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FEATURED SPOTLIGHT

December 6, 2018

Brooklyn Graduate Student with Law Degree Serves Disabled Community

Graduate student Andrew Toscano of Brooklyn, NY, works for Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), which serves New York City and Long Island. As a Family Support Services Coordinator, he helps families obtain eligibility and the necessary funding to access services from New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. “As everything I do in some way helps the individual and his/her family, the most rewarding part for me is helping all of the people I work with to become as independent as possible,” Andrew says. Though he already held a J.D. degree from New York Law School, Andrew earned an M.S. in Special Education and Teaching from Mercy College in 2011. He attributes the change in career path to an eventful life and divine providence. “God allowed me to freely make decisions and brought me people who led me to my current position both professionally and personally,” he explains. “I decided that I wanted to help those in most need and chose a career working with the mentally and developmentally disabled,” Andrew says. “My JD was useful for several years (and still is), but the MS in Special Education was the degree I felt would be most useful in a variety of positions.” Andrew student taught middle school for a semester and planned to teach special education, but a chance meeting on the subway led him to work with disabled adults in a different capacity. “I had a conversation with a woman who mentioned that there was a position open at an agency. I decided to follow up, was offered the position, and thus began my work with disabled adults,” he says. Andrew and his wife, Margrett, both lector and teach RCIA at All Saints Roman Catholic Parish in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Both are pursuing graduate theology study at CDU, which the Diocese of Brooklyn generously funds for those working in ministries with in the diocese. Andrew says they are both grateful to the Diocese for making Catholic higher education possible through CDU for those who serve the diocese’s parishes. The Diocese of Brooklyn is the nation’s fifth most populous, serving 1.5 million Catholics and spanning a 179-square mile area. “My wife and I both wish to become DREs and work full time with the Diocese, and this program so far is exceeding our expectations. The online aspect is the biggest asset for us as we both work full time and it allows us to obtain a quality education without affecting our employment and exhausting us with physical classes,” he says. “We are very happy to be with CDU,” Andrew says. “In addition to the online aspect, the professionalism and enthusiasm of the CDU team is refreshing. We also feel comfortable because CDU seems to believe in authentic Catholic teaching without some of the abuses we have seen in other ‘Catholic colleges.’” he adds.
November 19, 2018

Higher Learning Commission Grants Candidacy to CDU

At its November 1, 2018, meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) named Catholic Distance University (CDU) a Candidate for Accreditation. Founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States, HLC is the largest of the regional accreditors, accrediting 1,000 colleges and universities in the North Central region. Nineteen states comprise the region, which includes West Virginia, CDU’s home state. Candidacy is official recognition of affiliation with HLC. Full initial accreditation is usually achieved in a period of two to four additional years. CDU has been continuously accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, a national accreditor, for over 30 years and is authorized to grant degrees through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. In June 2018, the Graduate School of Theology was named an Associate Member of the Association of Theological Schools, which accredits more than 270 theological schools and most Catholic seminaries in the United States. CDU’s Board of Trustees, which is chaired by Dr. Charles Wasaff, has identified full regional and programmatic accreditation as the University’s foremost priority in its Strategic Plan. President Marianne Evans Mount explains, “In addition to our 30-year history of accreditation with the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, we are fully committed to achieving initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Theological Schools to demonstrate the quality of our academic programs and the value of the credentials earned at CDU by our outstanding graduates who are breaking new ground for the Church in pursuing online theological education.”

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