Alumni spotlights for 2017 disAbility Advocate

Medical imaging Carillon Tower Glass blowing Laptop and lecture A smiling student Sunrise over the Education Building Chairs on the Memorial Union Terrace Bascom hall staircase Graduating students in silhouette Crowd of people on Bascom Hill A student tutoring Student with diploma Dance Department performance Night view of Bascom in the winter Memorial Union Terrace in autumn Memorial Union Terrace chairs Dance department performance Bucky Badger in front of a parade float Bascom Hall in the summertime Lincoln statue Students walking in the snow University of Wisconsin - Madison Crest Lincoln statue in the snow Forward Logo Student at graduation Bicycle in the snow Rathskellar Fireplace Sailboat with Capitol Building in the background A sailboat at the Memorial Union Bascom Hill in Autumn Bucky Badger studying with a student. Students among blooming trees at UW-Madison Bucky reading a book University flag on Bascom Hill Video camera view screen Student on a frozen lake Lincoln Statue on Bascom Hill Bascom Hill in winter Students collaborating Memorial Union Terrace chairs in the snow Kohl Center logo Graduates with diplomas A hands-on project Stacked, illuminated figures View from the top of Van Hise


Main Office

Department of Rehabilitation Psychology & Special Education
School of Education
Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall, Rm. 431B
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/263.5860
Fax: 608/262.8108

or by contact form

Vakunta leads developmental program for Ebola survivors

Linda Vakunta
Project 1808, led by UW–Madison alumna Linda Vakunta, launched the Ebola Survivors Livelihood Skills development program in January 2017.

Vakunta earned her master’s degree in rehabilitation psychology in 2011 and is both the program lead and Project 1808 executive director.

The program is funded by a one-year grant from the Sierra Leone U.S. Embassy office and is expected to train over 70 Ebola survivors at Rokel in computer training, catering, driving and tailoring.

“After engaging in conversations with survivors and executives of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola survivors, it was evident that the critical concern was long term solutions to their everyday challenges,” Vakunta says in an article posted to the Project 1808 website.


Special education alums co-author
‘30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom’

30 Days book coverUW–Madison alumnae Paula Kluth and Julie Causton are co-authors of a book published in August 2016 that’s titled, “30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom.”

A web page promoting the book explains how Kluth and Causton will “introduce you to the information, competencies and habits you will need to become a great co-teaching partner” in just 30 days.

The promotion continues: “The authors will help you get to know your co-teacher, understand each of your roles, improve your planning and co-planning skills, expand the structures you use to teach and support students, and even celebrate your accomplishments.”

Kluth earned both a bachelor’s (1992) and doctorate (1998) in special education from UW–Madison, while Causton received a bachelor’s (1995), master’s (1999) and Ph.D. (2003) in special education from the university.

Kluth is an author, educational consultant and advocate. She is a former special educator and inclusion facilitator. Causton is a professor at Syracuse University, an author and independent consultant.

Donovan honored by National Alliance on Mental Illness Wisconsin

UW–Madison alumna Valerie Donovan, suicide prevention coordinator at University Health Services (UHS), received the 2016 Community Service Program of the Year Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Wisconsin for her work on the campus suicide prevention initiative Mental Health Matters.

Donovan was honored April 29, 2016 at the NAMI Wisconsin annual conference along with award co-recipient UW–Madison Police Department Officer Barrett Erwin.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students and UW–Madison is not immune to suicide or its contributory factors. As the campus suicide prevention coordinator, Donovan addresses suicide as a public health issue and works with campus partners on student mental health needs. Erwin’s interest in suicide prevention within UW Housing connected him to Donovan. Together, they designed a program to de-stigmatize mental health and encourage help-seeking behaviors for first-year students living in residence halls.

Donovan — who joined UHS in 2013 — earned her undergraduate degree from the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education in 2011 and received a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from that same department in 2012.

Gallagher-Lepak named to dean post at UW–Green Bay

Susan Galagher-Lepak
UW–Madison alumna Susan Gallagher-Lepak was named to the position of founding Dean of UW–Green Bay’s College of Health, Education and Social Welfare, the university announced in June 2016.

Gallagher-Lepak was the second dean to be appointed in UW–Green Bay’s new four-college model, the first major restructuring of academic administration at the university in two decades.

Gallagher-Lepak earned her Ph.D. in rehabilitation psychology from UW–Madison in 1996. She previously served as chair of UW–Green Bay’s Nursing programs and Director of UW–Green Bay’s BSN-LINC (a national online bachelor of science in nursing) program since 2012.