Faculty and Staff
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.
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.
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. 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.
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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 behavioral health and medicine; technology-infused contingency management; health technologies; also generative learning .
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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 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 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 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 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.
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 interested are improving 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 has been the Project Manager for the Behavior Analysis Resource Center (BARC) since 2006, where she provides training and oversight to undergraduate and graduate students at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Katy received her Bachelors 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 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 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.".