In Physics Department:

  • Professor Jolien Creighton, Graduate Advisor (Office: Rm. KEN 4077) Professor Creighton is available to advise you on academic matters concerning your graduate studies.
  • Professor Dawn Erb, Associate Chair (Office: Rm. KEN 4087; Tel.: (414) 229-3654) Professor Erb is involved with TA appointments and class assignments.
  • Kate Valerius, Graduate Program Assistant (Office: Rm. KEN 2150, Tel.: (414) 229-6575) Kate Valerius is your first point of contact. She will help you with the application process, monitors and maintains all application files and, for those students who join the department, works closely with them, along with the Graduate Advisor, during their career.
  • Steve Kennedy, Academic Department Manager (Office: Rm. KEN 2150B, Tel.: (414) 229-6266) Steve Kennedy is the person to see regarding payroll-related and financial matters.
  • Department Receptionist (Rm. KEN 2150, Tel.: (414) 229-4474) The department receptionist can assist with general questions regarding the department as well as arranging for a meeting with the Department Chair.
  • Professor Philip Chang, Department Chair (Office: Rm. KEN 2150, Tel.: (414) 229-4474)

In Graduate School (Mitchell Hall):

Patricia Hayes, Doctoral Student Specialist (414) 229-6263

Pat is the first contact for doctoral students in the Graduate School. She handles all doctoral degree requirements and any other related problems and questions that you might have.

Information for New Students

Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and I-9 forms:

Obtain and fill out the following forms and return them to Academic Department Manager, Steve Kennedy. The deadline for these items is within 3 days of the appointment for Fall.

  • I-9 (new T.A.’s)
  • W-4 (everyone)
  • Foreign Students only: Verification of Employment

Health Insurance:

Sign up for health insurance within 30 days of hire. Submit your completed application to Benefits in Engelmann 125. All the health plans offered by the State of Wisconsin have what is called a uniform benefits package. In addition to cost, another major difference between the various health plans are the providers or physicians that participate in the plan. If you know of a specific physician, or like the idea of having medical care close to where you live, then pay close attention to the provider’s listed with each plan.If you have questions, the Benefits office (414)229-4925 is very helpful in sorting out the various health plans.

Registering for Classes:

  • See or contact Prof. Jolien Creighton for advice and class selection.
  • To register for your classes on line, go to the I&MT Computer Lab in Bolton Hall, Rm 225, and ask the consultant on duty for help in this procedure. You will have to supply a PIN number, which the consultants can help you obtain.
  • Access Paws website


  • Open a local bank account. One convenient institution is the UW Credit Union with a branch located on the first floor of the UWM Student Union off of the Atrium area. See the UW Credit Union website for more information.
  • The Physics office (KEN 2150) can provide a form to arrange for automatic payroll deposit.
  • Your initial monthly paycheck will not arrive until October 1 (first month of the contract period). For more information see the Academic Department Manager, Steve Kennedy (414)229-6266.

Foreign Students Only:

  • Get a temporary Social Security Number from the Payroll Office in Engelmann Hall 170. You will need to bring your I-94 and I-20, which you must present to the Payroll Office.
  • To obtain a permanent Social Security Number go to the Federal Building (across from the Grand Avenue Mall) at 310 W. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 260 (on the second floor in the West tower) in downtown Milwaukee. You will need your passport, I-94 and I-20 forms. Their phone number is 800-772-1213 (national) or 414-297-1790 (local).

You cannot be paid until you have a Social Security Number.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.


  • Since you are a student at UWM you have been issued a ePanther identification. To utilize this identification for accessing your email, campus computing facilities, the UWM library facilities, and other uses you must activate your ePanther account. This is most easily accomplished by going to the UWM Campus Technology website. There are nearly 400 computers at six campus locations that can be accessed with your ePanther ID and password. The website General Access Computer Labs/Lounges gives details of locations and up-to-date availability information.
  • You will need a separate ID/password to access the Physics Computer Lab (Physics Rm. 226.) Use of the computers in this room is limited to Physics majors, graduate students, scientists, postdocs, and staff. The room is also used as a teaching lab for several physics department courses on a limited basis. E-mail the Physics department manager Steve Kennedy to obtain an access ID/password.
  • Get a Upass (transit pass) that enables you to use the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS), which is automatically paid through segregated student fees. Details for obtaining a Upass can be found by going to the UWM Parking and Transit website. Up to date information concerning all bus routes in Milwaukee is available at the Milwaukee County Transit System website.
  • Make sure you attend the department chair’s party (date to be announced). This is a great way for you to meet the faculty and the senior graduate students.
  • A large number of outdoor activities are available near the UWM campus. Lakefront activities are described in the Milwaukee County Parks and Recreation department Lakefront Activities website.
  • Attend the weekly Wednesday Afternoon Physics Teas (3:30 pm, every Wednesday afternoon in KEN 3118: the kitchenette next to the elevators on the third floor of the KIRC) to meet and talk with your classmates and professors.



Physics Building

Photocopying, Scanning, Printing: There are three photocopiers located on the second, third, and fourth floors of the KIRC that are available for work-related copying, scanning, or printing. One machine is in KEN 2150 which is open Monday through Friday from 7:45am to 4:30pm. Plan to complete your copy job before 4:30 p.m. since KEN 2150 is locked after business office hours. A second and third photocopier are located in KEN 3118A and KEN 4118A. These last two photocopiers are continuously available on a first-come first-serve basis. All three machines can be accessed by means of print server links from individual computers. Documents can be scanned to a public drive and retrieved from a UWM owned computer in the Physics department.

Library: There are a number of books available in the N. J. Papastamatiou Memorial Library, which is currently housed in Room KEN 2140A of the KIRC building. To access the collection, you may get a key from any Physics department secretary. More extensive holdings are available at the UWM Golda Meir Library located on campus.

FAX: There is a FAX machine in the KEN 2150. However, it is for work-related business only. The FAX number is (414)229-5589.

Elsewhere on Campus

Klotsche Center & Pavilion: This is the university recreational facility that is for students, staff, and faculty. The facility includes fitness studios, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, and other sport or fitness opportunities. Details of admission and use are provided in the UWM University Recreation webpage.

Norris Health Center: The Norris Health Center assists students in identifying, understanding and responding to their most urgent health issues through medical and mental health care and health promotion programs. The center hours and details of their various programs are found in the Norris Health Center website.

Golda Meir Library: This is the UWM campus library. The library services include the various collections (books, periodicals, music, media, etc), archives, special collections, and a Grind Coffee Shop location. A detailed discussion of the hours and accessibility can be found on the Golda Meir Library website.

Student Union: The Student Union provides the university community with a wide range of activities and services. These include various events and programs, several choices for food and snacks, information centers, as well as stores and services. Details of the Union’s operation can be seen on the Student Union website.

Fine Arts: The College of the Arts & Architecture hosts a large number of theater and music related events on campus, particularly around the Theater and the Zelazo Center. Many of them are very inexpensive, or even free for students.

For more information

For information on Graduate School rules and regulations, see the Graduate Student Academic Policies and Procedures page. This information is the place to go for official information on Graduate School dates and deadlines, academic policy and procedures, and degree requirements imposed by the Graduate School.