UMassOnline Graduate Behavioral Intervention in Autism Program Gains National Distinction with Sloan Consortium Annual Award

UMassOnline Graduate Behavioral Intervention in Autism Program Gains National Distinction with Sloan Consortium Annual Award

Most Outstanding Online Learning and Teaching Program Collaboratively Developed by UMass Lowell, UMass Medical School-Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center and UMassOnline

Since Program’s Online Debut in 2005, Enrollments Have More than Quadrupled

SHREWSBURY, MA., October 21, 2008 – UMassOnline Chief Executive Officer David Gray announced today that the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, has selected UMass Lowell’s Online Graduate Behavioral Intervention in Autism Program for its annual award in the category of ‘Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program’ in the nation. This innovative online program, introduced in the Fall of 2005 and designed to better prepare families and professionals to respond to challenges presented by the growing population of children diagnosed with autism and related disorders, was collaboratively developed by UMass Lowell, the UMass Medical School-EK Shriver Center, and UMassOnline.

"This national award distinction from Sloan-C, which has been supporting outstanding online learning implementations and research since 1992," said Mr. Gray, "is a tribute to the University of Massachusetts’ unique ability to draw upon its broad-based, system-wide resources for the collaborative development of a much needed and very timely online program.  The program draws its strength through combining our institution's tremendous academic expertise, the latest in scientific and medical knowledge, and our proven online technology development and adaptation for distance learning."

In designating the UMass Lowell Online Graduate Behavioral Intervention in Autism Program for this tribute, making it one of only twelve online excellence and effectiveness award recipients this year, Sloan-C wrote that the distinction was being awarded “For creating a rigorous, high-quality online graduate program that meets the growing need for individuals with expertise in dealing with the challenges of autism.” As confirmed by the Autism Society of America, in February 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDME autism prevalence report. The report, which looked at a sample of 8 year olds in 2000 and 2002, concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 150 American children, and almost 1 in 94 boys.

"The recognition of this Certificate is rewarding to all of the faculty who have worked so diligently to make sure that working professionals and parents with children who have autism benefit from this much needed program," said Jacqueline F. Moloney, UMass Lowell Executive Vice Chancellor. "I am extremely proud of the faculty and staff who worked so collaboratively to build this online certificate as a highly interactive, rich experience for the students who enroll in it."

Drs. Richard Fleming, Assistant Professor and Charles Hamad, Associate Director of the Shriver Center at UMass Medical School, commented, "Receiving this Sloan-C award will only further the commitment of our collaborative team to provide the best and most current online training program for professionals and parents who on a daily basis impact the lives of children with autism. This award is a great honor."

The Sloan-C Annual Awards presentation will be held November 6, 2008 in Orlando, Florida. More information:

Date: 10/21/08

Shown in above photo from left to right: Barbara Macaulay and Colleen Daly – UMassOnline, Richard Fleming – UMass Medical School Shriver Center, Charlotte Mandell and Richard Siegel – UMass Lowell Psychology Department, Catherine Kendrick, Jacqueline Moloney and Steven Tello – UMass Lowell Continuing Studies