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Coming up on Connections: Monday, January 22, 2024

This stock images shows a graduation ceremony.
Sengchoy Inthachack/EduLife Photos
Adobe Stock
This stock images shows a graduation ceremony.

First hour: Why are Americans becoming less confident in higher education?

Second hour: Dialogue on Disability — Previewing the docuseries, "Inside Our Autistic Minds"

New polling shows brutal numbers for American higher education. Gallup finds that the percentage of Americans who have confidence in higher ed has fallen from 57 percent to 36 percent in a decade. Nearly half of American parents say they would prefer not to send their kids to a four-year college program -- even if there were no financial obstacles. One emerging idea is that higher education has to be more flexible, with shorter degree programs and more credentialing in growing or so-called "alternative" fields. But how? Our guests have thought a great deal about this. They include:

  • Ian Mortimer, president of the Golisano Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Nathan Harris, vice president of academic affairs, special assistant to the chief academic officer, and professor of economics at the Golisano Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Richard DeMartino, professor of management and director for the Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RIT

Then in our second hour, it’s Dialogue on Disability Week. The annual initiative – a partnership with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies – is designed to stimulate community dialogue about the perspectives and abilities of people with physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities. This hour, we preview the docuseries “Inside Our Autistic Minds” with local young people. In the two-part series that will air on WXXI-TV, host Chris Packham – who has autism – helps other people with autism demonstrate how their minds work. In the program, Packham says, “I think that the wider world still doesn’t understand what it means to be autistic. And this is a problem for those of us who already feel excluded, different, like we don’t fit it….I felt completely misunderstood; like no one understood what was going on inside my head.” Our guests are artists, musicians, and creators who help us see the world – and their art – through their eyes. In studio:

  • Brandon Bartlett, undergraduate student at Nazareth University majoring in music composition, and member of AutismUp
  • Dianna Douglas, member of AutismUp’s Full Life Academy
  • Tim Valente, member of AutismUp’s Full Life Academy
  • Jeanne Ricigliano, director of the Center for Community Transition and the Full Life Academy at AutismUp

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk and is part of Dialogue on Disability Week — a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies — in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series.

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.