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2023 Behavior Explorer Summit

Building reinforcement systems for accelerated learning

We are pleased to announce that Behavior Explorer will host its first virtual summit in 2023. Join us as we explore how to build teacher-learner interactions that increase learner engagement and expedite learning.


Summit Format

The summit will include four virtual sessions on March 30, April 13, April 27, and May 11.

Each session will run from 2:00–4:30 p.m. Central Time. A recording of each meeting will be available for attendees who are not able to attend the live sessions.


Summit Presenters

Our presenters will be:

  • Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, PhD
  • Crystal Fernandez, MEd, BCBA, LBA-TX
  • Mary Hunter, MS

You can read more about each of our speakers at the bottom of this page.


Summit Program

Building reinforcement systems for accelerated learning

Modern teachers and trainers rely on teaching methods that are based in positive reinforcement.

Recommendations for the application of positive reinforcement have often been based on characteristics of the reinforcer, such as size, immediacy, level of deprivation, and the schedule used.

While it is often convenient to think of reinforcers as “things,” reinforcement involves the interaction of two individuals, the teacher and the learner. These interactions create an interlocking chain of behaviors.

Even if you have a valuable reinforcer, you may sometimes have slow rates of progress, low levels of learner engagement, and unwanted behaviors. In many of these cases, our teaching is ineffective because the teacher has not built an effective reinforcement system and is not being completely responsive to the learner’s behavior.

In this summit, we will examine how to analyze and build effective reinforcement systems. You will learn step-by-step procedures that can be used to design and teach the interlocking teacher and learner behavior that should occur during reinforcement. You’ll also better understand the science behind these ideas and procedures.

You will leave with a new understanding of reinforcement, as well as practical ideas for how to accelerate learner progress and increase learner engagement. 

The summit is designed for both professionals and students. We’ll be exploring some very new ideas and procedures, as well as some old ideas that have been forgotten. If you’re interested in the science of behavior and how reinforcement can be applied both effectively and compassionately, you will want to join us for this summit. 

Topics that will be covered include: 

  • How to assess and select effective teaching environments
  • How poisoned cues interfere with learning
  • How to address existing poisoned cues
  • The elements of a reinforcement system
  • How to analyze existing reinforcement systems
  • A five-step process for building new reinforcement systems
  • How to select and teach conditioned reinforcers 
  • The role of interlocking behavior chains during reinforcement
  • How to collect data on your reinforcement system
  • How to evaluate reinforcement systems during teaching
  • How to measure learner responsiveness during teaching sessions

Summit Registration

Registration price – Before February 28: $275

Registration price – After March 1: $325

What’s included?

Your Summit ticket includes:

  • Four virtual sessions on March 30, April 13, April 27, and May 11
  • Access to session recordings until July 31, 2023
  • Handouts & checklists to help you implement new concepts
  • Opportunities to ask questions during the live sessions or through our virtual question box

Summit Scholarships

A limited number of summit scholarship tickets are available for the price of $150. These scholarship tickets are for students or other attendees with financial need.

Learn more and apply for a scholarship on this page.

Continuing Education Credits

Continuing education units are pending for BCBA, IAABC, KPA, CCPDT, and IATCB.

Please check back in January 2023 for more information about the continuing education credits that will be available for this event.

Refund Policy

A complete refund (less a $50 processing fee) will be available if requested on or before March 20, 2023. No refunds will be available after this date.


Presenter Bios

Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, PhD 

Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his PhD from the University of Kansas in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Donald M. Baer. During his graduate training, he also worked closely with Dr. Ogden R. Lindsley.

Dr. Rosales-Ruiz’s areas of interest include antecedent control of behavior, generalization, behavioral cusps, fluency-based teaching, treatment of autism, teaching of academic behavior, animal training, rule-governed behavior, and contingency-shaped behavior.

He has served on several editorial boards, including the Journal of Precision Teaching, the European Journal of Behavior Analysis, and the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz is a fellow of the Eastern Psychological Association and a trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Crystal Fernandez, MEd, BCBA, LBA-TX

Crystal Fernandez is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas studying under the mentorship of Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz. She earned an undergraduate and master’s degree in special education from Vanderbilt University. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, she worked with children with autism as a public school teacher and as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in a clinical setting.

Crystal’s dissertation work is evaluating a program to train registered behavior technicians (RBTs) to build reinforcement systems in their therapy sessions with children with autism. Crystal’s other research interests include the development of behavior and its stimulus control, practitioner and parent training, and increasing access to services for traditionally underserved populations. Crystal currently teaches undergraduate courses in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas.

Mary Hunter, MS

Mary Hunter earned an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas. She consults with people and their pets, working mainly with dogs and horses. In addition, Mary teaches online courses for professional animal trainers and others interested in the science of behavior. 

Mary has taught classes at the University of North Texas as an adjunct instructor. Her interest in instructional design led her to convert an upper-level undergraduate class into a self-paced, mastery-based course using Dr. Fred Keller’s Personalized System of Instruction.  In 2019, Mary and Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz published their first book, PORTL: The Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab.

Mary’s main research interests include studying the process of shaping and developing better methods for teaching both people and animals. She is a full member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and has presented her research at the organization’s annual convention. 

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