New Faculty & Staff 2019-20

Matt Bucher

Matt BucherMatt Bucher is on duty at the front desk of the Office of Student Services as a university services associate.

It’s a position that requires a great deal of interaction with students, potential students and visitors so it’s good that he enjoys being in the people business. “Any opportunity I can get to work with others to help work towards and achieve their goals is one I look forward to. Coming from a family of teachers, I have a sincere appreciation for the role they play in our society!”

He grew up in Waukesha and now lives in Bay View. He earned his bachelor’s degree at UW-LaCrosse. When he’s not working at UWM, he says he loves being outside and active, whether it’s going for a run, playing golf or “just enjoying the day.”

Karla Giese

Karla GieseKarla Giese joined the faculty of the School of Education in the fall of 2019 as a visiting assistant professor and program coordinator for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing area.

A native of Minnesota, she earned her BA in elementary education/DHH and special education from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She earned her MA in early childhood special education from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and is currently in the dissertation phase of her EdD program through Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. She spent 22 years in the classroom and in program supervision in settings from self-contained to residential schools.

She was attracted to the position at UWM by the opportunity to provide deaf/hard of hearing teacher certification coursework through a distance program that incorporates on-the-job experience with online learning.

She enjoys spending time with the different students in the program as she observes them in their teaching. “I enjoy being able to provide feedback from the lens of a deaf person, the very population they are learning how to teach.”

In her spare time, she likes to read and spend time with her husband and four children.

Xu Li

Xu LiXu Li in an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. He was born in the southwestern Sichuan province in China and went to the School of Mathematical Sciences in Beijing Normal University for college. He earned his master’s degree in counseling psychology at Beijing Normal University and his doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Maryland.

Having grown up in a Chinese village surrounded by mountains, he became a passionate hiker. His parents encouraged him to go to a very competitive high school in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

“The three years in high school taught me a lot, greatly broadened my horizons, and inspired my deep desire to ‘look beyond the mountains’ to see the fantastic world outside.”

After initially starting out in mathematics, he found he wanted to go into a career that involved more interpersonal contact, choosing counseling psychology.

He and his wife, Hongyang, enjoy spending time hiking together, playing badminton, music, cooking and card games like Texas Hold’em. They were married in the summer of 2018, and she is now pursuing her doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Maryland.

With family and friends in China, they also enjoy frequent video chats. “In a way, both my wife and I have been ‘hikers’ in our life, climbing up the mountains and crossing over the seas to explore the bigger world,” he says. “And it’s through our beloved family and friends, that we feel anchored, get comfort, and find belongingness.”

He chose to come to UWM because, he says, “I was deeply impressed by the collegial and supportive environment at the department, and really like the people here. I am also attracted by its commitment to multiculturalism.”

He’s also enjoying the city, he adds. “My wife and I are still settling into Milwaukee but it feels great so far. We would like to explore more hiking trails and Asian restaurants!”

Lisa Litzsey

Lisa LitzseyLisa Litzsey is the program manager for the UW System Institute for Urban Education, which is housed at UWM.

She grew up in Waukesha, and earned both her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a minor in natural science, and her master’s degree in school and community counseling from UWM. She accepted the position at UWM because she saw it as an opportunity “to grow and push myself professionally.”

One of her favorite things to do outside the office is to treat herself to a Starbucks and visit Barnes and Noble to get a stack of books to read.

Leah Rouse

Leah RouseLeah Rouse, a former faculty member, rejoined the School of Education as part of the Electa Quinney Institute. She was born in Milwaukee, but spent a great deal of time with her grandparents in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A former police officer, she earned her BA in Spanish and a BS in Criminal Justice from UWM. She completed her master’s degree in Educational Psychology at UWM and her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at UW-Madison. Her research has focused on law enforcement wellness and she has worked closely with American Indian tribes in Wisconsin on wellness and mental health issues.

While her spare time is limited, she says, “I like to spend it with my children and with my partner in the peaceful woods at the Menominee reservation. “

She adds: “I was excited to return to UWM to be reconnected with the Counseling Area and Ed Psych faculty, students, and staff, and to be part of the mission of the Electa Quinney Institute.”

Dante Salto

Dante SaltoDante Salto is an assistant professor in the Department of Administrative Leadership. Originally from Argentina, he earned his undergraduate degree at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba. After doing graduate work in Austin, Texas, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to earn his doctorate.

He was born in Argentina’s La Pampa province, “proudly known as the land that produces the best steaks in the world and, necessarily, for hosting far more cows than people,” he says.

Cordoba, where he earned his undergraduate degree, is an eight-hour drive from his hometown. He had the opportunity to visit his extended family and spend the holidays with relatives during Argentina’s summer—December, January, and February.

At the university, he soon decided he wanted to specialize in educational policy and administration from an international and comparative perspective.

His curiosity and interest in travel and new places led him to spend a semester at the University of Texas at Austin. “It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had,” he says. “It was my first time taking courses in English, and they were graduate courses. I succeeded in that endeavor, and I met fantastic colleagues and made long-lasting friendships in Austin.”

In his spare time, he enjoys biking, hiking and swimming. He also enjoys movies in the cinema and on Netflix.

He stays in touch with his family in Argentina via video chats. “Technology has revolutionized many aspects of our life, I’d say mostly for good, and video-calls are one of the best features. I stay in touch with my relatives and friends, in many cases sharing our daily lives, and I can see how my nephews and niece grow up.”

He’s found food is a great way to meet people in all the places he’s lived. “I have organized potlucks where classmates, neighbors, and colleagues would bring their favorite dishes to share. I love experimenting with authentic food from different parts of the world. The bottom line is that food is one of the best ways to get to know people and their culture. Food creates a sense of community and a sense of belonging far from home.”

Tara Serebin

Tara SerebinTara Serebin is Director of the Elementary Education Program. She also teaches the classroom management course and an introduction to teaching course that focuses on the issues that surround educators in urban schools. She also enjoys serving as a supervisor for students in their final semester of student teaching. Serebin is passionate about sharing strategies to create positive and productive classroom environments and to teach non-violent conflict resolution skills with pre-service teachers. Outside of her work at UWM, Serebin is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee.

Serebin received her B.S. from University of Wisconsin – Madison and her M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Rebecca Weber

Rebecca WeberRebecca Weber joined the School of Education this fall as a university services associate, providing faculty support in the Office of Student Services. She was attracted to the position as an alumni of UWM, she says. An anthropology major, she adds: “I loved my time here as a student, and working in higher ed is my passion.”