News and notes from across UW-Madison's Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education

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Main Office

Department of Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education
School of Education
Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall, Rm. 431B
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/263.5860
Fax: 608/262.8108

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News & Notes

U.S. News ranks programs among very best in nation

U.S. News and World report released its latest “Best Graduate Schools” ratings in March, and UW–Madison’s Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education again is home to two of the top programs in the nation.

U.S. News Best Grad Schools logoAmong education specialty program ratings, UW–Madison is No. 9 in special education.

Not all graduate programs are ranked each year. For example, UW–Madison and the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education remains No. 1 in Rehabilitation Counseling — but those ratings have not been updated by U.S. News since last year.

The Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education is housed within the School of Education. U.S. News, for the third consecutive year, ranked UW–Madison’s School of Education No. 1 among public institutions and No. 4 overall in the category of “Best Education Schools.”


Chan receives NCRE Distinguished Career Award

UW–Madison’s Fong Chan received the Distinguished Career Award from the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE) in April.

Fong ChanChan is the Norman L. and Barbara M. Berven Professor of Rehabilitation Psychology with the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.

The NCRE honor is given in recognition of career achievements. Chan has spent more than three decades as a rehabilitation educator. In his letter nominating Chan for the award, UW–Madison Professor Emeritus Norman Berven writes: “Professor Chan’s record as a researcher and scholar is truly extraordinary and, in my opinion, unparalleled in rehabilitation education.”

Chan has published more than 325 papers in refereed journals and more than 50 book chapters, among other publications and reports. He has also published nine books and received numerous awards recognizing the quality and importance of his research. Similarly, Chan is a highly regarded researcher who is part of five current projects that are receiving nearly $13.8 million in backing. 

Meanwhile, in February Chan was awarded the Dembo-Wright Award for Contributions to Rehabilitation Psychology by the American Psychology Association’s Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology).

Chan is chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.


Tansey named NCRE Researcher of the Year

UW–Madison’s Timothy Tansey received the Researcher of the Year award from the National Council on Rehabilitation Education in April as recognition of his recent research.

Tansey, an assistant professor of rehabilitation psychology with the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, has served as principal investigator, co-principal investigator or co-investigator on 10 federally funded projects since 2001, with a total funding level of $58 million.

To date, he has published or has in press 44 refereed journal articles and seven scholarly book chapters on such topics as career counseling, statistical concepts in assessment and multicultural issues in assessment.


Hunter College’s Cardoso
receives George N. Wright Varsity Award

Elizabeth Da Silva Cardoso is receiving the George N. Wright Varsity Award in 2016. This annual honor is given to a highly regarded alumnus of the top-ranked rehabilitation psychology program at UW–Madison, and recognizes “outstanding contributions to the fields of rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation psychology.”

Elizabeth CardosoCardoso received her Ph.D. in rehabilitation psychology from UW–Madison in 1997. She is a licensed psychologist in the States of New York and New Jersey, and a certified rehabilitation counselor.

Cardoso has been a professor at Hunter College-CUNY in the School of Education’s Counseling Program for the last 15 years. She is the coordinator for the Rehabilitation Counseling and Mental Health Counseling programs. Her teaching responsibilities have been at the master’s level with an emphasis on rehabilitation and mental health counseling. She has published extensively in the areas of substance abuse assessment, multicultural counseling, psychosocial aspects of chronic illness and disability, and evidence-based practice.

Cardoso was the principal investigator for a $3.1 million NSF grant awarded in 2008 and titled, “MIND Alliance for Minority Students with Disabilities in STEM.” She was the co-principal investigator of the Rehabilitation Research Training Center on Statistics and Demographics, which received $4 million in funding from the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research.


School of Education honors Bal, Waddick
with Distinguished Achievement Awards

The national reputation of UW– Madison’s School of Education — which is ranked the No. 1 public School of Education in the nation by U.S. News and World Report’s annual graduate school rankings — is due largely to the dedication and talent of its faculty and staff.

Each year, the School recognizes the most outstanding members of its family with Distinguished Achievement Awards. On April 20, the School honored winners for the 2016 awards cycle.

And two people from the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education received awards this spring. Assistant Professor Aydin Bal received the Community- Engaged Scholarship award and Virginia Waddick, a student services coordinator with the department, received the Ann Wallace Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement award.

Among Bal’s outreach efforts, he is leading an initiative to improve equity in schools across Wisconsin by implementing Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (CRPBIS), a framework he developed to prompt locally meaningful and sustainable change in schools.

Waddick has been with the School since 1997 and served as an academic advisor in Education Aca­demic Services prior to moving to the Depart­ment of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education in 2013

Project EPIC supports master’s level
special education teachers

The Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education is part of a federal grant project supporting a new master’s level special education teacher preparation program.

This intensive two-year program, known as Project EPIC (Evidence-based Practices and Interdisciplinary Collaboration), focuses on inclusive education for students with significant disabilities, specifically autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities.

“There is currently a dire shortage of teachers with this specialization across the state and nation,” says Andrea Ruppar, an assistant professor.

Ruppar says there are currently five people in the first cohort of students in this grant program, which also focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration and evidence-based practices.

Project EPIC is a collaborative initiative with UW–Madison’s Waisman Center and its Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program.

Graduates of Project EPIC will receive two Wisconsin teaching licenses (cross-categorical and intellectual disability), a leadership certificate, and a master’s degree in special education. The project is designed to train 16 special education teachers at the master’s level over the next four years.