Academic Opportunities

Interdisciplinary Graduate Education/Human Development Center

Human Sciences and Services 160

Graduate Facutly

Michael I. Axelrod, Ph.D. (Director)
Norah Airth-Kindree, DNP, RN
Melissa Coolong-Chaffin, Ph.D.
Brian Orr, Ph.D.
Mary Beth Tusing, Ph.D.

The Human Development Center (HDC) is a nationally known interdisciplinary program working with individuals and families from western Wisconsin. Under the direct supervision of faculty supervisors, graduate and undergraduate student clinicians from multiple disciplines (e.g., Communication Sciences and Disorders, Nursing, School Psychology, Education) provide assessment, intervention, and consultation services to children, adolescents, young adults, and families. The HDC offers faculty and students the opportunity to collaborate with other disciplines in clinical practice and research. Cooperative and individual research projects are encouraged. Major research projects are conducted by faculty members with assistance from graduate assistants employed at the HDC, or by graduate students working with faculty on theses or other research projects.

Students participate in the HDC as part of assessment, practicum, or internship courses that are offered within the various participating departments. An average of 70 graduate students participate directly in interdisciplinary assessment, intervention, and consultation activities each year.

Research Support

Some funding is available to assist graduate students in their research costs and research dissemination through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Use of Human Subjects in Research

Federal regulations and University policy require that research projects involving human subjects be designed to protect the rights of the subjects, the researcher, and the University. This pertains to all classes, independent studies, and thesis research as well as faculty/student research collaborations. Each proposal involving human subjects and its provisions for their protection must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects prior to initiation of the work. Some research conducted as part of a course requirement or graduate program’s curriculum may be covered through an Exemption obtained by the course instructor or program director. At the graduate level, most research studies, including theses and capstone projects, involving human subjects require IRB approval. Before submitting IRB proposals through the online process, graduate students and their faculty advisors must complete the appropriate Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course at

Research on regular and special education instructional strategies and research on the effectiveness of or comparison of instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods are among the types of projects that may be handled by an expedited review process.

For more information on the IRB process, see the Policies and Procedures for Protection of Human Subjects in Research section at

For specific help in submitting a proposal to the IRB, see How to Submit to the IRB at

Use of Animals in Research and Teaching

All students involved in the care or use of vertebrate animals and all facilities used for such animals must operate within the guidelines of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Copies of the Guide and other pertinent materials may be obtained from the Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. For more information go to