Top honours from ONTABA for Applied Disability Studies

Three members of Brock’s Department of Applied Disability Studies (ADS) were recently recognized by a provincial organization for their outstanding contributions.

The Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA), which is made up of more than 1,000 Applied Behaviour Analysis practitioners, educators and researchers across the province, honoured Master of Arts student Niruba Rasuratnam, Assistant Professor Valdeep Saini and Department Chair Rosemary Condillac at its annual conference in December.

Rasuratnam received the 2020 ONTABA Student Award, which recognizes a current student or recent graduate who has demonstrated excellence in multiple areas of study.

Saini received the 2020 ONTABA Teaching Award, given in recognition of a current or past instructor who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to teach ABA principles and applications and to inspire an appreciation for ABA among students. Four separate students nominated him for the award.

Saini says that he felt extremely honoured to be recognized in this way, both by his students and by his colleagues.

“What I’ve come to enjoy most about teaching, whether it be in a classroom of graduate students or working one-on-one with practicum students or research assistants, is when students come to understand how the topics discussed in the classroom affect their own lives and the lives of individuals they come into contact with,” he says. “It is this deeper understanding of and appreciation for learning that I hope to teach all students, so I’m very happy to learn that students in my classes or under my supervision are having a rewarding and meaningful experience.”

Condillac received the President’s Service Excellence Award in recognition of her many contributions to the organization.

A member of ONTABA since 1992, she served as president from 2004-05 and continues to provide service on its various committees, including the Advisory Committee and the Education and Advancement committee, among others.

In the past year, Condillac has also served as Administrative Lead for a project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS). The project, on which Associate Professor Julie Koudys serves as the Technical Lead, aims to develop important ethics and jurisprudence training for behaviour analysts in Ontario.

“I am very grateful to Drs. Koudys and Condillac for their leadership and unwavering support of the ministry project,” says current ONTABA President Kendra Thomson, an Associate Professor in the department. “It is nice to collaborate with such talented and dedicated colleagues.”

Condillac says she was “blown away” when the award was announced during the annual general meeting at the conference, which was held digitally for the first time in its history due to the ongoing pandemic.

“I think to really help an organization grow and thrive, you need to put your money where your mouth is and say ‘OK, I’m here. How do we do it? How can I help to make all of the things we need to make happen for our profession happen?’,” she says. “I was president many years ago, but you can continue to have a role and be helpful for many, many years after that if you so wish.”

Condillac says that this willingness, along with the pleasure of working with her colleagues, shapes her service in every capacity.

“Whether I think about it in the University as my job or whether I think of service to the community or to other professional organizations, I just think that if you want to have a voice then you need to roll up your sleeves and be part of it,” she says.

Thomson says that Condillac was recognized for her ongoing contributions, both formal and informal, to ONTABA and its mission of demonstrating leadership, knowledge and innovation in education, training and research for the ethical and effective application of behaviour analysis.

“I am extremely grateful for the support and mentorship that Rosemary has provided on the ministry-funded project and to the organization,” says Thomson. “And I am very proud that ADS faculty members are committed to being involved with ONTABA — it demonstrates how seriously our faculty take their commitment to service in the community.”

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