Thomas Zane, PhD, BCBA-D

Thomas Zane, PhD, BCBA-D

Joseph Dagen, PhD

Interview with Joe Dagen, PhD

“I use the science of behavior every day! The energy industry is very exciting, and now more than ever.”

Kent Johnson, PhD

Interview with Kent Johnson, PhD

“I tutored 40 kids when I was 9-12 years old. In college, I became passionate about…catering to children who could do better if we taught them better. Behavior analysis was the vehicle for me to make gains in education.”

Lori Ludwig, PhD

Interview with Lori Ludwig, PhD

“I’ve worked in a variety of industries including automotive, human services, non-profit, print, retail, and oil and gas across a range of companies, from global Fortune 500s, creative start-ups, to local small businesses.”

Eitan Eldar, PhD, BCBA-D

Interview with Eitan Eldar, PhD, BCBA‑D

“We began an instructional program in 1990 with three students. Now there are over a hundred students and more than 10 staff in that program, plus a few other programs in Israel.”

Rob Holdsambeck, EdD, LCP, BCBA-D

Interview with Rob Holdsambeck, PhD, BCBA‑D

“​Getting a child with Autism to communicate with signs, symbols or words when they previously used ‘meltdowns.’…I am happy that the company I created gives opportunities to these kids (and also lots of jobs to talented ABA professionals).”

A. Charles Catania, PhD

Interview with Charles Catania, PhD

“We need to find more and better ways to educate the general public about our science.”

Francis Mechner, PhD

Interview with Francis Mechner, PhD

“If you want to make advances in your field, don’t stay in the safe and fashionable middle, go for the edges.”

Philip N. HIneline, PhD, BCBA-D

Interview with Philip Hineline, PhD

“While Skinner was a very nice guy he was often demonized. Many people only accept behavior analysis after they see the practical applications.”

Kennon "Andy" Lattal

Interview with Andy Lattal, PhD

“I am most proud of the 43 doctoral students I have trained, and the numerous sabbatical visitors who have spent time working with me. These people are the future of our field…”

Ronnie Detrich, PhD

Interview with Ronnie Detrich

“Behavior analysts should work on speaking to a broader audience in ways that the audience is receptive to and finding ways to disseminate and tell our story more effectively.”

Interview with Ramona Houmanfar, PhD

“I’m proud of my students and their work, and how we developed a line of research related to communication/verbal behavior and RFT/rule governance in organizations. Developing your niche is hard to do and takes courage.”

Janet S. Twyman, PhD, BCBA, LBA

Interview with Janet S. Twyman, PhD, BCBA, LBA

…my approach is the same: make sure the behavior is doable; ensure there’s motivation and environmental support; reduce or eliminate coercion; always look to the contingencies.

D. Dwight Harshbarger, PhD

Interview with Dwight Harshbarger

“This stuff is powerful, I’m gonna keep doing it.”

Beth Sulzer-Azaroff, PhD

In Memory of Beth Sulzer-Azaroff from Trustee Kent Johnson

The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies...
H.S. (Hank) Pennypacker, PhD

In Memory and Honor of H.S. Pennypacker

Dear Friends of the Cambridge Center for...
Thomas Zane, PhD, BCBA-D

Interview with Thomas Zane, PhD, BCBA-D

“Different jobs teach you different skills, and the more you expose yourself to situations, the more you will learn.”

Interview with Thomas Zane, PhD, BCBA-D

Interview conducted by​ Marissa Kamlowsky, MS, BCBA
Distinguished Scholar

Dr. Thomas Zane is a Professor of Practice and the Director of Online Programs in Behavior Analysis in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas. Dr. Zane earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in psychology at Western Michigan University and his doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis at West Virginia University. He has served as a Post-Doctorate Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts and as a Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Zane serves as the Chair of the Executive Board of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the international organization that represents the field of behavior analysis. Dr. Zane has been past President of the Ethics Special Interest Group of the International Association for Behavior Analysis. His research interests include online learning, evidenced-based practice in autism, and the philosophy of science and radical behaviorism. He is particularly interested in why some behavior analysts drift from the code and the importance of adhering to choosing scientifically- supported treatments in clinical and educational work. 

How did you end up where you are today in the field of behavior analysis and within the Cambridge Center?

I often say, “Due to the white rat.” Although I started at Western Michigan as a business major, I found myself sitting in a psychology class with an experimental chamber in front of me. A graduate student walked into the classroom, put a rat in the box and said, “Teach the rat to press the lever.” I looked at the lever, looked at the rat, and I was hooked. A lot of my experiences were serendipitous. I was fortunate to take courses with Dick Mallott, Jack Michael, and so many others who contributed to an excellent education at Western Michigan. I then went on to work for a while with my master’s in applied behavior analysis before going to West Virginia University. There, I met many other brilliant minds in psychology (e.g., Don Hake, Andy Lattal, Jon Krapfl) who helped cement what I knew I wanted to do. Finally, I had the opportunity to complete post-doctorate research at the University of Massachusetts with Beth Sulzer-Azaroff and at Johns Hopkins University Department of Psychiatry with Joe Brady. Now, I am a Professor of Practice and the Director of Online Programs in the Applied Behavioral Sciences Department at The University of Kansas, and I continue to be an active member of the Cambridge Center.

How did your time at Western Michigan and West Virginia prepare you for the leadership roles you’ve taken on?   

Our circumstances dictate what we learn and do. I learned quite a bit about leadership in graduate school. As a student, I often volunteered for projects and tasks (e.g., helping to get behavior-analytic conferences up and running) because I wanted the experience. I also learned about leadership when I went on to work. Different jobs teach you different skills, and the more you expose yourself to situations, the more you will learn. I chose to take advantage of the opportunities I had because I knew those opportunities would help me to grow and pay off in the future. For example, I came into this leadership role within the Cambridge Center because I wanted to participate. I became a clerk (e.g., note-taker) and continued to be involved; one thing led to another, and now I’m excited to take on this new leadership role in the organization. I hope to apply my fundamental knowledge in radical behaviorism to this leadership role while leaning on the CCBS team to continue to the success of the Center.

What do you hope to accomplish in your new position with The Cambridge Center?

I hope to continue the current success of The Cambridge Center. Specifically, I hope to build upon the Center’s offerings (e.g., mini conferences, professional development opportunities), financial health, impact in the field, and reach to the broader scientific community. I also want to ensure the Cambridge Center stays up-to-date with and responsive to current events of the world. We need to continue to increase our outreach while staying true to the mission of the Cambridge Center to advance the scientific study of behavior.

What do you see as the role of The Cambridge Center? Why should folks be a part of The Cambridge Center?

Students, faculty, and professionals can come to the Cambridge Center to learn. We provide a number of opportunities in several key areas including ethics, supervision and leadership, behavior-based safety, precision teaching, and many others. We offer several Help Desks that are packed with videos, articles, news, and other resources on our website. I hope the Cambridge Center can continue to serve as a resource for education and professional development resources as well as a hub for information on global activities from a behavior-analytic lens. We are so fortunate to have an excellent Board of Directors, Advisors, Trustees, and Distinguished Scholars who volunteer their time to contribute their knowledge, expertise, and professional work to build the Center into the wealth of resources it is. I also hope to continue to increase communication between the Cambridge Center, the field of behavior analysis, and the world more broadly.

What advice do you have for students and professionals who are interested in becoming a part of the Center?

Students who are interested in learning more about the Cambridge Center should dive into the resources available on our website – there is a lot of information about different areas of behavior-analytic study and Cambridge Center connections. Students should also consider widening their scope of interest and should look at the many different ways in which behavior analysis can be applied in the field. The Cambridge Center has lots of opportunity for building professional contacts through volunteer initiatives; if a student is interested, they should contact The Center. There are always opportunities to volunteer and contribute something. If you have a good idea, we welcome it, but you’ll be asked to put in the work! Your involvement opens the door to incredible networking opportunities with some of the leaders and researchers in our field. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the breadth of application in our field within the context of those excellent networking opportunities. There is much to be done and never been a more exciting time to get involved!

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