The UNT Neurodiversity Professional Network serves employees that identify as Neurodivergent, as well as allies, and focuses on three areas:
- Support neurodivergent employees so that they can contribute to the university's mission as effectively as possible;
- Educate allies so that they can support the work of neurodivergent colleagues from a basis in current, accurate information;
- Represent neurodivergent employees to the university community so that their value and contributions are recognized.
Tribute to Dr. John Patrick Murphy
Dr. John Patrick Murphy
Professor – Musician – Neurodiversity Advocate
UNT lost a valuable member of its community recently with the death of Dr. John Murphy. Dr. Murphy served as chair of the Division of Jazz Studies from 2008 until his retirement in 2019. A compassionate, generous man who gave unselfishly of his talents, he served as a mentor to many on the UNT campus.
While Dr. Murphy was a talented musician and a skillful administrator, what many may not know about him was that he was an avid champion for neurodiversity. When he was diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder, he approached it as he did everything in his life – with commitment and passion. A brilliant scholar, he researched the topic and quickly became an expert on the subject, making it his mission to create a more inclusive climate for those who were neurodivergent and to mentor faculty, staff and students who were neurodivergent.
While many UNT faculty and staff had been involved in research related to autism and had been providing support and services to those with ASD, Dr. Murphy introduced the term neurodiversity to the campus. He co-directed the UNT Neurodiversity Initiative, and in this role, he helped to develop the Blue Zone training on Neurodiversity, which is now one of the options available for faculty to complete for their Anti-Bias and Cultural Awareness requirement. He also collaborated in the development of an innovative presentation entitled, “How to Ensure Your Faculty Searches Are Neurodiversity Friendly.” Dr. Murphy co-founded the UNT Neurodiversity Professional Network, which in its second year continues his mission of supporting neurodivergent faculty and staff.
Dr. Murphy was an inspiration to many and will be missed greatly by the UNT community. His was a life truly “well lived.”
Written by: Dr. Linda Holloway, co-director of the UNT Neurodiversity Initiative, Professor Emeritus, Rehabilitation Counseling