Independent Learning: Instructors

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Professor working remotely via laptop

Independent Learning instructors are highly qualified course designers and facilitators who hold advanced degrees.


Joan A Bell-Kaul portrait


PhD, English literature, composition, & linguistics with an Intellectual History minor, U.W. Milwaukee

I grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm near Fremont surrounded by Alder Creek, Lake Poygan, and the Wolf River. The U.W. Milwaukee is located in a very urban setting, which was a real contrast to the more rural environment that I prefer. But that was also “a learning experience”! Always “in love with” reading and writing,” I knew from the age of six that teaching English subjects was “my calling.” I enjoy communicating with students from Wisconsin and all over the world–and learning with them, which is why I like working with Independent Learning students.

JAC D BULK (Social Sciences)

Bio forthcoming.



PhD, Modern Latin American Literature, Minor in Portuguese Literature, UW-Madison

I was born and raised in Havana, Cuba.I have a Philology Degree from the Universidad de La Habana- I “discovered” Latin America there. I like languages and their related cultures. Particularly the “Latino universe”.I enjoy listening to music- all kinds of good music- reading and watching movies. More recently, I’ve developed a passion for the English Language and Culture – especially those of the USA. I enjoy working one-on -one with students and especially with motivated students who decide to learn by themselves- with a little help.

Photo of Jeanne Connors


PhD, Cultural Anthropology; Minor: Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education; Specialization: Medical/Psychological Anthropology, UW-Madison

I grew up in a small farming community in southwest Wisconsin, married, and had three children–two daughters and a son. After becoming a single mother, I worked full-time while attending the University. I chose anthropology and the field of Native Americans because I was always interested in their cultures. Eventually I won grants to conduct fieldwork with the Navajo Indians of Arizona on their perceptions of autism and mental retardation. Since obtaining my PhD, I’ve worked on several Indian reservations as a consultant on alcohol and drug prevention and dysfunctional families. I enjoy teaching with the Independent Learning Program after retiring from active fieldwork as it keeps me in touch with students both statewide and nationally, as well as international students.

IRENA B FRACZEK (Geography, Physical Sciences)

Bio forthcoming.


Bio forthcoming.

JESSE GANT (History)

Bio forthcoming.

Photo of Sage Goellner


Bio forthcoming.


Bio forthcoming.


PhD, Latin & Greek, UW-Madison

I am a native of Long Beach, California. After earning my graduate degree with a major in philosophy at the College of Our Lady, Washington, DC, I went on to complete my MA in Classics (Latin and Greek) at Tulane University and my PhD in Classics (Latin and Greek) at UW-Madison. In addition to my work with the Division of Continuing Studies, I have worked as a research specialist focusing on the Latin writings of South Slavic humanists and as a research scientist for the Dictionary of American Regional English, a special project attached to the UW English Department. I very much enjoy working with IL students, helping them to achieve their academic goals.

Photo of Edward Hopkins


PhD, Meteorology, UW-Madison

I serve as Assistant Wisconsin State Climatologist, and am co-author to Wisconsin’s Weather and Climate. One of the things that originally drew me to study at UW-Madison was the opportunity to attend a world-class center for atmospheric sciences and study with renowned meteorologists and climatologists. I’m interested in the weather and climate of the Upper Midwest as well as the history of weather observations across this region – starting in the early 19th century. One of the things I like about working with Independent Learning students is helping them to understand some of the basics of weather and climate processes and to work toward an appreciation of the environment.



PhD, German, UW-Madison

I grew up in northern Minnesota, where I developed an appreciation for water, Boundary Waters camping, and different cultures. I majored in German and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota in Duluth before beginning graduate work at UW-Madison. Learning a language is the first step toward understanding a different culture and a new way to see the world, and I enjoy sharing the experience of learning about a new culture through the German language with students. Working with IL students offers me the opportunity to get to know each student as a whole individual, and to work with them toward their individual learning goals.

Photo of Sandra Loman


M.A., History, University of Colorado- Boulder

Although I grew up in California and Colorado, I have lived in Wisconsin since 1971; I guess that means I am a combination of a Golden Bear, a Buffalo and a Badger. I am a retired history Professor (Madison College) and I spend my time as a docent (guide) at the Chazen Museum of Art, taking art history classes, traveling in Europe, and engaging with my primary hobby: photography. I majored in history at Whittier College (California) with a minor in French. As a graduate student I continued with a major in European history and a minor in political science. I love the study of history because it helps me satisfy my curiosity about so many different aspects of human endeavor and the human condition. Many of my Independent Learning students major in fields outside the humanities, and studying history introduces them to a new way of seeing and thinking about information, events and people.

ANDREW N MANGHAM (Natural Sciences)

Bio forthcoming.

Photo of Jacqueline Mauer


MA, Professional French, UW-Madison

In 2004, I earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire in language teaching, and have since taught both English as a Second Language and French in a variety of contexts. I also hold a Master’s degree in Professional French (concentration: International Development) from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. While I have strong ties to my native Wisconsin, I have lived and worked in France, Sweden, Haiti, Quebec, and Guatemala studying and creating educational programming in marginalized communities. Language learning has opened doors for me personally and professionally, and I am incredibly passionate about helping others access those doors. No matter what your motivation for selecting this course, I am excited to work with you and support you!


Bio forthcoming.

Photo: Alan Ng, Director of Outreach Technology and Faculty Associate, Administration/Humanities


PhD, German (GDR poetry, cultural history), UW-Madison

I am a 4-season bike commuter, higher education IT director, and a professional Irish traditional musician. I earned my undergraduate degree in Physics, German, and music composition at UC-Berkeley, before continuing my graduate studies in German at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where I had the opportunity to learn and teach Dutch. German is a very satisfying language for clearly communicating abstract and complex concepts. The fact that I have learned so much and so deeply about its associated cultures and histories means it will always feel like a home. I enjoy empowering researchers with the ability to independently mine the wealth hidden in German-language texts in all fields.


PhD, Spanish, UW-Madison

I grew up in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, a small town 30 minutes east of Green Bay on Lake Michigan. I love spending time with my family outdoors in all seasons, although I enjoy fall the most because of the changing leaves and variety of veggies available at the farmers’ market. In my spare time I run, practice yoga and read. I majored in Spanish at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and from there attended Loyola University Chicago for my Master’s degree before coming to Madison. Studying the Spanish language exposed me to new cultures and helped me see the world from a different perspective. This was especially true when I traveled to Spain on three separate occasions. I found that living with a family greatly improved my communication skills while giving me first-hand experience of day-to-day life in a different country. Working with IL students is very rewarding for me because I can tailor my teaching approach to fit each student’s needs. This, in turn, helps establish a collaborative relationship in which the student and I work together to reach his or her learning goals.

Photo of Sandrine Pell


MA, French as a Foreign Language, University of Burgundy. Dissertator in the Second Language Acquisition Doctoral Program in UW-Madison.

Dissertator in the Second Language Acquisition Doctoral Program in UW-Madison.)
I grew up in a small village, about an hour away from Lyon. When I am not teaching or writing my PhD I like to be active, to be outside with my husband and two sons. I like to walk, swim, ski, and snowshoe. I majored in English literature as an undergraduate in the University of Lyon. Then I did an MA in teaching French as a Foreign Language in the University of Burgundy (through a distance learning program), and now I am finishing my PhD in Second Language Acquisition in Madison. I love to learn and talk about languages and cultures in various contexts. Teaching French is also a great opportunity to talk about current social issues. I enjoy getting to know Independent Learning students through their work and supporting them in achieving their goals. I love to be part of their journey and I feel that although we never meet in person, we share a lot.

Photo of Mark Quigley


PhD Physics, Catholic University, Washington, DC

I grew up in Michigan, worked construction and as a laborer on an oil exploration crew and decided that was too much work so I went to graduate school. I was mistaken that it would be easier. I worked on my dissertation at NASA Goddard Space Flight, where I got to know a few astronauts. I worked for the astronomy department at UW for a while, and spent three years doing MRI research for the Department of Medical Physics. I started working with the IL program during that time, which I continued while doing fusion research for the Naval Research Lab in Washington. Currently, I do a lot of work in treatment of hydrocephalus and various brain cancers and some rare birth defects with Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. Without question, the part of teaching I’ve found most rewarding is working with incarcerated students. It was my job to help them with their classes the best I could but I’ve heard from parents and students that the nonjudgmental relation I had with them while incarcerated was a major factor in their being able to become a part of society again upon their release.

Photo of Jackie Splitter


PhD, Counseling Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman

Prior to earning my PhD in 1976, I earned bachelor of science in biology and a master of education degrees from Kansas State university. I grew up in Kansas City Kansas. Since I lived in a city I loved getting out into the mountains and countryside when I lived in Washington state. I have also lived in Washington DC and San Antonio Texas. In San Antonio I worked with minority students in a special high school and decided I wanted to do something to help students learn life skills It was from this experience that I decided to go to graduate school in psychology. Upon getting my PhD I moved to Madison and took a job in the clinical psychology program at the university of Wisconsin clinical psychology department where I was in charge of the training clinic for graduate students. Currently I have a psychology practice in Madison. What I most enjoy about my work and the field of psychology is helping people to learn about themselves and how to use those skills for a happier more productive life.

Portrait of David Werther


PhD, philosophy, UW-Madison

I am an aspiring fly fisherman and am overjoyed anytime I catch a Black-Earth-Creek brown trout. My interests are in the intersection of philosophy and theology and I have graduate degrees in both disciplines. I am co-editor, with Mark Linville of Philosophy and the Christian Worldview: Analysis, Assessment and Development (Bloomsbury, 2012) and with Susan Werther of C.S. Lewis’s List The Ten Books that Influenced Him Most (Bloomsbury, 2015). Philosophy has taught me the importance of identifying and evaluating presuppositions. Many students take a single course in Philosophy to fulfill a general-education requirement. I enjoy introducing students to Philosophy and helping them develop and hone their skills in critical thinking.


MA-Italian Language & Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison

I’m from Wisconsin and have a deep appreciation for the natural world around me and love to explore it on foot, bike, skis or in a canoe, often with a camera in hand. I majored in Italian and Spanish at UW-Madison, after spending a year abroad in Bologna, Italy. My Master’s Degree is also from UW-Madison where I was awarded a teaching assistantship. Since then, I have returned to Italy on many occasions for travel and further study in Perugia, Rome and Reggio-Emilia. I enjoy fine art, architecture, opera and good food on a perch overlooking the sea–Italy has it all! Learning another language is a window into another culture which can broaden your world and lead to greater understanding of others. I hope to bring this experience to my students.