Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Invited Symposium #146
CE Offered: BACB
Bill Hopkins: His Impact as a Behavior Analytic Pioneer
Sunday, May 27, 2012
9:30 AM–10:50 AM
6A (Convention Center)
Domain: Theory
Chair: James M. Johnston (Auburn University)
CE Instructor: James M. Johnston, Ph.D.

Bill Hopkins, a true ABA Pioneer, impacted our science and our lives over his distinguished 50+ year career. His impact is truly impossible to fully quantify, but the people whose careers and lives he touched speak to his profound contributions with deep respect and admiration.

Bill graduated Emory University in 1957 with a degree in psychology, and in 1961 earned a PhD in clinical psychology from Indiana University. He and his beloved wife, Bot, married in 1957 and started a family in 1961. They moved many places as Bill accepted teaching appointments at the University of Washington, Florida State University, Western Michigan University, Southern Illinois, and The University of Kansas. In 1988, Bill became the head of the psychology department at Auburn University, where he retired in 2001 as emeritus professor of psychology. Upon retirement from teaching, Bill’s passion for our science and its researchers and practitioners did not wane. His contributions continued through the Behavioral Safety Now network, his consultation with many organizations, and his gentle mentoring of students, faculty, and consultants.

A humble man, an ambassador for our field, and a relentless pursuer of scientific principles and application, Bill’s contributions to generations of scientists and practitioners will be honored in this invited address.


The Contributions of a Young Scientist

ROBERT P. HAWKINS (West Virginia University), Steven Zlutnick (University of San Francisco)

Bill's quiet, wise, good-humored style will be described, along with his level-headed contribution during a time of upheaval at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Hawkins is Professor Emeritus at West Virginia University.  After earning his Ph.D. at University of Pittsburgh and teaching there, he served on the faculty at University of Washington, held a postdoctoral research fellowship at University of Kansas, served on the faculty at Western Michigan University, and finally at West Virginia, from which he retired in 1997.  He consulted to The Pressley Ridge Schools for over 20 years, where he was primary developer of a foster-family-based treatment program that has now treated thousands of youngsters.  He was involved in applied behavior analysis for over 30 years, specializing in child and family issues, and is a Fellow of American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, and American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology.  He served on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Behavior Analyst, Behavioral Assessment, Child and Family Behavior Therapy, Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, and Education and Treatment of Children (which he founded as School Applications of Learning Theory).  He continues to serve on the board of the newsletter Behavior Analysis Digest.  He authored or edited 6 books and is listed in several Who's Who.  His primary occupations today are raising bonsai, playing golf, bowling, landscaping and maintaining his yard (with his wife), and playing grandfather.

A Teacher and Researcher at The University of Kansas


Bill spent 18 years at The University of Kansas where he made significant contributions to the science through his publications and teaching. His colleagues reminisce about Bill’s years in Kansas and the lasting impact of his work.


A Department Chair and ABA Leader: The Auburn Years

M. CHRISTOPHER NEWLAND (Auburn University), RICHARD KEVIN FLEMING (University of Massachusetts Medical School)

Bill Hopkins arrived at Auburn University in the Fall of 1988 to take over the position of Department Head from Peter Harzem. Bill’s eight years as Department Head were remarkable on many fronts. He recruited junior and mid-career faculty members who were solid scientists, many with funded research programs, and who shared Bill’s enthusiasm for graduate education and a meaningful undergraduate major in Psychology. He advocated a democratic approach to departmental governance that contributed to a shared sense that all faculty contributed to the department’s well-being. Bill also continued his strong presence as a leader in the area of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), which included being a strong mentor for his students, many of whom are now OBM leaders. His gentle approach served as a model for many of us who worked with Bill and provided a calm spirit even during contentious discussions. He retired from Auburn, but certainly not from behavior analysis, in 2001.

Chris Newland has been a member of ABAI since sometime in the late 70’s. He first met Bill Hopkins when he joined the Department of Psychology at Auburn University, in 1988, arriving a few days before Bill did.  Newland has remained in the department since that time where has taught the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Behavioral Pharmacology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and the Behavioral Effects of Environmental Contaminants, among other courses.  He has twice served as director of the Experimental Program at Auburn.  He maintains an active behavioral pharmacology/toxicology laboratory and his research is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.   

An Advisor to OBM Practitioners


Bill’s dedication to advancing the science continued through numerous OBM practitioners even after his retirement from academia. We were lucky in CLG to have Bill’s input and influence as we learned how to help companies embed behavior analysis into their businesses by developing internal consultants. The methodology and tools Bill helped create have stood the test of time and have been replicated across many client situations with great impact. He was also instrumental in helping develop our internal training and materials to ensure that as we translated the language of behavior analysis for business we stayed true to the underlying principles of our science. Those impacted by Bill’s enduring passion and wisdom recall his influence, both in person and via video messages.

Laura Methot’s passion and expertise are in helping organizations expand their leadership capabilities to create conditions for successful business execution. The impact of her work is evident in bottom-line business results and how her clients across multiple industries talk of tangible culture change and leadership effectiveness as a result of working with her. Recognized as a leading behavior analyst with extensive international experience in private and public sector businesses, Laura’s areas of expertise include:
  • Organizational systems and behavior analysis
  • Facilitating executive alignment and deployment effectiveness
  • Leading enterprise-wide coaching and performance improvement solutionsEducation and Background
Laura holds an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. She also earned a B.A. in Psychology (Honours) from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, where she currently is an adjunct professor. Laura has published in several peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Human Factors, Canadian Psychology, and the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and has been a guest reviewer for Canadian Psychology, a journal of the Canadian Psychological Association. She also has presented at professional conferences for the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Organizational Behavior Management Network, the Atlantic Conference on Ergonomics, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.



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