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Autism Program Wins Award

By From the Lowell Sun

LOWELL -- The Sloan Consortium, a nonprofit organization that works with education providers to improve quality, scale and breadth of online programs, recently named UMass Lowell's online graduate program in Behavioral Intervention in Autism as the 2008 winner of the Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program in the nation.

UMass Lowell was recognized by the Sloan Consortium 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."

UMass Lowell is the only winner of the Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program award this year and is one of only a dozen institutions nationwide that will be honored at the 14th Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning this month.

"UMass Lowell's innovative program is designed to better prepare professionals and families to respond to challenges presented by the growing population of children with autism and related disorders," said Professor Richard Siegel, coordinator of the online graduate certificate program. "The program was developed collaboratively by UMass Lowell, UMass Medical School-Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center and UMass Online. Since it was launched in 2005, enrollment in the program has quadrupled."

Behavior analysis, the focus of the UMass Lowell program, is documented as the most effective approach to improving the lives of people diagnosed with autism, explained

Professor Charlotte Mandell, vice provost for undergraduate education and coordinator of the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst track of the autism program.

"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 Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. "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."