UWM’s planning committee consists of 23 committed volunteers, including community members, alumni, faculty, graduate students, and administrative staff.

Project Co-Directors

Jason Puskar, PhD
Associate Professor, English
Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, English
As Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in English, Dr. Puskar directs five PhD programs within the Department of English, which together serve 150 students. He will act as a liaison to the Graduate Faculty Committee and the Graduate Courses and Curriculum Committee, major policy making bodies on which he serves. He has served on the Chancellor’s Graduate Enrollment Task Force since 2013, and led the English department’s graduate job search program since 2007.

Dave Clark, PhD
Associate Professor, English
Associate Dean for the Humanities, College of Letters and Science
Dr. Clark oversees seven humanities departments and 20+ humanities centers and programs. He has served on the College curriculum committee for over a decade, and also has hands-on experience running the program in Professional and Technical Writing, which includes a PhD with a substantial slate of service courses.

Upper Administration

Johannes Britz, PhD
Professor, School of Information Studies
Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
Dr. Britz oversees all academic matters across UWM’s 14 schools and colleges, including the Graduate School. His advice and assistance with UWM processes and governance will be essential to our success, and he brings an important perspective as a social scientist who has a humanistic interest in his discipline.

Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, PhD
Professor, Physics
Dean of the Graduate School
As the dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Gajdardziska-Josifovska oversees almost 5,000 graduate students in more than 135 different programs. We will rely on her administrative insights, her extensive knowledge of national and international developments in graduate education, and her perspective as a faculty member in the sciences.

Graduate Students

Jeremy Carnes
English PhD Student (third year)
Jeremy works in Twentieth Century American literature, focusing in the early part of the century. His dissertation is interested in print culture including modernist periodicals, pulp magazines, newspaper comics, and comic books. He plans to explore the ways in which these forms are complicit in domestic American imperialism. Jeremy is a teaching assistant in the English Department and a Research Assistant working with professors Margaret Noodin, Bernard Perley, and Patricia Mayes on their project “Ganawendamaw,” which explores the relationship between Anishinaabe language and the notions of land, ecology, and sustainability. He holds an MA in English Literature from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Krista Grensavitch
History PhD Student (fourth year)
Krista’s research focuses on the junction of feminist theory, material culture theory, and pedagogy.  In her dissertation, she seeks to provide resources for others in higher education who wish to incorporate the process of knowing through and with objects in their own history and/or feminist classrooms.  While completing her coursework, Krista was a Teaching Assistant for Women’s and Gender Studies and History as well as a Research Assistant with the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee.  She holds an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies from UWM.  Currently, she is an Associate Lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies and History at UWM.

Marnie Lawler McDonough
Communication PhD Student (second year)
Prior to beginning the PhD program, Marnie worked professionally for 15 years in various marketing and communication roles in television, media, and higher education, at organizations such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Comcast, and Stevens Institute of Technology. She holds an MA in Organizational Communication from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. She currently studies rhetorical leadership. Previous research includes gender and power in organizational communication.

UWM Alumni

Kathryn Wilson, PhD
Executive Director, Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion
A graduate of UWM’s English doctoral program, Dr. Wilson has a forthcoming book on genocide and testimony, and currently directs an area non-profit that facilitates civil discourse, moderates conflicts, and trains facilitators.

Matthew Prigge
Historian and journalist
With an MA in History from UWM, Mr. Prigge began a PhD before turning to different pursuits. He is the author of two books on Milwaukee history, hosts a local radio program, and is the creator and guide of the Mondo Milwaukee boat tour of notorious historical sites.

Business and Community Representatives

Peter Coffaro
Vice President of Business Services, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board
With experience in non-profit work and local government, Mr. Coffaro works with the regional business community to address companies’ workforce needs. He will be a valuable advisor as we try to anticipate how to make humanities PhDs more marketable to a wider range of employers.

Matthias Jonas
KANBAN Management Professional and SCRUM Master, Consultant with Northwestern Mutual
Mr. Jonas brings a broad range of experience in the corporate and non-profit world in the United States and Germany. He has worked in management positions for start-up and global enterprises and served as a board member for non-profits. He will be a valuable advisor on private sector employment needs, and will help us understand career outcomes in the German system.

Administrative Staff

Cindy Petrites, PhD
Assistant Director, Alumni Career Services, UWM
Dr. Petrites is a career advisor for UWM alumni, and previously worked at the University of Chicago, advising graduate students in the humanities on careers and employment. She holds a PhD from Princeton in comparative literature, so has already accomplished the transition to an alt-ac career. She will be a key member of our alumni support efforts, and a valuable advisor on the issues doctoral students face in careers beyond the academy.

Nigel Rothfels, PhD
Director, Office of Undergraduate Research
Dr. Rothfels earned a PhD in history from Harvard and since then has combined an active research and publication agenda with an alt-ac career at UWM as administrative staff. A leader in the field of animal studies, he knows both the academic and the non-academic worlds well. He is proficient in German.

Kari Whittenberger-Keith, PhD
Senior Proposal Manager and Co-Director, Responsible Conduct of Research, Office of Research
With a PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Texas–Austin, Dr. Whittenberger-Keith has moved between faculty and non-academic positions throughout her career, including work in non-profit, consulting, and alternative academic settings. She can help the committee better understand how to translate academic training into concrete applications in the workplace.

UWM Faculty

Benjamin Campbell, PhD
Associate Professor, Anthropology
Dr. Campbell will serve as a liaison to social science faculty with interests related to the humanities. He also will work to attract members of the local professional community interested in mentoring students, and develop networks for possible outreach efforts.

Kennan Ferguson, PhD
Associate Professor, Political Science
Director, Center for 21st Century Studies
A political theorist and the director of UWM’s internationally renowned humanities center, Dr. Ferguson coordinates the most important venue for interdisciplinary exchange at UWM, and one that already supports alt-ac training for PhDs. Because humanities centers currently organize efforts for doctoral career diversity, C21 will be an important point of institutional contact.

Scott Graham, PhD
Associate Professor, English
Director, Scientific and Medical Communications Laboratory
The coordinator of Professional Writing at UWM, Dr. Graham brings experience with collaborative humanities research, expertise in professional writing, and insights on curricular changes. His program places PhD graduates in both academia and industry, so his expertise on career diversity will be valuable.

Michael Liston, PhD
Professor, Philosophy
Dr. Liston is an active member of UWM’s graduate faculty and the former Associate Dean of the Graduate School. His experience in that position affords him a detailed understanding of graduate study across departments, and its relationship to larger administrative structures.

Joseph Rodriguez, PhD
Professor, History
Director of Graduate Studies, History
Dr. Rodriguez is the director of graduate studies in History, a department with a successful Public History MA that has placed graduates at museums and other cultural institutions around the country. He understands the qualifications necessary for this kind of work, and has long experience forging partnerships between the academy and other cultural organizations.

Amanda Seligman, PhD
Professor, History
Chair of the Department of History
Dr. Seligman is the author of Is Graduate School Really for You: The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master’s or PhD (Hopkins, 2012), and has a demonstrated commitment to thinking about graduate education from the student’s perspective. As a former director of Urban Studies, she has experience with that program’s more diverse curriculum and wider range of career outcomes.

Romila Singh, PhD
Associate Professor, Lubar School of Business
Dr. Singh specializes in human resource management, especially career management issues related to career choice and work-life relationships. She provides crucial perspectives on career choice and on the hiring needs of businesses.

Erik Timmerman, PhD
Associate Professor, Communication
Dr. Timmerman studies the application of theory and research to better understand organizational and team communication, customer service transactions, and the ways that communication technology impacts students’ learning in college. His expertise in organizational communication will help us better understand what businesses want and need from doctors in the humanities.