SOU, Oregon Tech Collaborate on New Master’s Degree

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July 17, 2015, KLAMATH FALLS, OR. – Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) and Southern Oregon University (SOU) have signed an agreement to offer a joint academic program that will prepare professionals to help children and families dealing with social and emotional issues. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Oregon Tech Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Brad Burda and SOU Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Susan Walsh, maps a collaborative Masters of Education Degree (M.Ed.) program with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The agreement between the universities helps meet the growing demand for well-qualified professionals to provide services for families and individuals with ASD and other social/emotional conditions needing intensive behavioral interventions. This new partnership between Oregon Tech and SOU recognizes the demand for certified behavior analysts by providing Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) approved coursework for national certification and/or licensure in Oregon.

Oregon recently passed an Autism Insurance Reform bill (SB 365) which provides relief to Oregon families by establishing requirements for state-regulated health plans to approve and manage autism treatment, including ABA therapy and ensuring that treatment will be provided by well-qualified professionals. This law establishes requirements for coverage of applied behavior analysis for treatment of autism spectrum disorders by health benefit plans, health care service contractors, Public Employees’ Benefit Board and Oregon Educators Benefit Board.

In response to this bill, in fall of 2013 Oregon Tech launched additional graduate coursework in ABA to train students to meet the upcoming demand for qualified professionals. Oregon Tech’s courses are designed to provide the rigorous training in ABA that prepare professionals working in the field of autism to be ready to meet the need for well-qualified, credentialed providers.

As the bill begins to take effect throughout this year and next, Oregon Tech and SOU’s unique collaboration provides students with the opportunity to receive a Master’s Degree in Education from SOU and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Oregon Tech. With the graduate certificate in ABA and requisite supervised practicum, graduates will meet eligibility requirements to take the national exam to become a certified behavior analyst. Coupled with the training and skills offered by SOU’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist Program, graduates of the program will be prepared to work in a variety of settings and with a variety of clients.

“This partnership with Southern Oregon University allows us to serve both of our student populations even better, while also creating relationships among faculty and staff from both universities that will hopefully lead to even more collaborative projects,” Oregon Tech Provost Brad Burda said.

“We are very pleased to once again be working with Oregon Tech on a collaborative program that will aid not only students of both institutions, but our local communities and all of Oregon as well,” said SOU Provost Susan Walsh. “There is a great need throughout the state for educators who are highly trained in applied behavior analysis for treatment of autism spectrum disorders, and this will help fill that need.”

The program will serve professionals working in education or human service settings who desire a master’s degree and the BCBA credential and background in ASD; and educators looking to increase their skills to work with students with ASD and other social/emotional issues. Courses will be taught by faculty at both institutions and will be delivered in a hybrid format, allowing students both face-to-face and online modalities. The program is anticipated to start this fall.

For more information, contact Dr. Maria Lynn Kessler, Professor of Applied Psychology at Oregon Tech at marialynn.kessler@oit.edu or Dr. Gregg Gassman, Professor of Special Education programs SOU at gassmang@sou.edu.

About Oregon Tech

Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.

About SOU

Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.