Ruth Eren appointed as first endowed chair

Philip Zoppi General Assignment Reporter

Southern has appointed its first endowed chair in school history.

Ruth Eren, Chair of the department of special education/reading and Director of the center of excellence on autism spectrum disorders, found out last week that she was going to become the first endowed chair of the university.

“I was absolutely thrilled when I found out,” said Eren. “It’s really a great honor. I look forward to bringing the expertise I have in autism to enhance the goals of the center.”

Becoming the first endowed chair in school history has a lot of responsibility that comes along with it.

Some of the goals and requirements an endowed chair has includes, enhancing the initiatives in the center of excellence on autism spectrum disorder, representing the center and it’s accomplishments at state, national and international levels and help strengthen and expand affiliations with state, national and international entities.

Eren plans to do this and more as she embarks upon becoming the university’s first endowed chair.

The center of excellence on autism spectrum disorders is broken up into three main divisions that consist of training, research and outreach.

The training division is used to help educate people working with students who have autism spectrum disorder on what it’s all about and how to work with these students. The research division is used to validate training materials and translate this science into practice. The outreach division’s job is to identify who needs the center’s assistance.

Eren works closely with all three divisions to ensure the center of excellence is running smoothly.

Eren’s hard work and dependability do not go unnoticed. Angela Lopez-Velasquez, the program coordinator at the center of excellence, works directly with Eren and had nothing but positive reviews about Eren.

“I think that she is the best person for the job of endowed chair,” said Lopez-Velasquez. “She’s always been a leader in everything that she does. After becoming chair for us she has really changed the department for the better so I have no doubt she’s going to be fantastic as endowed chair.”

Eren has a lot of practice and training with autism spectrum disorder. Eren has been a supervisor, teacher and school administrator for a lot of her career and those jobs involved her working with kids who had autism spectrum disorder.

Eren became interested in autism spectrum disorder back when she was a student at Southern. Eren has had a passion for it ever since her college days and knew it would take a lot of work to become knowledgeable in the subject.

“As a supervisor and a support for the teachers I supervised in public schools, I needed to know about the disability,” said Eren. “I did a lot of work and research throughout my career. I visited programs both in this country and Canada to figure out what the best practices for kids with autism are.”

The mission of the center of excellence on autism spectrum disorders is to serve as a resource and collaborative partner for individuals aged three to 21 with autism spectrum disorders in the state of Connecticut.

Eren said she is very humbled by the selection of the committee for her to become endowed chair and will do the job to the very best of her ability.

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