Jose Martinez-Diaz, a visionary educator who established and led Florida Tech’s Applied Behavior Analysis programs to global notoriety and success, passed away on September 21, 2020 from complications from diabetes with his wife, Danette, in its ratings. He was 70 years old.
Martinez-Diaz was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1950 and immigrated with his sister to Miami in 1961, temporarily leaving his parents behind. This traumatic uprooting would have a profound and lasting impact on his life, sparking his desire to improve the lives of vulnerable people in need of both comfort and meaningful action, he said in his biography.
This determination “to channel fear, anger and resentment into positive change for everyone” guided her lifelong commitment to behavior analysis.
He became a naturalized citizen in 1976 and, a year later, received his master’s degree from the University of West Virginia. He got his doctorate. in Clinical Psychology, majoring in Behavior Analysis and Therapy, from West Virginia in 1984. He began working as a Behavior Analysis Practitioner in the late 1970s and has held several administrative positions in the public sectors and private from 1988 to 1996.
In 1997, Martinez-Diaz founded and chaired ABA Technologies Inc., a company founded on the scientific approach of Applied Behavior Analysis to understand behavior. He specializes in instructional design and technology and organizational consulting.
A year later, in a fateful relationship, Martinez-Diaz came to Florida Tech and founded the school’s first ABA program, which he led until December 2018.
For several years, he taught almost all of the required courses in the program. He also founded and served as Florida Tech’s ABA Online program, originally developing most of the course materials for the entire program himself.
Always ahead of everyone else, he was developing course material for an updated version of his online curriculum at the time of his death.
In the beginning, Florida Tech was one of the few universities in the United States to offer an online professional development program in ABA for people seeking certification.
âJose had a deep well of compassion and kindness that I will never forget,â said Florida Tech President T. Dwayne McCay. âThe challenges he overcame and the hardships he endured might have shaped him in a different way, but he drew strength from his life experiences, and that made him so good at what he did. His impact at Florida Tech and his many students cannot be overstated, and he will be sorely missed by all of us. ”
Martinez-Diaz continued to build on the foundation he established at Florida Tech, eventually launching several certificate programs and six ABA degree programs, including the ABA Masters Program, the Behavior Management Program. organizational, an Orlando-based master’s program, a doctorate. program and a hybrid online program. He also created the university’s School of Behavioral Analysis, which enabled integration into multiple ABA programs. He was principal of the school until December 2018.
He was also involved in the creation of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech.
In 2013, he was appointed Associate Dean of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts. In 2019, he began to serve as a university professor.
“He was a beacon of light and kindness that drew us all in, and the world is now a darker place,” says Lisa Steelman, dean of the College of Psychology and the Liberal Arts. “We draw strength knowing that his legacy will live on in the students and programs he loved so much.”
Outside of Florida Tech, Martinez-Diaz has been heavily involved in strengthening and expanding his chosen field. He was president of the Florida Association of Behavior Analysis and, in 2005, received the organization’s most prestigious award, the Charles H. Cox Award for Outstanding Service and Advancement of Behavior Analysis in Florida.
He was also a member of the Florida Behavior Analysis Peer Review Committee and the Florida Behavior Analysis Certification Committee. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, where he received the Jerry Shook Award for his contributions to professional accreditation in behavior analysis.
He was also a member of the Behavior Analysts Certification Committee for seven years. In 2019, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences at West Virginia University.
Martinez-Diaz also had other interests and passions.
He owned more than 12,000 vinyl records, 45,000 CDs, 14,000 videos (sorted by genre and alphabetically) and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment to enjoy his vast personal collection. He was also a fan of sashimi.
The news of his passing sparked a wave of support and memories on social media, where several associates and former students wrote about how Martinez-Diaz changed their lives through his upbeat approach and passion for analysis. applied behavior.
Details of a public memorial service will be announced at a later date.