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School of Professional Development Honored for Collaboration with Human Services Agency

Receives the UPCEA Engagement  Award  for Partnership with Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. 

Stony Brook University's School of Professional Development has received the UPCEA Engagement Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) in recognition of the School's innovative partnership with  Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE). The Engagement Award, which was presented at UPCEA's national conference on March 23, honors an “outstanding mutually beneficial exchange” between a university and “one or more external constituents, such as local communities, corporations, government organizations or associations.” 

FREE is an organization that supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. The SPD-FREE partnership involves delivering both graduate degree and non-credit programs to FREE's direct support professionals on-site at their Bethpage offices and at Stony Brook Southampton. The collaborative program was designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of staff, increase retention, and fulfill FREE's mission of re-engineering itself to become a learning organization. 

The partnership began last summer with two digital badge programs in leadership and food literacy. Two master’s degree cohorts were launched in the fall.  

“The amount of positive energy that has been cultivated and has permeated the organization has been amazing,” said Dr. Christopher Long, president of FREE. “This partnership has allowed us to take our commitment to education one step further by offering a graduate-level degree, from a prestigious institution, to our dedicated team members that is both affordable and accommodating of their busy schedules.”

Carolyn Jankowksi, SPD’s assistant dean for Human Service Programs said, “Developing these programs with FREE has been a rewarding experience.” When asked about the award, she added, “All of us at SPD are thrilled to have our work recognized by the peers in our industry.”

Additional information is available at .


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