Mason Autism Support Initiative
(MASI)

MASI is a comprehensive, fee-based program that provides additional intensive support services to students on the Autism Spectrum beyond typical higher education accommodations. MASI uses a team-based approach to assist students in achieving their goals in college. 

Components of the MASI program include all of the following:

Learning Strategist

Graduate students or professionals that support students with developing strategies for academic and social success, making connections to campus resources, and facilitating communication with faculty. Learning Strategists meet with students 1-2 times a week.

Peer Mentor

Undergraduate students that support social needs of students. Peer Mentors meet with their mentees 1-2 times a week connecting them to the Mason community.

UNIV Courses

Each semester, students take ½ credit individualized UNIV courses that focus on topics related to the transition into college, campus resources, social skills, identity development, and career readiness with an emphasis on independence.

Social Events

Monthly social activities for students that consist of activities on and off campus, planned by the Social Event Planning Committee.

UPCOMING MASI INFORMATION SESSIONS

 

Friday, October 7 – In-person (9:00 AM – 10:00 AM)

Tuesday, October 11 – Virtual (10:00 AM – 11:00 AM)

Wednesday, October 26 – In-person (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM)

Tuesday, November 8 – Virtual (2:00 PM – 3:00 PM)

Wednesday, November 30 – In-person (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM)

Tuesday, December 6 – Virtual (4:00 PM – 5:00 PM)

Session Sign Up

Application process 2022-2023

The application window for the 2022-2023 academic year is now closed.

JOB OPPORTUNITY

Learning Strategist/Learning Coach, Disability Services

Responsibilities

The Mason Autism Support Initiative (MASI), and Executive Functioning Program (EFP) are fee-based programs offered through Disability Services, providing additional supports and resources beyond disability-related accommodations. MASI provides individualized, comprehensive social and academic supports to degree-seeking Mason students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). EFP provides academic supports for students diagnosed with disabilities related to executive functioning skills.

The Learning Strategist (MASI) and the Learning Coach (EFP) meet and correspond with students regularly and consistently on a weekly basis to provide support with many aspects of university life, depending on their individual needs. Possible areas of support include:

  • Implementation of strategies and development of skills in self-advocacy, time management, organization, planning/prioritizing, studying, goal-setting, problem-solving, self-monitoring, and decision-making.
  • Assistance with and modeling of effective communication with faculty, classmates, and peers.
  • Collaboratively identifying and addressing social needs and navigating challenging situations.
  • Assistance with accessing and utilizing campus resources.
  • Assistance with coordination and collaboration with university faculty and staff, departments, and community organizations as needed.
  • Preparation for transition into the world of work.

The Learning Strategist spends 1 to 2 hours a week per student working together during individual face to face (or virtual) meetings. Additional responsibilities may include check-ins via email, text, and/or phone with students, faculty, staff and/or parents. Position will require approximately 10-29 hours each week. This range can vary based on student case load. Learning Strategists are assigned up to 7 students.

The Learning Coach spends up to 4 hours a week per student working together during individual face to face (or virtual) meetings. Additional responsibilities may include check-ins via email, text, and/or phone with students, faculty, staff and/or parents. Position will require approximately 10-29 hours each week. This range can vary based on student case load. Learning Coaches are assigned up to 4-5 students.

Qualifications

The successful candidate will have an understanding of disabilities, particularly ASD, as well as:

  • Current enrollment in a graduate program in Special Education, Counseling, Psychology, Social Work, Educational Psychology, or a related field or have relevant education and experience.
  • Experience and comfort working with individuals with disabilities, preferably with young adults.  
  • Ability to organize and coordinate with on- and off-campus resources.
  • Qualities of being reliable, responsible, self-motivated, confident, sincere, flexible, patient, dedicated, observant, and considerate.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Creative and broad-level thinking skills.
  • A demonstrated ability to collaborate and communicate regularly with other team members in order to monitor students’ progress and meet their individualized needs.
  • Openness to new ideas.

Preferred qualifications include: experience working with individuals with ASD or other related disabilities; familiarity with the field of higher education (ideally some experience working at a college or university); a demonstrated understanding of common needs of individuals with ASD or other related disabilities, particularly young adults; experience working with college students; and knowledge of issues regarding transition from high school to postsecondary education for students with disabilities.

Compensation

$21/hour for meetings with students and participation in staffing meetings, supervisions, and administrative work.

To apply:

To apply for this position, please submit a letter of interest, resume, and contact info of three professional references to the information listed below. 

Jennifer Torrance, Director MASI

Disability Services

SUB 1, Suite 2500, MSN 5C9

Email: jtorranc@gmu.edu 

Website: https://ods.gmu.edu  

Frequently asked questions

In order to learn more about the MASI program, including the different components and the application process, we invite you to attend an informational session. Please visit the MASI page for details on upcoming dates and times for informational sessions. 

Additionally, if you are interested in taking a tour of the George Mason University campus, please visit this link for details: Visit Mason

For any additional questions please call 703-993-2474 or email MASI staff at masi@gmu.edu.

In 2014, Disability Services noticed a growing number of students expressing interest in having additional support services beyond the standard accommodations offered in higher education. The staff began researching and consulting with colleges and universities that had ASD support programs in place. In the Fall of 2014, the Mason Autism Support Initiative (MASI) launched as a pilot program with 8 students. Each year since then the program has grown and currently serves 39 students.

Position description: Learning Strategist/Learning Coach, Disability Services

Responsibilities

The Mason Autism Support Initiative (MASI), and Executive Functioning Program (EFP) are fee-based programs offered through Disability Services, providing additional supports and resources beyond disability-related accommodations. MASI provides individualized, comprehensive social and academic supports to degree-seeking Mason students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  EFP provides academic supports for students diagnosed with disabilities related to executive functioning skills.

The Learning Strategist (MASI) and the Learning Coach (EFP) meet and correspond with students regularly and consistently on a weekly basis to provide support with many aspects of university life, depending on their individual needs. Possible areas of support include:

  • Implementation of strategies and development of skills in self-advocacy, time management, organization, planning/prioritizing, studying, goal-setting, problem-solving, self-monitoring, and decision-making.
  • Assistance with and modeling of effective communication with faculty, classmates, and peers.
  • Collaboratively identifying and addressing social needs and navigating challenging situations.
  • Assistance with accessing and utilizing campus resources.
  • Assistance with coordination and collaboration with university faculty and staff, departments, and community organizations as needed.
  • Preparation for transition into the world of work.

The Learning Strategist spends 1 to 2 hours a week per student working together during individual face to face (or virtual) meetings. Additional responsibilities may include check-ins via email, text, and/or phone with students, faculty, staff and/or parents. Position will require approximately 10-15 hours each week. This range can vary based on student case load. Learning Strategists are assigned up to 7 students.

The Learning Coach spends up to 4 hours a week per student working together during individual face to face (or virtual) meetings. Additional responsibilities may include check-ins via email, text, and/or phone with students, faculty, staff and/or parents. Position will require approximately 10-15 hours each week. This range can vary based on student case load. Learning Coaches are assigned up to 4-5 students.

Qualifications

The successful candidate will have an understanding of disabilities, particularly ASD, as well as:

  • Current enrollment in a graduate program in Special Education, Counseling, Psychology, Social Work, Educational Psychology, or a related field or have relevant education and experience.
  • Experience and comfort working with individuals with disabilities, preferably with young adults.
  • Ability to organize and coordinate with on- and off-campus resources.
  • Qualities of being reliable, responsible, self-motivated, confident, sincere, flexible, patient, dedicated, observant, and considerate.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Creative and broad-level thinking skills.
  • A demonstrated ability to collaborate and communicate regularly with other team members in order to monitor students’ progress and meet their individualized needs.
  • Openness to new ideas.

Preferred qualifications include: experience working with individuals with ASD or other related disabilities; familiarity with the field of higher education (ideally some experience working at a college or university); a demonstrated understanding of common needs of individuals with ASD or other related disabilities, particularly young adults; experience working with college students; and knowledge of issues regarding transition from high school to postsecondary education for students with disabilities.

Compensation

$20/hour for meetings with students and participation in staffing meetings, supervisions, and administrative work.

To apply:

To apply for this position, please submit a letter of interest, resume, and contact info of three professional references to the information listed below. Priority deadline for application is July 1, 2021.

Jennifer Torrance, Director MASI
Disability Services
SUB 1, Suite 2500, MSN 5C9
Email: jtorranc@gmu.edu  
Website: https://ods.gmu.edu  

Testimonials

“I liked hearing the other students’ experiences because it helped me find some similarities between us and it made me not feel so alone.”
MASI Student
"It’s good to talk to people who will always be invested in my personal growth. It is really encouraging and I bonded with them.”
MASI Student
“Sending our son with Autism off to college came with anxiety and worry. We know his limitless potential but he needed the right environment to succeed and be happy. George Mason University and the MASI program provide exactly what our son needs and this has been invaluable in his transition to college academics and college life. the MASI staff, learning specialists and peer mentor work together as a cohesive team in the best interest fo my son. He had a great first semester and couldn’t wait to go back. Thank you MASI!”
Parent of MASI student
Location

4400 University Drive, MSN 5C9

Student Union Building 1, Suite 2500        

Fairfax, VA 22030

Our hours

9:00 AM – 5.00 PM

Monday – Friday

Contact us

Phone: 703 993 2474

Email: masi@gmu.edu