Interdisciplinary Training

FCIC Interdisciplinary Training Program: Building Future Leaders in Disability and Inclusion

The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) is proud to offer our Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Training Program, an initiative that molds participants—our trainees—into leaders in the fields of disability and inclusion. At its core, the program is an amalgamation of a Graduate Certificate in Positive Behavior Support, mentoring experiences, and supplemented with dynamic training grant collaborations from renowned USF programs such as Applied Behavioral Analysis, Social Work, Education, and School Psychology.

What is Interdisciplinary Training?
Interdisciplinary training transcends the boundaries of individual disciplines. It offers an enriched educational experience by integrating methodologies and knowledge from multiple fields. This diverse approach enables trainees to gain a broader perspective, drawing upon the collective insights of various experts. Our program especially emphasizes collaboration, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds including health professionals, educators, researchers, and even individuals with disabilities and their families.

Why Choose Our Program?

  • Expert Mentorship: Trainees receive unparalleled guidance from our faculty and staff—industry veterans who have left indelible marks in the realms of developmental disabilities and positive behavior support.
  • Holistic Learning: Our curriculum spans a range of disciplines like applied behavior analysis, psychology, public health, medicine, education, and social work, ensuring that participants receive a well-rounded education.
  • Community Involvement: Apart from academic enrichment, our program emphasizes real-world training. This includes engagement with community members keen on self-advocacy and learning disability policy through hands-on experiences.
  • Leadership & Growth: The ultimate mission of our program is not just to educate but to inspire. We aim to cultivate a new era of leaders with an unwavering commitment to inclusion, offering myriad opportunities for leadership, scholarly progress, and professional development.

Who Can Join?
Whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral student from disciplines such as behavioral health, education, medicine, or social work, there's a place for you here. Our doors are also open to community members eager to boost their knowledge and advocacy skills.

Explore Further:
To delve deeper into what we offer, including eligibility criteria, training modules, scholarship opportunities, and more, navigate through the resources on this page.

The purpose of FCIC’s Interdisciplinary Training program is to build the capacity of pre-service students and professionals to promote the independence, productivity, and community inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities. To do this, we provide high-quality interdisciplinary courses and educational activities that allow participants to gain the knowledge and skills to address the service and support needs of people with disabilities. We also aim to promote allyship through learning about advocacy and disability policy.

Every training participant will receive an individualized training plan that will be customized to their field of study and interests. The length and depth of your training will be guided by your individualized training plan. In general, our training competencies include leadership, policy and advocacy, inclusion, critical thinking, self-reflection, and cultural responsiveness. Learning experiences may include academic courses, core curriculum training modules, topical training webinars, mentorship, training internships, graduate assistantships, etc. Training activities are led by faculty, researchers, former trainees, disability professionals, practitioners, people with disabilities, their family or caregivers, and other community members. FCIC’s interdisciplinary training programs and activities revolve around a core curriculum that includes participating in any of the following FCIC programs and activities:

Project iSED
iSEDProject iSED is a 5-year, $1.19 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (H325K200051). The program aims to prepare 34 high-quality scholars to serve as either Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) or School Social Workers (SWs) who can collaboratively design and deliver evidence-based instruction and intensive individualized interventions and supports (PBIS) in natural environments, classroom, and schools for school-aged children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). iSED trainees will complete the Positive Behavior Support Graduate certificate in conjunction with their MS degree. They may also receive mentorship and research opportunities.

Project STARS
Project STARS, which stands for “Scholars in Teaching, Applied Research, and Service,” is a 4-year $1.9 million grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Leadership Personnel Preparation Grant. It prepares school psychology students to become faculty members in higher education settings. Additionally, the program provides participants with teaching, applied research, and service expertise to help them effectively lead school, district and state-level implementations of evidence-based practices within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Hosted at USF, Project STARS will be conducted in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education, the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, USF’s Institute for School Reform, and with school district personnel in Pasco County Schools and the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Project EBAS: Enhancing Behavior Analytic Services
EBAS Project EBAS is a $1.11 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (H325K170085). Project EBAS is designed to prepare high-quality scholars to serve as either Board-Certified Behavior Analysts or School Psychologists who can contribute to the provision of focused instruction and individualized positive behavioral interventions and supports in an interdisciplinary team-based approach for school-aged children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). EBAS trainees will complete the Positive Behavior Support Graduate certificate in conjunction with their MS degree. They may also receive mentorship and research opportunities.

Project MABAS: Enhancing the Promotion of Mental Health Wellbeing of Children and Youth in High-Need Schools through Preparing School-Based Behavior Analysts and Social Workers
EBAS Project MABAS addresses the Absolute Priority of the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program, ‘Expand Capacity of High-Need Local Educational Agencies (LEAs)’ with the overarching goal of enhancing the promotion of mental health well-being of children and youth with or at risk for behavioral and mental health challenges by preparing 40 high-quality school-based behavior analysts and social workers from diverse backgrounds to promote inclusive practices. The project will address two comparative priorities: (1) Increase the number of qualified school-based mental health service providers (MHSPs) in high-need LEAs, who are from diverse backgrounds or from communities served by the high-need LEAs and (2) Promote inclusive practices regarding race, ethnicity, culture, language, disability, and for students who identify as LGBTQI+, and prepare school-based MHSPs to create culturally and linguistically inclusive and identity-safe environments for students when providing services.

Community Scholars
Community Scholars is part of a diversity pipeline program that recruits youths with disabilities as FCIC trainees to engage in paid on-the-job training (OJT). The Community Scholars are FCIC trainees and receive mentoring, development of basic administrative competencies, individualized career coaching, college counseling, and disability policy and self-advocacy training. Through the OJT experience, community scholars gain skills that can lead to gainful employment and are also introduced to post-secondary education as a real, next-step possibility. To learn more about this program, please contact Laura Rodríguez López at

Training and Research Mentorship
Interdisciplinary trainees are mentored by FCIC faculty through individual studies, internships, practica, and thesis and dissertation committees. FCIC faculty represent a variety of disciplines, including psychology, education, special education, nursing, and public health. If you are interested in working with a particular member of the FCIC faculty or staff, please contact Laura Rodríguez López at Some of our Practicum and/or Research placement opportunities with FCIC Programs include:

Academic Programs and Courses
We partner with USF to offer trainees specialized education in Developmental Disabilities. Within these programs, which include a Graduate Certificate in Positive Behavior Support, we offer graduate students and non-degree seekers focused courses in:
-     MHS 6065 Issues & Trends in Developmental Disabilities
-     MHS 6606 Systems, Services and Supports for people with Developmental Disabilities
-     MHS 6067 EBPs in Behavioral Health for Children & Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities
-     MHS 6410 Intensive Individualized Positive Behavior Support
-     MHS 6608 School-wide Positive Behavior Support
-     MHS 6605 Addressing Challenging Behavior in Young Children
-     MHS 6607 Behavior Consultation & Collaborative Systems Change
To learn more about our academic offerings, please visit the Academic programs tab.

View Interdisciplinary Training Brochure      View Training Application Guide


To join the training program, you must meet the minimum criteria:

Program Requirements

All FCIC trainees are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress (if applicable), complete the core curriculum training modules, participate in a minimum of two professional development activities per semester, respond to all training evaluation surveys, and participate in AUCD’s Emerging Leaders Community. Additional requirements will vary depending on your Individualized Training Plan and will be outlined during enrollment.

Enrollment Directions

If you are interested in joining the training program, you will need to submit the Trainee Enrollment form . The enrollment form will collect the following information:

  • Biographical data including name, email, phone number, address/es, academic history, and research interests, and ask you to expand on the following questions:
    • The FCIC works to promote the independence, productivity, and community inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities. What experiences, if any, have you had with people with disabilities and their families?
    • What are your career goals related to people with disabilities and their systems, services, and supports?
    • Why do you want to join the Interdisciplinary Training Program at FCIC?
  • Resume or CV.
  • Name of your faculty advisor or FCIC mentor.

If eligible, after your form is received, you will receive an invitation to schedule a 30-minute Interview with Training Director, Laura Rodríguez López Ed.D., to discuss your application, interests, and fit.  If you would like to contact Dr. Rodríguez López before submitting your formal application, please feel free to email her at

Evin B. Hartsell Endowed Memorial Scholarship

Through a generous gift from the Evin B. Hartsell Foundation, the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC/UCEDD) is proud to offer trainees a scholarship opportunity for those living with disabilities or focusing their studies on the field of disability. The Evan B. Hartsell Endowed Memorial Scholarship is open to full or part-time students at the sophomore, junior, senior or graduate academic levels. Applicants must be active trainees of FCIC/UCEDD and pursing a major in Social Work or Counseling in the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences or Psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences, on any of the USF campuses. This scholarship will be awarded for two semesters and has preference for financial need. If there are no applicants who meet the below preferences, any CBCS FCIC/UCEDD trainee dedicated to the study of disabilities and inclusion can be awarded. To qualify for this award, applicants must have read Evin's book Abled in a Disabled World available through the USF library and submit an essay reflecting on their reading. A resume will also be requested.

Preference will be given to students in the following order:

  • Students with a disability, who is a United States Military Veteran, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Student with a disability, who is a United States Military Veteran.
  • Student with a disability.

This scholarship award totals $1,000 ($500 per semester for a maximum of two semesters). If you would like to apply for this scholarship, please click here to complete the application. To learn more about Evan and the amazing life he led, you may visit his website at

Understanding Positive Behavior Support (PBS)

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a proactive, evidence-based approach designed to enhance the capacity of communities, schools, and other institutions to support individuals, particularly those with developmental disabilities. By fostering a positive environment and focusing on the desired behaviors rather than undesired ones, PBS ensures that individuals can achieve their fullest potential and engage meaningfully in their communities.

At the heart of our commitment to PBS is our online certificate program. This 12-credit hour program is meticulously crafted for professionals across disciplines like education, behavioral health, school psychology, and social work. The overarching objective is to empower these professionals to proficiently implement Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) in diverse settings, from early childhood environments to schools and broader community contexts.

Here's a glimpse into what participants will learn through the program:

  • Techniques to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of behavior consultation across varying systems of support.
  • Strategies to harness the systemic potential of positive behavior support, ensuring the behavioral well-being of all students, inclusive of those with disabilities.
  • An in-depth focus on the Pyramid Model, fostering the social development of young children and addressing their behavioral nuances within early childhood contexts.
  • Comprehensive skills to address behavior challenges on an individual level, including conducting functional behavior assessments and deploying tailored behavior support mechanisms in diverse settings.

With a blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on training, participants emerge equipped to offer meaningful consultation, steer effective collaborations, and implement both broad and intensive individualized interventions.

Join our community and contribute to a paradigm shift, where understanding, empathy, and strategic intervention replace punitive measures.