Graduate Program Continues Expansion

November 14, 2012

At its monthly meeting last week, the Mary Baldwin University faculty voted to approve two new concentrations within Graduate Teacher Education (GTE), further expanding an already growing program and preparing students for in-demand jobs.

With the vote, GTE will add applied behavioral analysis and four related courses to its offerings, expanding on existing undergraduate studies within the psychology program at Mary Baldwin. Autism spectrum disorders also becomes an official concentration for the Master of Education (MEd), under which four existing graduate courses will now be linked.

“Our program has been growing steadily and I am confident that this pattern will continue, especially with the addition of new MEd concentrations,” said Rachel Potter, director of the GTE program. “These have been carefully selected based on areas of student and community demand that intersect with areas of expertise and passion held by members of our college faculty.”

In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to require health insurers to cover the cost of applied behavioral analysis, a move hailed by the Virginia Autism Project .

Applied behavioral analysis examines the principles of learning and behavior and explores their effective use in applied settings such as schools, hospitals, mental health settings, and in business. Individuals with this specialized training often go into professions where they support the behavioral needs of a variety of individuals, including those with developmental disabilities and children or adults with behavior difficulties. They work in organizations that serve those in need of behavioral intervention and in businesses seeking to enhance productivity through strategic organizational management planning.

Administrators developed the concentration in collaboration with Mary Baldwin’s undergraduate psychology department.

“[Assistant Professor of Psychology] Jenna Holt has taken leadership over the course development and approval process required by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board,” Potter said. “This endeavor is our first partnership with another academic discipline for the purposes of establishing a new MEd program, and we are open to other cross-departmental collaborative opportunities in the future.”