company, DogTrainingology. Mary 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Carla Smith, M.S., BCBA  

 

Carla Smith serves as Director of UNT’s Behavior Analysis Resource Center (BARC) where she oversees student clinical experience at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Carla Smith received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a BACB-approved supervisor. Carla’s areas of interest are improving the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders, organizational behavior management, and performance-based staff training.  She has presented her research to the Association for Behavior Analysis International Conference and has published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and the European Journal of Behavior Analysis.         

 

 

 

 

Katy Atcheson, M.S., BCBA  

Katy Atcheson is the Project Manager for the Behavior Analysis Resource Center (BARC) where she provides training and oversight to undergraduate and graduate students at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Katy received her bachelor'ss degree in Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno and her Masters degree in Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas; in 2006 she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and is a BACB-approved provider of supervised experience. Katy’s primary interests and expertise lie in the area of assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior. Her 16 years of experience treating individuals who engage in extremely severe behavior have led to her passion to help and train future behavior analysts, providers, and caregivers to better understand and more effectively manage their day-to-day behavioral challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

Audrey Newkirk, M.S., BCBA  

 

Audrey Newkirk is Senior Project Coordinator for UNT’s Behavior Analysis Resource Center overseeing competency-based staff training of behavior management skills at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Audrey received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Audrey supervises and mentors students who obtain practical training in the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders, competency-based staff training, behavior skills training, teaching clients to cooperate with and tolerate routine health care procedures, and evaluation of procedural fidelity in program implementation. Audrey has completed research on the development and evaluation of a large-scale pyramidal staff training program for behavior management. Her original work was presented at the 2014 meeting of the Association of Behavior Analysis International conference, and she and her students continue to present extensions and refinements of this work at regional and national conferences.

 

 

 

 

Ruthie Cross

Ruthie Cross is the administrative coordinator for the Department of Behavior Analysis, and she is widely known as the "heart of our department." She has worked at the University of North Texas for 19 years, and she 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, and keeping of inventory records. Of course, the best part is being the Department Mom!...My door is always open so come on by."