Building a Center of Excellence in Autism

Bud Mace

Professor, Center for Psychological Studies
Building a Center of Excellence in Autism

by Felecia Henderson

F. Charles (Bud) Mace, Ph.D., is no stranger to developing clinical programs for children with autism spectrum disorder. He has conducted nationally recognized research at universities such as Lehigh, Rutgers, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. An educator and researcher, in 1995, Mace became the youngest person to receive the prestigious Don F. Hake Award for Translational Research from the American Psychological Association.
The need for more direct services, professional development, and research has led NSU to create the Autism Institute at the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development (MSC). As the institute’s executive director, Mace will continue NSU’s quest to be at the forefront of autism-related services and research. He will use his leadership to expand NSU’s autism research by encompassing the entire life span of those with the disorder. In addition to directing the Autism Institute, Mace is the Unicorn Children’s Foundation Endowed Chair and a professor of psychology at NSU’s Center for Psychological Studies (CPS).

How do you view each of your roles at NSU?
I am honored to be the recipient of the Unicorn Children’s Foundation Endowed Chair. It gives special visibility to the Autism Institute, MSC, CPS, and NSU as a whole. My roles are to provide leadership in bringing innovative services to individuals with autism and their families.

How are students taught to become future leaders in the areas of autism?
MSC’s programs provide training opportunities for students with graduate and research assistantships, and pre and postdoctoral fellowships. NSU students collaborate on research projects with faculty members, presenting their findings at national, state, and local conferences and co-authoring research papers.

How is NSU planning to grow as a leader in the field of autism research and treatment?
My priorities are to establish new programs that allow us to recruit first-rate clinical researchers who will attract federal research grants.

What type of research is NSU conducting?
The Baudhuin Preschool for children with autism, part of NSU’s Mailman Segal Center, has joined the universities of Miami, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Colorado at Denver to evaluate outcomes of the preschool’s early intervention model. NSU also is part of a research project that integrates basic behavioral and clinical models in cases of treatment relapse. For that, we are collaborating with the University of New Hampshire, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Developmental Disabilities of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Utah State University, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

What are some of the clinical services for autism that NSU offers?
Susan Kabot, Ed.D., of the Mailman Segal Center, was instrumental in establishing a university-wide Interdisciplinary Council for the Study of Autism. This collaborative group centralizes programs, services, research, and expertise in multiple areas of autism treatments. MSC offers services that include Starting Right, serving children (18 months–3 years) at risk or diagnosed with autism and their parents; the Baudhuin Preschool Program in collaboration with the Broward County School Board, for children (3–5 years) with an educational eligibility of autism; and the Autism Consortium, which provides consultation to schools in several states regarding program development.