Practicum and Portfolio Outline

Many of the students in the UWSSLEC classes are either a practicing teacher or a library media specialist on an emergency license. The license is a K-12 license. The practicum experiences for this program provide valuable experiences at the elementary and at the secondary level. They also allow you to complete the experience with minimal disruption in work schedule and to relate the experience directly back to your own workplace. You will work with the faculty member at your home institution to fulfill requirements and meet the goals of the practicum:

  • Use the new skills and knowledge you have acquired
  • Examine school library media programs in operation reflect on the experience, and tie it back to your own situation
  • Develop relationships with practitioners
  • Further develop your own philosophy of school librarianship
  • Assess and expand your own skills as a new library information specialist.


Two hundred hours are required in the combined practicum experiences for the Initial license. Each campus has its own practicum, content GPA, and portfolio requirements, so it is important to check with your campus for specifics.  Most people divide their hours evenly across two of the three levels -  elementary, middle school, high school. The practicum experiences along with prior methods field experiences or teaching experiences should cover all three levels.

UWSSLEC recommends you do both practicum experiences outside your home district to get the widest possible experience. It also recognizes this may not be possible in some cases. Each practicum site must be approved by the university supervisor before finalizing them as each must have a 1902-licensed library media specialist who has been there for at least a year and should represent best practices in the field.

Setting up the Practicum

All practicum experiences are arranged through the your home institution. To set up an experience, contact the designated person at your home campus in the required time frame. They will suggest sites and explain requirements to the supervising library media specialist at the site. It is your responsibility to:

  • Consult the practicum director at your home institution as a first step
  • Directly contact the potential supervising library media specialist to obtain permission to do the practicum;
  • Set up hours within the university's requirements acceptable to both the practicum director and the site supervisor;
  • Attend to the FBI criminal background check; and
  • Complete all required paperwork for the the requiired date

PrePlanning for the Practicum and Portfolio

We will work with you to create the best experiences possible. It is good to begin a discussion of this requirement with your school administrator at the beginning of the licensure program. Generally, you need to begin planning for the practicum a year before you want to go into the schools. Working professionals find it difficult to develop two realistic practicum experiences. Some students have requested and received some time out of the school to do the practicum. Options depend on your home campus, but here are some that have worked:

  • Seek a school that has a spring break other than yours and get a good number of hours during this time.
  • Use professional development and personal days to get into a school.
  • Do one practicum in the summer at a school with a certified library media specialist. Only one summer practicum is allowed. These experiences are not commonly available around the state.
  • Complete a good portion of a practicum at the beginning or the end of the school year, especially at a school with a different start or stop date.
  • Seek sabbatical or release time from your district.
  • Use your preparation time to do one practicum at another school in your district or a neighboring district.

Remember: Portfolios are required for initial licensure, so collect your work as you go.  Requirements vary by campus:

UW-Whitewater | UW-Oshkosh | UW-Madison

Student Teaching

Students working on the 1902 initial license will do a full semester of student teaching instead of the practicum.  Contact the campus advisor for more details.

Practicum Contacts

Website Contact Contact Information Application Deadline


Sarah Beth Nelson

One semester 
UW Oshkosh Marguerite Penick
(920) 424-0339
One semester


Deb Shapiro
(608) 712-6368
One Semester