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Bishop named UW-Madison’s Berven Professor of Rehabilitation Psychology

January 11, 2019

In some ways, it doesn’t seem like all that long ago when Malachy Bishop was working toward his doctorate in rehabilitation psychology at UW-Madison in the late 1990s —  and his advisor was Professor Norm Berven.

“Norm’s patient and generous guidance and support made such an impact on me and my professional development,” says Bishop, who went on to spend nearly two decades as a successful faculty member and researcher at the University of Kentucky.  “Professor Berven’s exceptional dedication and tireless work on behalf of the program, its students, the field of rehabilitation psychology, persons with disabilities and UW-Madison have served as a model for me throughout my career.”

Bishop was extended an offer to return to UW-Madison this past fall as a faculty member with the School of Education’s Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education. And as part of that offer, Bishop was awarded a prestigious named professorship — the Norman L. and Barbara M. Berven Professor of Rehabilitation Psychology.

Malachy Bishop
“It is a very meaningful honor and privilege to have been named to this position,” says Bishop. “Barbara and Norm, in addition to being a wonderful couple and a joy to spend time with, are the very model of generosity, service and support for the university. I am humbled and immeasurably grateful for the opportunity to serve in this professorship in their names.”

“We are so pleased that Professor Bishop has joined the School of Education as a faculty member,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “His innovative and highly regarded research, demonstrated expertise in creating high quality programs, and leadership in his field make him the perfect candidate to hold the Norman L. and Barbara M. Berven Professor of Rehabilitation Psychology.”

It was the spring of 2015 when Norm and Barbara Berven committed $500,000 to start the Norman L. and Barbara M. Berven Professor of Rehabilitation Psychology Fund, which created the endowed professorship in rehabilitation psychology.  The value of that gift doubled thanks to funds available via a $100 million landmark contribution to UW-Madison in November 2014 by John and Tashia Morgridge.

“We were so pleased and honored to have a dear friend and colleague, Fong Chan, be the first to hold our professorship, and we are delighted to have Malachy, another cherished friend and colleague, follow in his footsteps,” said Norm and Barbara Berven. “Malachy is such a capable, dedicated and respected educator, researcher and scholar, who has made many important contributions through his work, and we are indeed fortunate to have him join the faculty of the program, department, School of Education and university that we love.”

Fong Chan, one of the giants in the field of rehabilitation counseling, was the first to hold this named professorship, a position he held until his retirement this fall after 25 years on the UW-Madison campus.

“I am elated that Professor Bishop has accepted a full professor position in rehabilitation psychology,” says Chan. “He is definitely one of the leading scholars in rehabilitation psychology/rehabilitation counseling. He has an extremely successful programmatic research program that complements our program very well and I know students will benefit significantly from his teaching and research.”

“To follow Dr. Fong Chan in holding this professorship is also particularly meaningful to me,” says Bishop. “Like Norm, Fong Chan has made an extraordinary and indelible contribution to our program and to the profession of rehabilitation psychology.”

Norm and Barbara Berven
Norm and Barbara Berven pose for a photo in front
of the Education Building's red doors.
Bishop notes that the support provided through the Norman L. and Barbara M. Berven Professorship in Rehabilitation Psychology will enable innovation and expansion of research that will have a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Bishop says he still credits his time as a doctoral student at UW–Madison — and the outstanding teaching and mentoring abilities of people such as Berven, Chan, Ken Thomas, Ruth Lynch and Edna Szymanski — as being instrumental in his development.

After earning his Ph.D. from UW-Madison in 2000, Bishop headed south and worked as a rehabilitation counseling professor and doctoral program coordinator and, since 2014, as research director for Kentucky’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disability, the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute.

Over the years, his research has primarily focused on psychosocial adaptation, employment barriers and quality of life in people with chronic neurological disabilities. In particular, his work recently has centered on the rehabilitation issues of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the processes by which people adapt to this disease. He has worked closely in exploring the effect of MS on employment and career development, and on developing and evaluating career maintenance interventions.

“Many of the employment and health barriers faced by people with MS are also experienced by people with other chronic neurological conditions, and much of this work has more general applications,” says Bishop, who has also been working the past several years with UW-Madison’s Tim Tansey and others through a federally-funded national Technical Assistance grant with Southern University and several other institutions.

Bishop is also exploring the health care experiences, priorities and access barriers of people living with MS, and in the development of MS self-management approaches and assessment.

In his new role at UW-Madison, Bishop says he is looking forward to working with students in their educational and research pursuits, and to working with the faculty toward the continued development and growth of programs in rehabilitation psychology, clinical rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counselor education.

“I am very excited to join the exceptional faculty in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education,” says Bishop. “The rehabilitation psychology program has long been recognized as the top program in the nation, with a history of developing outstanding researchers, educators, and practitioners in rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation psychology. I’m excited about joining the faculty in their important work and mission.”

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