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

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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.

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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

"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: http://www.sloanconsortium.org/awards/2008sloan-c_awards_brochure.pdf

About Sloan-C

Originally funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Sloan-C is now a non-profit, member-sustained organization helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of online higher education. Sloan-C works to help make education a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines, by helping learning organizations continually improve their online programs.

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center has been a pioneer in research, education, and service for people with developmental disabilities and their families for over three decades. Founded in 1969, it was one of the first Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (MRDDRC) and University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in the United States. From its inception, the Shriver Center has been devoted to discovering the bases of developmental disabilities, as well as preventing its causes, and to supporting and facilitating the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and mental retardation into society.

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $179 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts.

About UMass Lowell

The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers over 80 degree programs at all levels through the doctorate, and presently has over 400 faculty members and a student enrollment of more than 12,000. It has one of the largest continuing education units in New England, offering a wide array of fully-accredited, part-time courses, degrees and certificates to adult learners on campus, online, and at company sites worldwide. Its Continuing Studies Division was one of the early pioneers in online education, and has been making UMass Lowell's traditional academic programs available to students all over the world since 1996.

About UMassOnline

UMassOnline, the online learning consortium of the University of Massachusetts, provides the highest quality education offered by the UMass system in a flexible, online format enabling students, professionals, and lifelong learners to take courses anywhere, anytime. With 80 undergraduate and graduate degree, certificate and professional development programs and more than 1,500 courses, UMassOnline offers one of the largest accredited online programs available. Programs span the disciplines for which the University is best known: liberal arts, education, management, nursing, public health, information technology, and other disciplines. For more about UMassOnline, go to http://www.umassonline.net or visit our blog at http://www.umassonlineblog.com.

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