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SPARCing Violence Prevention

An online education system developed at UAlbany is now assisting colleges and universities in training students in the prevention of sexual assault and other interpersonal violence.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 25. 2017) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a sexual assault prevention course developed by UAlbany in partnership with the State University of New York, City University of New York and New York State Department of Health is now being offered to institutions across the country.

The Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course (SPARC) is an online education system to help train students in the prevention of sexual and related violence.

The brainchild of Chantelle Cleary, UAlbany's assistant vice president for equity and compliance and Title IX coordinator and Mike Bartoletti, director of enterprise application services for the University's Information Technology Services (ITS), the idea for SPARC began with a simple conversation about online training programs in Bartoletti’s office. Noting that no system currently on the market fit their needs, the two began brainstorming how perhaps UAlbany could build its own training system.

Bartoletti and his team went on to develop the infrastructure to implement, deliver and track the course using the campus’s Learning Management System, while Cleary and her team built the content, including narrating the courses.

The duo partnered with fellow SUNY and CUNY campuses and administration to expand the program, which encompasses training requirements under Title IX, the Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Act and, for New York State colleges and universities, Education Law 129-B, commonly known as "Enough is Enough."

“We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues across SUNY and are proud of the work done by the team in developing a program that can be utilized by campuses not only within the state, but also throughout the country,” said Cleary. “SPARC empowers students by providing them with critical information about interpersonal relationships, sexual assault and about the way their institution responds to such incidents.”

“When the opportunity was presented to help shape the foundation of deploying this information in a consumer-like fashion: easily accessible, relevant and consistent across SUNY subject matter experts and platforms, we were not only excited, but confident in our capabilities spearheaded by our Senior Solution Specialist Victoria Ossenfort,” Bartoletti said.

“Through the combination of Ossenfort’s technical and functional skills and Chantelle’s expertise, we leveraged our existing learning management systems to benefit UAlbany and the entire SUNY and CUNY set of colleges and universities,”  he said.

Bartoletti plans to engrain this thinking across UAlbany’s applications development teams to enhance continuous implementation of transformational technology solutions by adding the aspect of packaging outcomes in ways that can be utilized across SUNY.

“New York’s ‘Enough is Enough’ law equips colleges and universities with some of the strongest guidance in the country, and it our duty at SUNY to share our expertise in teaching our students and staff how to prevent that violence before it occurs,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “By building awareness and sharing resources, we can better ensure safe learning environments for all students not just in New York but nationwide.”

Since SPARC was released in New York in April, 140 colleges across the country have downloaded the program and are actively customizing the training for their own use. Another 250 registrants from colleges in 35 states and three Canadian provinces are also using SPARC.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.