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Visiting Scholars Enhance Behavior Analysis Program

Jan 7, 2010

Dr. Greg Hanley of Western New England College (center) with Dr. Matthew Normand and Holly White
Dr. Greg Hanley of Western New England College (center) with Dr. Matthew Normand and Holly White

In fall 2009, Psychology Professor Matthew Normand and Holly White, the department's Treatment Director of Behavior Services, received a Pacific Fund grant of $5,625 to continue the Visiting Scholar program they began last June. The program, which involves hosting eminent scholars in the field of behavioral psychology for a several-day visit, exposes students and faculty to other experts in their field and sparks new ideas for teaching, clinical practice and research.

The Visiting Scholar program aims to enhance the national visibility for Pacific's Psychology program and attract strong applicants to the graduate program. "It also serves to enhance faculty and student scholarship, by providing opportunities to interact with and receive mentorship from some of the most eminent scholars in behavioral psychology," said Ms. White. "We will be able to learn how these scholars conduct their own research and mentor their own students."

The invited scholar is asked to spend one full day in Pacific's Psychology Department to meet with faculty and students, and offer feedback to students who present their research projects and clinical cases.

The visit includes a dinner and cocktail reception to further promote interaction between the scholar and Pacific faculty and students. Undergraduate and graduate students help plan and organize the events, which gives them practical experience in event planning.

The Psychology Department plans to host three visiting scholars throughout the year. The program started in June 2009 with a visit from Dr. Greg Hanley of Western New England College, who is considered one of the most productive researchers in the field of applied behavior analysis.

A fruitful relationship between the two universities emerged as a result. Two of Pacific's M.A. students and one former undergraduate have decided to apply to the Ph.D. program at Western New England College. Dr. Hanley invited Pacific faculty and students to present their research at the annual Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy Conference held in Amherst Massachusetts in October 2009. During the conference trip, Dr. Normand and a few graduate students met with some of Dr. Hanley's undergraduate students, so they could learn more about Pacific's graduate programs in Psychology.

To draw interest from the community, the visiting scholar is asked to make a presentation during an event that allows practicing Board Certified Behavior Analysts® in the area to earn continuing education credits. Following Dr. Hanley's presentation, Dr. Normand stated, "The feedback from the attendees was overwhelmingly positive and all indicated that they would like to attend other such events in the future."

A second Visiting Scholar event took place in early October with Dr. Hank Schlinger, a professor from Cal State Los Angeles known for his work in the area of Verbal Behavior.

At the end of January 2010, the Psychology department will host Dr. Tim Vollmer from the University of Florida. Dr. Vollmer is known for his work with individuals with developmental disabilities, parent training, and functional behavior assessment.

About Pacific Fund Grants

Pacific Fund grants are awarded to promote scholarship and research, leadership and experiential learning, among other goals. Pacific Fund grants for students and faculty in the College of the Pacific are awarded three times a year: fall, winter and spring. Applications must be submitted to Edie Sparks, Senior Associate Dean, the last Friday in September, February and May. Contact the Dean’s office at WPC111 to receive the application, and learn more at this link: http://pacific.edu/x30369.xml.

Dr. Greg Hanley presenting to Psychology students during his visit.
Dr. Greg Hanley presenting to Psychology students during his visit.

A Pacific Psychology student talks with Dr. Hank Schlinger, a behavior analyst from Cal State Los Angeles.
A Pacific Psychology student talks with Dr. Hank Schlinger, a behavior analyst from Cal State Los Angeles.

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