About the Association for Behavior Analysis International Accreditation Board
The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) Accreditation Board is the governance body responsible for the accreditation of training programs in behavior analysis at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The Accreditation Board operates as a board of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and carries out its responsibilities in a manner consistent with the ABAI bylaws and articles of incorporation.
The mission of the ABAI Accreditation Board is to establish and implement standards for the accreditation of educational programs in behavior analysis. The accreditation process is designed to encourage, support, and recognize exemplary training of behavior scientists and scientist-practitioners in the experimental and theoretical foundations of behavior analysis and in ethical and evidence-based practice, and to promote continuous improvement through voluntary accreditation.
The ABAI Accreditation Board is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is a nonprofit, nongovernmental institutional membership organization that “recognizes” accrediting organizations or periodically reviews their effectiveness in assuring and improving quality in higher education. The purpose of CHEA recognition is to provide assurance to the public that accrediting organizations are competent to engage in quality review of institutions and programs based on the standards that CHEA has developed, which are presented in the CHEA Recognition Policy and Procedures.
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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The ABAI Accreditation Board supports the ABAI Diversity Policy: The Association for Behavior Analysis International encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of behavior analysis broadly, and within the organization specifically. Diversity refers to differences in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, country of origin, religious or spiritual beliefs, ability, and socioeconomic class. It is expected that all ABAI members as well as non-members who participate in ABAI events treat one another with respect. The diversity policy was approved by the Executive Council in 2019.
Furthermore, the ABAI Accreditation Board's Accreditation Standard 7-106 states: The program abides by institutional policies with respect to diversity and nondiscrimination of ethnicity, gender, disability, and veteran status. The program must provide copies of institutional policies related to diversity and nondiscrimination, and certify that the program's faculty and students act in accord with these policies.
Linda Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno): 2020–2022
Linda J. Parrott Hayes is a distinguished international professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba and her graduate degrees from Western Michigan University. She was a member of the behavior analysis faculty at West Virginia University while completing her doctorate, after which she returned to Canada, taking a position at St. Mary’s University. Dr. Hayes co-founded the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada, Reno, on a self-capitalization model and served as its director for more than a decade. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to the training of behavior analysts including the Fred S. Keller Award for Teaching of Behavior Analysis from the American Psychological Association’s Division 25, an Outstanding Teacher Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University, an Outstanding Faculty Award from the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Colleges and Universities, an Outstanding Alumna Award from Western Michigan University, and for the program she founded a Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis Award for Enduring Contributions to Behavior Analysis. Dr. Hayes also founded and directs UNR’s Satellite Programs in behavior analysis, aimed at meeting the ever-growing demand for qualified practitioners in regions where appropriate training has been unavailable or inaccessible. Her efforts in this regard have earned her an International Development Award from the Latin Association for Behavior Analysis and Modification, a Global Engagement Award from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a SABA International Development Award. She is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and has served the association in many capacities including coordination of its Practice and Education Boards as well as multiple terms on its Executive Council. Dr. Hayes’ scholarly interests range from the experimental analysis of animal behavior to the logic of science. She is best known for her contributions to behavior theory and philosophy.
Michael Perone, Coordinator of the Board (West Virginia University): 2015–2023
Dr. Michael Perone is a professor in the Department of Psychology at West Virginia University (WVU). He has made substantial contributions to behavior analysis through his research, service, administration, and teaching. He is well known for his programmatic research on conditioned reinforcement, avoidance, and transitions from rich to lean schedules of reinforcement, and more generally for the elegance and ingenuity of his experimental methodology. He has secured support from NICHHD, OSHA, and NSF for much of his research. His investigations with animals and extensions of basic mechanisms to humans serve as a prototype for research translation. Dr. Perone's accomplishments in administration, service to the discipline, and teaching are similarly noteworthy. He served for 12 years as chair of the WVU Department of Psychology, one of the foremost programs in behavior analysis. He has served as president of ABAI, SABA, SEAB, and SEABA. He has been appointed to key editorial positions for major journals in behavior analysis, represented behavior analysis on the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, and served on numerous committees. In each of those roles, his skill and humor have been instrumental in bringing a charge to effective completion. Dr. Perone has received numerous awards for his teaching and mentoring, which, along with the successes of his former students, are testaments to his effectiveness in these arenas as well.
Chaun Stores, Community Representative (Emory School of Law): 2021–2023
Chaun Stores received his BA in political science from Alderson Broaddus University and his Ph.D. in political science from West Virginia University. As a former Southern Regional Education Board Fellow, W.E.B. Dubois Fellow, and a Presidential Management Fellow, he has spent the past 15 years conducting cross-functional analytical research to inform institutional effectiveness and planning and policy formation in higher education. Before returning to his alma mater (WVU), where he served as Assistant Vice President for Decision Support & Analysis, Dr. Stores served as the Director of Assessment and Institutional Research at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. Currently, Dr. Stores is the Senior Director of Decision Support and Data Management at Emory University School of Law, where he is responsible for assessing business intelligence needs, translating those needs into deliverables, and conducting analytical research and modeling to support the school’s goals and objectives. As a member of the senior staff, Dr. Stores represents the school on decision science and accreditation related matters to other organizations in various university, national, and international settings. As a social scientist by training, Dr. Stores is passionate about exploring opportunities where the combination of different data types can help inform evidence-based decision making.
Jason Vladescu (Caldwell University): 2020–2022
Jason C. Vladescu, Ph.D., BCBA-D, NCSP, LBA(NY) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell University. He graduated from Central Michigan University in 2010 with a Ph.D. in School Psychology. Dr. Vladescu completed his pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute. His research interests include early behavioral intervention for children with autism spectrum and related disorders, increasing the efficiency of academic instruction, staff training, applied applications of equivalence-based instruction, and mainstream applications of behavior analysis. He has co-authored over 50 articles and chapters related to behavior analysis. Jason is an associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and serves on the editorial board for several behavior analytic journals.
Benjamin Witts (St. Cloud State University): 2022-2024
Benjamin Witts earned his BA (psychology) at Winona State University, his MA (clinical psychology) at Mankato State University, and his PhD (behavior analysis) at the University of Nevada, Reno. Currently, he is an associate professor at St. Cloud State University where he serves as program coordinator for the undergraduate and masters programs in ABA. His scholarly interests center on translational research as it applies to infant-caregiver interactions during intense crying episodes, and is involved in interprofessional research to pursue this work. He is most passionate about his teaching and his students’ success, and his work has been recognized with a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities award for Outstanding Educator and an ABAI Outstanding Mentor award. Most of his academic work is focused on engineering efficient low-cost accessible educational materials that fit the needs of modern students.
Maria E. Malott, Council Liaison (ABAI): 2021–2023
After completing undergraduate work at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Venezuela, Maria E. Malott immediately began what can only be termed a distinguished career in large-scale performance management. After two years as performance systems analyst for the Central Office of Personnel in Venezuela, she entered the graduate program in applied behavior analysis at Western Michigan University, obtaining her Ph.D. in 1987. In 1989 she was hired as production manager at Ronningen Research & Development and within two years was vice-president of manufacturing. In 1993, she began a consulting career, and has consulted in the areas of advertising, restaurants, retail, manufacturing, hotels, banking, government, and other institutions. Her clients have included General Motors Corporation; Meijer, Inc.; Kellogg's; Pharmacia & Upjohn; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and the Cancer Prevention Research Institute at the University of Arizona. In all of this work, Dr. Malott has combined systems analysis with the analysis of individual behavior within systems and, in the process, has taught dozens of corporate executives to appreciate the power of behavioral principles. Dr. Malott has been a visiting scholar at 32 universities in 15 countries and an affiliated faculty member at five universities. She has served on four editorial boards and is the author of a book on organizational change, published in Spanish and English, and co-author of second, third, and fourth editions of one of the most widely used and often translated textbooks in behavior analysis, Elementary Principles of Behavior. Dr. Malott was the recipient of the 2003 Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis and the 2012 Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, as well as the 2004 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Organizational Behavior Management. In 1993, she agreed to serve as part-time executive director of ABAI and is now its CEO. Within a few short years, the association rose from near-bankruptcy to become a financially stable scientific and professional organization. Her organizational behavior management skills have been applied to every aspect of the operation of ABAI, which serves nearly 7,000 members and is the parent organization of more than 90 affiliated chapters.
Deisy das Graças de Souza, Council Liaison (Universidade Federal de São Carlos): 2021–2023
Dr. Deisy das Graças de Souza received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the Universidade de São Paulo in 1981. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she worked with A. Charles Catania, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, where she worked with William J. McIlvane. Throughout her career, she has been a member of the Department of Psychology at the Universidade Federal de São Carlos, where she attained the rank of professor in 2005. Dr. de Souza’s contributions are impressive in quality, quantity, and range. Her early career was characterized by important publications on basic laboratory analyses of signaled and unsignaled avoidance and of choice behavior. When serious allergies forced her out of the animal lab, Dr. de Souza turned her attention to stimulus control, an area in which she has made seminal experimental, applied, and conceptual analyses of phenomena involving exclusion and stimulus equivalence. Findings from her human laboratory studies were taken quickly into the field to facilitate reading and writing skills among young Brazilian children who were falling behind in school primarily due to reading deficits. The collective impact of this work is evidenced not only by the many publications it has generated in major outlets in Brazil and internationally, but also by its history of funding from Brazil’s most highly competitive federal research agency (FAPESP, CNPq). Dr. de Souza is widely respected as an inspirational teacher who has made essential contributions to the growth and development of her department, particularly as a mentor of graduate and postdoctoral students. Among her many leadership positions are service as president of the Associação Brasileira de Psicologia and as editor of Revista Brasileira de Análise do Comportamento.
Jenna Mrljak, ABAI Education Manager
Jenna Mrljak earned her Ph.D. in psychology (behavior analysis) along with her MA and BS degrees from Western Michigan University, under the advising of Dr. Richard Malott. Throughout her graduate career she taught and supervised numerous undergraduate and graduate psychology courses. She trained and supervised over 65 graduate student instructors. She also has experience with OBM and helped develop extensive systems for performance management and continuous-quality improvements within those courses. She has several years of experience in early intervention for children with autism and has provided BCBA supervision for four years in early childhood special education classrooms. Additionally, her research included teaching critical prerequisite skills for children with autism and improving staff training systems in the classrooms. Her interests spread across many areas including early intervention, instructional design, technology, social justice, and behavioral systems at the cultural level. She is dedicated to researching and delivering high-quality educational programs for all learners. Dr. Mrljak is the Education Manager for the Association for Behavior Analysis International.