Graduates of the Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) programme at the School of Psychology achieved a 100% pass rate in the 2015 round of the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB) certification exams.
Out of over 200 course sequences approved by the BACB worldwide, the programme is one of the few in the world to perform at that level. So, what is the key to programmes success?
“Applied behaviour analysis is a practical science," says programme director Dr Javier Virues-Ortega (Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology), citing the programmes practical application of theory. "I think students feel empowered by actually implementing behavioural interventions and observing real differences in the quality of life of vulnerable populations.”
Dr Angela Arnold-Saritepe (Senior Lecturer) highlights the dedication of the staff for "providing students with exceptional education opportunities within the scientist practitioner framework by way of first-year hands-on projects and intern experiences.” Angela also emphasises the programme’s links with and support from the community, specifically from Sommerville Special School and Rescare Homes Trust.
Dr Katrina Phillips (Professional Teaching Fellow and appointed Lecturer) in agreement says, “We have always worked as a team to ensure the needs of the students are being met. Our students can see the outcomes of evidence-based strategies for themselves."
Although there are high expectations from the teaching staff for their students to keep up this standard, Javier and the ABA team feel a responsibility to ensure that their graduates provide the highest level of service to the vulnerable clients they work with.
“Blending applied research with more fundamental knowledge about learning and behaviour is a critical component to become a well-rounded professional,” says Javier. “A demanding and comprehensive university experience is critical to this end.”
As well as the hands-on experience, Javier, Angela and Katrina recognise the ranking of the programme and the international and domestic qualification achieved is what makes the programme so attractive to potential students. But the collegiality between the staff and students has been and continues to be important for all.
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