Saint Mary’s launches Master of Autism Studies program

first_imgIn 2018, Saint Mary’s will introduce new graduate program, a Master of Autism Studies. Although students cannot begin their coursework until 2019, the program will begin accepting applications and hosting workshops this calendar year. “Everyone knows about the critical need for understanding and responding to autism in the world today,” Michael Waddell, program director, said in an email. “The Master of Autism Studies program responds to this need by examining autism from scientific, therapeutic and humanistic perspectives.”The first proposal for the program was submitted in the spring of 2011, Waddell said. This program speaks to the values of Saint Mary’s and specifically a Holy Cross education, said Susan Latham, a Master of Autism Studies faculty member and program director of the Master of Science in speech language pathology program.“I think it’s important that this is happening at Saint Mary’s because we are Holy Cross. And Holy Cross means that we are educating our students in a way that reflects the way that Fr. Moreau envisioned our work happening,” Latham said. “So for example, one characteristic of Holy Cross educators is respect for the individual in that we don’t concern ourselves with only the mind but also the heart, and that really speaks to our values and how we approach families with whom we work.” Waddell said that throughout their time in the program, students will study autism in relation to both intervention approaches as well as other subjects.“The Master of Autism Studies program will provide the interdisciplinary, autism-specific expertise students need to become leaders in autism-related fields,” he said. “Unlike other programs, the Master of Autism Studies will introduce students to the full range of evidence-based autism interventions, including — but not limited to — behavioralist approaches. And it will do all of these things in conversation with the Catholic tradition.”Waddell said the program looks beyond just the science and examines the intersection of autism with the humanities.“Autism therapies are important because, when done well, they can improve the quality of life of people who live with autism,” he said. “And, of course, in order to provide the best autism therapies, you have to understand the science of autism. But autism is about more than a diagnosis and treatment.  It affects every dimension of life. That’s why it’s important to think about autism from humanistic perspectives too.”In these humanities courses, students will study autistic art and literature, as well as take into account how philosophical, theological, political and legal lenses can aid in the understanding of autism, Waddell said. “The humanities courses in the autism studies program help us to think about autism as more than a diagnosis and treatment — to understand that autism shapes the lives and identities of human beings and is giving rise to a distinctive culture,” he said. “This is the only program I know of that takes such a broad approach to thinking about autism as part of the human experience.”This specific approach is unique to Saint Mary’s. Most other programs across the nation look solely at the scientific aspects, and the holistic approach taken in this program is “visionary,” Latham said.“There aren’t other programs like this,” she added. “This is sort of groundbreaking, in having this degree being offered. It’s nice to know that right here, on this campus, we are creating something and are really passionate about something that I feel is visionary, that is not what everybody is doing.”The program brings together faculty and faculty fellows who are experts in various aspects of autism studies, Waddell said. “Every person teaching in the program has a significant interest in autism and brings a special kind of expertise to the table,” he said. “In my personal opinion, the quality of the faculty and fellows is one of the greatest strengths of the program. I want to take every course my colleagues will be teaching.”On March 2, the program will host its first workshop. Waddell said workshops will be focused on intervention techniques, sometimes offering an opportunity for certification.“The autism intervention workshops bring world-renowned experts to campus to provide training in state-of-the-art autism interventions,” he said. “… We strive to represent the full range of evidence-based interventions rather than just limiting ourselves to one particular approach, as happens in many programs.”Waddell said that many of the workshops offer students and community members the opportunity to achieve valuable certification in intervention methods at little to no cost. The upcoming one will be cosponsored by the Master of Autism Studies program, the Communicative Sciences and Disorders department and LOGAN Community Resources. It is free and open to all, as long as participants register online prior to the workshop. “This is the sort of thing that students can list on resumes and professionals can use to maintain licensure,” Waddell said. “The training would cost a lot of money for students and community members if they pursued it on their own, but it’s being offered for free in our workshops through the financial support of sponsors.”Latham looks forward to sharing her passion for autism studies to both the community through workshops and through teaching, she said. “It’s really encouraging to me to know that there are people that think that there is value in this as a graduate study and that they have that same level of compassion and concern for individuals on the autism spectrum,” she said. Tags: Autism, Holy Cross, Master of Autism Studieslast_img read more

NCAA hits Trojans with postseason ban

first_imgFor years, USC fans waited to hear the result of the NCAA’s long-standing investigation into the school’s athletic program.What they heard Thursday wasn’t what they expected.Silent · Athletic Director Mike Garrett has refused to talk to the media since the sanctions were announced. – Courtesy USC Sports Information In a 67-page report the NCAA compiled and released to the public at noon Thursday, the collegiate athletics governing body found instances proving a lack of institutional control and numerous violations involving the two primary suspects: “student-athlete one” (Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush) and “student-athlete two” (one-and-done prep star O.J. Mayo.)The NCAA’s four-year investigation centered on the school’s alleged football- and basketball-related violations, relating largely to against-the-rules benefits Bush and Mayo received while attending USC.The USC football program received a two-year bowl ban and a loss of football scholarships – 30 scholarships over a three-year period, 10 annually. Both football and basketball will also be put on four years probation.With its ban from postseason play, USC becomes the first Football Bowl Subdivision school to be so punished since the Alabama served a two-year ban last decade.Bush, who was ruled ineligible in 2004 and 2005 by the NCAA, was the subject of much controversy after he left the football program. His dealings with two would-be sports marketers — Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels — were investigated by the NCAA, Pac-10 and the FBI.In turn, USC has been ordered to forfeit every victory that Bush participated in while ineligible. The two-year bowl ban also comes as a direct result of Bush’s ineligibility, according to  Committee of Infractions director Paul Dee.“I am disappointed by [Thursday’s] decision and disagree with the NCAA’s findings,” Bush said in a statement Thursday. “I will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and USC, as I did during the investigation. In the meantime, I will continue to focus on making a positive impact for the University and for the community where I live.”USC managed to avoid further punishment that would have imposed a television ban on the football team. The NCAA found that the sanctions it chose to  impose “respond to the nature of violations and the level of institutional responsibility.”The Trojans’  basketball program and the women’s tennis team were also cited in the report the NCAA compiled with its findings on the athletic programThe NCAA did not take any further action against the basketball program.  Earlier this year, the university self-imposed sanctions on the basketball team, banning it from postseason play, forfeiting victories from Mayo’s lone season at the school and reducing the number of scholarships for the next two years.Speaking to reporters Thursday, USC basketball coach Kevin O’Neill said he agreed with the decision to self-impose sanctions but said he couldn’t speculate on whether it should have been an option for the football  program.The women’s tennis violation involved Romanian athlete Gabriela Niculescu, who has since transferred to Idaho.  According to the report, USC chose to vacate all the wins — from 2006 to 2009 — she participated in.The university has announced plans to appeal the NCAA’s football-related findings, which could affect the timetable of the punishments. If the appeal has not been ruled on by mid-January, USC will technically be eligible to compete in any bowl game for the 2010 season.USC also released the original 169-page report it submitted to the NCAA in December 2009. From the report, the the Trojans hope to prove their relative innocence.“There is some guilt in some penalties, but the punishment is too severe and that’s why the appeal process is taking place,” first-year coach Lane Kiffin told media members in USC’s Heritage Hall on Thursday.last_img read more

Student Group Endorses Female Politician for Senatorial Race

first_imgExecutives and members of Monrovia-based Concern Students Movement of Liberia over the weekend unanimously endorsed the candidacy of a female politician, Cecelia Cuffy Brown to contest the ensuing mid-term senatorial election in Montserrado County. The mid-term senatorial election is scheduled for October, but in Montserrado County, many persons including the incumbent Senator Joyce Musu Freeman Sumo, George Weah, among several persons have expressed interest to race for the lone senatorial seat. According to the National Secretary of the Concern Students Movement of Liberia, Kesseley Q. Barzah, the students’ movement has keenly observed Madam Brown many contributions toward improving the lives of residents of the county. “Madam Cuffy Brown has contributed significantly toward the growth and development of our beloved country through youth empowerment and the development of sanitation in the various communities as well as empowering women and children,” Barzah declared. He said, by implementing such achievements, the students feel Madam Brown has therefore created a platform that gave birth to the establishment of the maritime beach cleaning-up campaign; an exercise that made a significance impact in bringing the New Kru Town and West Point beaches to level of cleanliness up to date. Her actions, the students believe paved way for jobs for over 400 inhabitants of those communities, and also her recent advocacy on student endowment funds from the National Oil Company of Liberia’s benefits that is yet to come.“The Students believe this is another welcoming development on the part of Madam Brown and therefore, we must encourage her to do more to transform our society.” He recalled that it was through the stewardship of Madam Brown that the residents of New Kru Town recently received “abundance” of food from the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), which contributed towards saving the lives of the beneficiaries from starvation, among other several other contributions she made and continue to make. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more