Overview of Internship and Practicum Experiences at the McBurney Disability Resource Center
The McBurney Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison assists in ensuring equal access to all campus activities for UW students with disabilities. As part of its training mission, the McBurney Center offers practicum and internship opportunities for undergraduate through pre-master’s students focused on services for post-secondary students with disabilities.
Eligible interns and practicum students participate in nearly all aspects of Center activities including eligibility determination, managing case loads, interacting with staff, researching disability topics, and special projects such as revising eligibility criteria. Responsibilities and experiences are determined by level of education, skill, number of required hours, and purpose of internship. Interns and practicum students receive quality training from a nationally-recognized disability center. All interns receive a high level of training on client confidentiality and management of records that contain sensitive and private information. Interns are held to the highest professional standard with regard to all information held by the McBurney Center.
Below please find information about the application, interview and timeline process for the practicum and internship programs. Interested applicants should complete and return the Internship Application by the deadlines specified below. Placement in an internship at the McBurney Center is subject to availability of professional staff to supervise a student intern. Internships may not be offered every semester. Meeting application deadlines increases the likelihood that a placement can be arranged.
Internship and Practicum Timeline
- November 1st: Submission deadline for January practicum and internship
- November: Interviews
- November 30th: Practicum and internship offers provided and confirmed
- January: Practicum/internship placement begins
- April 15th: Submission deadline for August/September practicum
- Mid April – Mid May: Interviews
- May 30th : Practicum and Internship offers provided and confirmed
- July / August : Practicum/internship placement begins
Note: Summer internship/practicum openings are sometimes available and are determined on an individual basis. If interested, contact the McBurney Center (608)263-2741 and adhere to spring deadlines.
Levels of Internships
Master’s-level interns doing at least 20 hours a week perform many of the duties of professional staff at the McBurney Center. They learn about the role of disability accommodations for students with a variety of disabilities and how these are implemented in a large, complex university setting. They determine eligibility for services by interpreting multiple forms of health and learning assessments, performing intakes, and consulting with staff and medical professionals. They develop service plans, train their clients on plan implementation, and meet as-needed to monitor student progress, providing support and resources to their on-going caseloads. In the process, interns become familiar with office and record-keeping procedures, ethical guidelines, and developing team-building skills. After the initial training period, interns meet weekly with their site supervisors where they evaluate progress toward departmental and personal goals. Evaluations typically occur twice a semester at mid-terms and finals.
Master’s-level practicum students doing less than 20 hours a week can choose from a variety of experiences at the McBurney Center. Although they do not typically carry a caseload, they can learn about the service eligibility process by sitting in on client sessions, reviewing medical or learning assessments, and assisting in service plan development. There are also a variety of projects such as research into disabilities, policy and legal issues, new technologies, adaptive equipment, treatments, and resources. Graduate students’ advanced level of education and experience allows exposure to more-complex cases and issues as well as opportunities for input and decision-making at this pre-Master’s- level program.
Internship and Practicum (from 8-20 hours/week)
Experiences at this level include work on projects related to the disability field including the coordination of focus and support groups, workshops, trainings, and other center events. Although undergraduates do not carry a case load, they can receive instruction in the eligibility process with all the related procedures for getting students registered with the disability center at the post-secondary education level. Students can assist professional staff in providing direct services such as document conversion or launching surveys. They can also do research into disabilities, policy and legal issues, new technologies, adaptive equipment, treatments, and resources. Duties may involve interns sitting in on staff meetings, educating them on group dynamics, communication, and decision-making processes in a professional setting.