Richard G. Smith

2014 TxABA Award - Career Contributions to Behavior Analysis in Texas

Dr. Richard Smith received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1994. He joined the faculty of the behavior analysis program at UNT immediately after graduation, where he has taught courses, mentored students, conducted research, and filled leadership roles for his entire academic career. He has served as the Department Chair of the Behavior Analysis Program since 2003, Director of the Behavior Analysis Resource Center since 1994, and Director of the Sustainable Behavior Research Lab since 2010. Across the course of his career, Dr. Smith has mentored hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students, advancing our science and ensuring the future of research and practice in behavior analysis.

Dr. Smith is internationally renowned for his work on the assessment and treatment of severe behavior disorders in individuals with developmental disabilities, with more than X published articles on this topic. Dr. Rick has served on the editorial board of the field’s flagship journal, The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, for more than 15 years, including a term as Associate Editor from 2003-2005.

Several of Dr. Smith’s lines of research have made substantial contributions to the literature in applied behavior analysis. His classic discussion paper on antecedent control of behavior – required reading for thousands of graduate students across the country – changed the way that many behavior analytic researchers talk about and study antecedent variables that impact problem behavior. He has been a pioneer on alternative methods for conducting functional analyses of severe and/or low frequency problem behavior. In particular, his work on the assessment of precursors to problem behavior established a new approach to functional analysis, prompting additional research by multiple labs throughout the country.

Dr. Smith has also provided tremendous support to our professional association for more than 15 years. He has served as a member of the council, certification committee, and standards committee and led our association as President in 1999.

For these reasons, we are delighted to honor Dr. Smith with this award.

Presented by Dorothea Lerman at the 2014 TxABA Annual Conference