Behavior specialist concentration begins at JMU

by Janet Smith


The James Madison University College of Education’s new behavior specialist concentration, an interdisciplinary program between Graduate Psychology and Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities, is preparing its first cohort of students to qualify for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Exam.

“Behavior analysis is a field that applies principles of learning and behavior,” said Dr. Keri S. Bethune, assistant professor of educational foundations and exceptionalities and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctorate. She, as the behavior specialist coordinator, and Dr. Trevor F. Stokes, professor of graduate psychology, and Dr. Daniel D. Holt, assistant professor of psychology, are currently teaching the four College of Education graduate students enrolled in the concentration.

In August, Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed Bethune to Virginia’s Advisory Board on Behavior Analysis.

Professionals in applied behavior analysis engage in the specific and comprehensive use of principles of learning, including operant and respondent conditioning, in order to address behavioral needs of widely varying individuals in diverse settings, according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board Inc., which is the professional credentialing organization in the field.

The new concentration is for students already admitted to an approved exceptional education program (master of education or master of arts in teaching) at JMU. For consideration for the program, students must apply to complete the concentration and participate in an interview process.

The behavior specialist concentration:

  • Helps students develop the necessary credentials to support Applied Behavior Analysis programs in school settings.
  • Develops further expertise for students preparing for K-12 exceptional education and inclusive early childhood education careers
  • Prepares teachers in assessing behavior, guiding behavior and managing classrooms
  • Includes a strong emphasis on ethical application

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Sept. 24, 2014

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Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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