Aurora University

President’s Letter

Welcome to the 2020–2021 academic year! While classes in Williams Bay and Woodstock are F2F (face-to-face), many Aurora students engage in remote formats. Those programs that include significant clinical components, such as nursing and athletic training, rely upon both options. Numbers in online graduate programs continue to swell as busy parents balance their children’s school schedules with work, family, and personal obligations. Our Spartans are engaged in intensive conditioning workouts, preparing with anticipation for the possibility of competition in the spring. It is fall at AU — a little different for sure — but nonetheless a good and invigorating time on campus.

Recent months required an intensive focus on strategies for protecting the health and welfare of the university family. Summer also brought many reminders that the full promise of America is yet to be realized. The human toll exacted by these twin crises was readily apparent as our students and families struggled to meet routine household expenses. AU responded by pushing federal CARES Act relief dollars out the door quickly. Then we mobilized giving through establishment of the new WeAreOneAU Fund. This effort will continue throughout the year ahead as we put the needs of members of the AU community first. Thank you so much!

As we navigated through the summer, we began also to make our way into the future. Our first feature story introduces you to a constellation of initiatives relating to the growing number of potential college students on the autism spectrum. After years of careful study and preparation, we have identified a number of important goals:

  • First, we want to ready undergraduate and graduate students for emerging careers supporting individuals on the spectrum.
  • Second, we intend to launch new summer programs for neurodiverse high school students, designed to help participants contemplate the possibility of higher education.
  • We look forward next to welcoming our first cohort of college-capable students on the spectrum to the Aurora campus as freshmen.
  • Finally, the university will collaborate with students and their families as well as prospective employers to ensure successful transitions into the workforce.

In all likelihood, our student body already includes a number of students on the spectrum. Our broader initiative will have the added benefit of deepening awareness of the disorder and equipping faculty and staff with the knowledge and understanding necessary to help these students realize their goals and aspirations.

This work comes naturally to us at Aurora University, for ours is a rich tradition of working at the intersection of hope and need. This academic year we will build upon this history in exciting new ways as we move forward together.

Dr. Sherrick SignatureRebecca L. Sherrick, PhD