Research and Translational Apprenticeships

Photo of woman talking in meeting

Each student will complete both a Research Apprenticeship (typically in Year 2) and a Translational Apprenticeship (typically in Year 3).

The apprenticeships will be an exceptional learning experience for students in the interdisciplinary training program, supporting their development as independent researchers engaged in answering questions about “what works” in education.

Research apprenticeships introduce students to the design of rigorous causal research to inform practices and policies that can be applied to educational settings. Students will work as part of a team engaged in applied educational research. Research apprenticeships may take place in collaboration with an ITP faculty member or with public or private research firms. Students will produce at least one research paper based on the apprenticeship and will also present their work at the ITP seminar.

Translational apprenticeships develop students' capacity to collaborate with practitioners and policymakers. This collaborative work seeks to bring research to bear on a problem of practice. Translational apprenticeships may take place in schools, state education agencies, regional laboratories, the University or other settings. Students will produce at least one written product of use to (and in consultation with) their sponsoring organization. Students will also present their work at the ITP seminar and to policymakers and practitioners, as relevant.

Most apprenticeships are provided through campus-based projects directed by ITP faculty. In addition, we have developed partnerships with regional educational laboratories, state and local education agencies, and applied policy-research firms that provide direct work with practitioners, or policy work at a regional or federal level. Several of these options are listed below.

Guidelines for ITP Apprenticeships

The ITP apprenticeships are designed to connect policy and practice with high-quality, causally oriented research. The process requires that ITP fellow translate research into practice and practice into research. This two-way bridge is essential for grounding research in educational realities and making research relevant to the practice of education.

ITP fellows will meet with the Deputy Director (Eric Grodsky) to discuss what they hope to get from the apprenticeships. Following the meeting with the Deputy Director, fellows will write a memo outlining the objectives of the particular apprenticeship and how they will satisfy those objectives. Based on the objectives of the fellow, the Deputy Director will seek out appropriate apprenticeship opportunities. Either the fellow or the Deputy Director will include in the memo explicit expectations for the apprenticeship—including location, hours and products-once that information is known and before the apprenticeship begins.

Established apprenticeship opportunities (though we can work to meet your needs!)

  • American Institutes for Research
  • Abt Associates: Regional –GA, MD, MA, NC (and global locations)
  • Madison Metropolitan School District: Madison
  • Mathematica Policy Research: NJ, DC, MA
  • Milwaukee Public Schools: Milwaukee, WI
  • UW Survey Center: Madison
  • WestEd: Regional –CA, IL, AZ, DC, VT, MA, GA
  • Wisconsin Center for Education Research: Madison
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: Madison