MAILED: July 12, 2000
Students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be able to take psychology courses with an emphasis in behavioral analysis beginning in the fall of the 2000-2001 academic year.
The new emphasis in the major was developed because of the increased demand from western Wisconsin communities for people with behavioral analysis skills.
"This is one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation, and we wanted to tap into it and make it available for our students," said Larry Morse, chair of the psychology department.
The new emphasis would require a student to take three additional courses, and complete a supervised internship in which students use their classroom knowledge to provide behavioral services to individuals such as those who are autistic or developmentally delayed.
The courses and internship help prepare students for the national certification exam, Morse said. Those who pass the exam earn the title of Nationally Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst.
Assistant Professor of Psychology Greg Madden said the number of employers seeking individuals with these credentials is overwhelming. "They will have no problem finding a job," he said, noting that at a recent convention of the Association for Behavior Analysts in Washington, D.C., the employers outnumbered applicants by about a 10-1 ratio.
Madden said graduate school is another option for students taking this emphasis. "We believe the experiences our students receive in this intensive series will make them very attractive to graduate schools around the country," he said.
Students who take the emphasis have a variety of options of where and for whom they want to work. Most likely they would work with autistic children, institutionalized people or people who deal with substance abuse, Madden said. Behavior analysts also can consult with businesses to help them improve safety, quality and employee output.
The behavioral analysis emphasis also is geared toward school psychologists and counselors. They would benefit from the certification, as would anyone in the education field, Morse said.
The first course in the emphasis, "Introduction to Behavior Analysis and Therapy," will be offered this fall; the second course, "Advanced Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis," will be offered in the spring of 2001; and the third course, a laboratory research class, will be offered in the fall of 2001.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 19, 2000