Double first for Dr Carl Hughes as he is awarded highest possible accolade by SABA

Dr Carl HughesDr Carl HughesDr Carl Hughes of the University’s School of Psychology, who is Director of the Applied Behaviour Analysis postgraduate Courses at Bangor University’s School of Psychology and deputy director of the newly established Wales Centre for Behaviour Change, is to receive the Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis by the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA) this week.

Dr Hughes said: “This is a great honour for the behavioural psychology team here at Bangor. We’ve been building our behavioural training programme for 10 years and it is fantastic that the impact the team and students are having is being recognised globally. The foundation of our success has been the dedication and vision of the course lecturers, administration, and the strong relations with local teachers and practitioners who have a desire to make a difference in the lives of the children and adults they support. I believe this focus on collaborative working has made our training distinctive, and has kept it relevant to practice. It’s very nice that the contribution of the team, students and the course has been recognised on the 10th anniversary. It is also timely with the development of the newly funded Wales Centre for Behaviour Change. It’s an exciting time to be a behavioural psychologist here in Bangor”

The Distinguished Service award is the highest accolade to be given by the American society and is given to an individual who has demonstrated a sustained, valuable contribution to behavioural psychology over many years in teaching, research, and practice. Dr Hughes, who is the youngest person to receive the award, and the first European, will travel to the USA at the Society’s expense in May 2014 to receive the Award at the 2014 ABAI annual convention in Chicago.

The award recognises the prestige and reputation of the master’s program in applied behavior analysis. In 2003 MSc in ABA was the first of it’s kind in Europe, and the first to be accredited by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board, International. There are now 20 similar programmes across Europe, but Bangor remains the largest, currently with over 100 postgraduate students. The latest development in the group is the establishment of the Wales Centre for Behaviour Change.

Behaviour Analysis is an evidenced based approach to helping people in a range of contexts, with children who have additional learning needs, autism, mainstream and special educational settings, business, safety-behaviour, among others. Over 400 students and professionals have taken the Bangor course and are now working worldwide, as well as in the community in north Wales.  The course has a strong partnership with regional service providers in health and education, and reflects the linguistic nature of the region, having started a Welsh medium study bursary and seen students studying through Welsh and working locally. Last year, Dawn Owen completed her dissertation in Welsh the first MSc student in the history of the psychology department to do so.

The Wales Centre for Behaviour Change, which is co-funded by the Welsh European Funding Office and Bangor University for £1.8 million, aims to apply behavioural science to impact businesses here in Wales, with a focus on behaviour safety, well-being and sustainable development. Since opening in January 2013, the WCBC has employed 7 people and developed projects with a variety of local SMEs and larger organisations. The centre, which has been termed the Welsh ‘nudge’ unit, has also recently been awarded a prestigious Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Magnox nuclear to work on their behaviour-based safety programme.

As well as publishing academic research in the field, Dr Carl Hughes also leads the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, UK and Europe (EABG), has run the international conferences in London since 1998, is a founding member of the European Association for Behaviour Analysis, and has recently been voted on to the inaugural board of the first UK Society for Behaviour Analysis. He serves on the editorial board for a number of leading academic journals in behavioural psychology.

Publication date: 21 May 2014