University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Beth Stafford

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Dec 1, 2009 
2009 UWMAA Awards for Teaching Excellence
Photos by Alan Magayne Roshak (l)Peter Jakubowski (r)
Julia Snethen and Raoul Deal
Julia Snethen (left) and Raoul Deal (right) will be honored at the Alumni Association’s annual Holiday Reception Dec. 3.


The UWM Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its 2009 teaching awards. Julia Snethen, associate professor of nursing, received the UWMAA Award for Teaching Excellence. Raoul Deal, senior lecturer in the Department of Visual Art, received the UWMAA Teaching Excellence Award for Non-tenure Track Instructors.

Snethen and Deal will be honored at the Alumni Association’s annual Holiday Reception on Thursday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Alumni House. UWMAA scholarship recipients also will be recognized at the event. If you are interested in attending, please contact Erin Harrass, 414-906-4662 or

Award for Teaching Excellence

Julia Snethen
Julia Snethen works with nursing student Melissa Behnke on a research poster project.

Julia Snethen

Associate Professor

College of Nursing

Julia Snethen is a teacher who works well with students of all ages.

As an expert in childhood obesity, she teaches children and parents in the community about sound nutrition and healthy eating habits. A “red-yellow-green” game Snethen developed for “bad,” “not-so-good” and “good” food choices was a hit with both parents and children, says Ann Snyder, professor of human movement sciences and principal investigator on the project.

“The games and activities reflected the developmental level of the children, but were designed so that the parents (some of whom spoke little English) would also follow and respond as well,” Snyder wrote in Snethen’s nomination letter.

Nursing students and colleagues praise Snethen’s ability to make complex, abstract concepts come alive in the college classroom. She uses peacock feathers to get students thinking about the research process; nose masks to discuss diversity; pick-up sticks, tape and clothespins in a class on theory; and lets the students act out case studies with spontaneous melodrama.

“Students become very involved in the melodramas, laugh a great deal – and remember the concepts,” writes colleague Cindy Greenberg, chair of the Department of Nursing at California State University, Fullerton.

“You made theory easy and fun to learn,” wrote student Jody Ann Krahn.

Snethen has been with UWM since 1999, and earned her doctorate in pediatric nursing from UWM. Her studies on childhood obesity are internationally known. In addition to her teaching and research, she is active in professional organizations, her church and in the community.

“She uses the skills she learned as a pediatric nurse to have fun and provide an engaging learning environment for her students,” wrote Teresa Davis, associate professor of nursing, in her nomination letter. “She provides them with the skills to practice and master as they provide health teaching in the community.”

Teaching Excellence Award for Non-tenure Track Instructors

Raoul Deal
Raoul Deal worked on a special project with students in the Peck School of the Arts Kenilworth East building. They painted large theatrical backdrops for “The Road North,” a collaborative project with Rebecca Holderness (Theatre) and John Stropes (Music).

Raoul Deal

Senior Lecturer, Department of Visual Art

Peck School of the Arts

Artist-in-Residence, Cultures and Communities Program

College of Letters and Science

Raoul Deal has excelled in improving opportunities for students to learn in and out of the classroom since 1999, when he began teaching Drawing 101.

“He immediately put heart and soul into teaching students, while also working to find ways to bring diverse artists to Milwaukee,” wrote nominator Lee Ann Garrison, chair and associate professor in the Department of Visual Art. Deal often takes students into Milwaukee neighborhoods, running community art projects in central city institutions such as the Walnut Way Conservation Corps, the Boys and Girls Club and the United Community Center.

Early in his career at UWM, Deal became involved with the Cultures and Communities Program, where he has been in residence since 2002. He completely revised Art 100, “Basic Art Experiences,” the department’s largest lecture course for non-art majors. The course, which enrolls more than 300 students each semester, was transformed from a “Reader’s Digest” version of Western art history into a General Education and Cultures and Communities course that examines North American art through the study of African-American, Native-American, Latino-American, Asian-American and European-American traditions.

Deal assumed the task of coordinating and instructing the Visual Art Living Learning Community at RiverView Residence Hall, a pilot for UWM. Deal teaches a class at RiverView for art majors in the fall; in spring, he brings the students to Kenilworth Square East (primarily used for faculty and graduate teaching, studios and research) for their follow-up class. In that capacity, he has worked to forge connections with neighboring Riverwest, running service-learning projects that pair UWM students with young people from local high schools and with artists at Riverwest’s Jazz Gallery.

“Raoul is one of those instructors who can get students motivated to produce quality work. His students give him good evaluations, saying he is tough, but thorough and fair,” wrote Garrison.

Leslie Vansen, professor of visual art, added: “We are extremely fortunate to have him as a colleague; our students benefit from his stewardship and mentoring not only in the classroom but in their lives as citizens and artists long after their interactions with Raoul.”