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SUNY Empire’s Autism Center Gets a New Name and Logo

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November 18,2021

SARATOGA SPRINGS — SUNY Empire State College Officer in Charge Nathan Gonyea has announced the SUNY Empire State College Center for Autism Inclusivity’s new name, Center for Autism Advocacy: Research, Education, and Supports, during the college’s inaugural conference, Partners in Applied Behavior Analysis. Gonyea also announced an endowment from Susan and Jack Turben that funds the center’s director role in perpetuity.

The Center for Autism Advocacy’s new name more closely represents the center’s goal of supporting students with autism, providing the autism community with up-to-date research on autism spectrum disorders, and education faculty and staff on how to mee the needs of students with autism in online and in-person learning environments. 

SUNY Empire State College also announced that the Center for Autism Advocacy’s directorship is permanently endowed thanks to a gift from SUNY Empire alumna and child-development expert Susan ’72 and Jack Turben. In recognition, the role, currently filled by Dr. Noor Syed, is now the Susan H. Turben Director for Autism Advocacy. 

In August of last year, SUNY Empire and Anderson Center celebrated the launch of the Center for Autism Inclusivity to provide educational support and research to better serve individuals with autism in the classroom and the workplace. In partnership with Anderson Center, the center promotes workforce development for professionals serving individuals with autism, creates autism-inclusive learning environments, and helps meet the growing demand for professionals working with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. SUNY Empire’s Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, which launches in spring 2022, prepares students to address the educational, emotional, and social needs of individuals with autism. 

“Over the past 50 years, we’ve built upon the diversity of our students – developing, implementing, and assessing approaches to learning that recognize and adapt to their distinct needs,” said SUNY Empire State College Officer in Charge Nathan Gonyea, Ph.D. “The Center for Autism Advocacy: Research, Education, and Supports is a shining example of our mission, and its new name encompasses the full continuum of services we provide.”

“As we collaborated more extensively with our autistic colleagues, we realized that the Center for Autism Inclusivity’s name did not fully represent the scope of our goals,” added SUNY Empire State College’s Susan H. Turben Director for Autism Advocacy Noor Syed, Ph.D. “Our new name, Center for Autism Advocacy: Research, Education, and Supports, better reflects our mission of working with, listening to, and learning from the autistic community to engage in initiatives that best support autistic and neurodivergent values.” 

For more information about the Center for Autism Advocacy: Research, Education, and Supports and it its programs, visit www.esc.edu/autism.