A note from BACA’s Dr. Carl Sundberg:
I would like to congratulate Dr. Alan Poling for receiving this year’s International Humanitarian Award from the American Psychological Association. I am very proud to say that Dr. Poling was an academic advisor of mine at Western Michigan University. I took six classes from Dr. Poling, worked in his lab and he served on my doctoral dissertation committee.
I have had many academic and professional influences in my life, but Dr. Poling is one of a handful who significantly impacted my behavior, my scientific curiosity, my scientific skepticism, and my work ethic. Yes, it was difficult to continue when told that your first research paper is crap, but boy did that make me stronger (after several beers and a pity party). I pass that story on to all my students. Not that I initially failed, but how Dr. Poling shaped my behavior from that point. Not through magic though, but by becoming a true student of the experimental analysis of behavior. By the time I left WMU I could safely say that I felt like I was a good researcher because of him.
Prior to sitting down in my first class with Dr. Poling, I had already heard of this brilliant professor but didn’t know what he looked like. When he walked into class he was wearing an old t-shirt, ragged jeans and maybe socks, but I don’t think so. He had long unkempt hair and proceeded to sprawl out on the desk. “Oh great,” I thought, “I got his grad assistant.” By the time he finished his first lecture I was totally blown away and at the edge of my seat. “I am in the big time,” I thought. As the years went on I became more and more impressed with Dr. Poling and I don’t think I ever missed one of his classes (nor did I ever turn in a paper late—I dared not).
It does not surprise me in the least to see Dr. Poling winning this award. I am proud to see such achievement come out of the Behavior Psychology Department of Western Michigan University. Thank you, Dr. Poling, for all you have done to make the world a better place.
Carl Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D