Photo of woman talking in meeting

Each student will serve a semester long Research-to-Practice Internship designed to obtain competencies in translational research. Typically, this will occur in the student’s 3rd year in the program.

The internship 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. Most internship opportunities 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.

Sample of an internship proposal (PDF)

Guidelines for ITP Internships

The ITP internship is designed to connect policy and practice with high-quality, causally oriented research. As discussed below, this 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.

In order to engage in translational research, researchers must communicate effectively with a variety of different audiences-policy makers, practitioners (teachers, administrators, support staff) and other academics. Translation is not only about bringing the research to life;it’s about translating it in a way that can be understood and engaged by different audiences.

Each ITP fellow will meet with the internship coordinator (Eric Grodsky) to discuss what she or he hopes to get from the internship. Internships may range from the applied (embedding fellows in classrooms, school districts, the state legislature, etc.) to the academic (working with a research organization or faculty member on causally rigorous experimental or quasi-experimental research). At the end of this document we provide brief descriptions of organizations that have committed to work ITP interns. We expect that interns will work 20-40 hours a week at their internships. Hours will vary as a function of arrangements with the organization with which the student interns.

Following the meeting with the internship coordinator, each prospective intern will write a memo outlining the objectives of the internship and how she or he will satisfy those objectives. Based on the objectives of the fellow, the coordinator will seek out appropriate internship opportunities. Either the prospective intern or the internship coordinator will include in the memo explicit expectation for the internship—including location, hours and products-once that information is known and before the internship begins. All internships, whether toward the applied or academic ends of the spectrum, must have a translational component as detailed below.

How will fellows demonstrate their translational competencies?

  1. Translation day: One seminar in spring of each year will be dedicated to presenting findings to a broader audience, including policymakers and practitioners. Translation day may take place during the regularly scheduled ITP seminar or may occur at another time we agree on off-site, at the Department of Public Instruction, Madison Metropolitan School District or elsewhere. Each intern will prepare a 10-15 minute presentation and accompanying one-to two-page executive summary of his or her internship experience.
  2. Issue briefs written in collaboration with or vetted by practitioner and/or policy maker staff.
  3. Documentation of an ongoing relationship with a translational partner, including structured meetings with a policy makeror practitioner to ground the research in an applied setting. This could be evidenced by a journal or blog maintained by the student and/or an issue brief summarizing the application of the work in an applied setting with review or response from the external partner.

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

  • Marzano Research: Centennial,CO
  • Abt Associates: Regional –GA, MD, MA, NC (and global locations)
  • Mathematica: NJ, DC, MA
  • Milwaukee Public Schools: Milwaukee, WI
  • Southwest Educational Development Laboratory/ American Institutes for Research: Austin, TX
  • UW Survey Center: Madison
  • WestEd: Regional –CA, IL, AZ, DC, VT, MA, GA
  • Wisconsin Collaboratory for Enhanced Learning: Madison
  • WI Department of Public Instruction: Madison
  • VARC: Madison