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Oscar W. Neale Fellowship

Oscar W. Neale Fellowship

The Oscar W. Neale Fellowship is a unique opportunity to catalyze collaboration among educators. The recipient will receive $10,000 to support collaborative research and development. The School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is the proud steward of an endowment by the Neale family. This endowment supports a Neale Fellow in an aspirational professional development project involving faculty, staff, and students at UWSP and one or more PK12 schools, school districts, and/or agencies. Appropriate projects will honor the life and work of Oscar W. Neal, especially by enriching the academic and personal lives of PK12 students. Individuals and groups are both eligible to apply. However, a proposal must clearly have a single leader. The recipient will present the results of their fellowship at the annual SOE Celebration of Teaching and Learning. Appropriate projects will honor the life and work of Oscar W. Neal, especially by enriching the academic and personal lives of PK12 students. Individuals and groups are both eligible to apply. However, a proposal must clearly have a single leader. The recipient will present the results of their fellowship at the annual SOE Celebration of Teaching and Learning.
Oscar W. Neale Fellowship

Oscar W. Neale Fellowship History

Oscar Neale came to Stevens Point Normal School in 1917 and was Director of Rural Education until his retirement in 1944. He then ran and was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate for two, four-year terms. A dormitory on the UWSP campus was named for him. Oscar Neale taught the first picture study course in a public institution in Wisconsin and was an authority on picture interpretation. Mr. Neale authored many articles and two widely used texts, Picture Study in the Grades, published in 1925, and World Famous Pictures, published in 1933. Mr. Neale is survived by one grandson: Col. James Neale of Gainesville, Ga. The descendants of Oscar Neale have donated $2.4 million to UWSP to create scholarship programs, to sponsor the Oscar W. Neale Memorial Celebration of Teaching banquet honoring cooperating teachers, and to fund the Oscar W. Neale Fellowship that recognizes and supports outstanding collaboration between UWSP faculty and educators in Central Wisconsin.

Life and Work of Oscar W. Neale

Oscar W. Neale was an educator for half a century, with an indelible impact on education in the Midwest and the nation. Neale was born in Birmingham, Erie County, Ohio, December 17, 1873. Neale was never an artist or a specialized art teacher. His interest in art probably began in 1896 at Doane Academy, a prep school associated with Denison University in Ohio. While at Doane, Neale elected to take drawing, an unusual step for a student following the classical course of study. He may have attended the public art appreciation courses given by faculty members from Shepherdson College, an institution affiliated with Denison 2.

Neale’s first three years of teaching were in rural schools in Nebraska. He rose to principal and then county school superintendent. Later, he joined the faculty of a teacher training school in Kearney, Nebraska. His period of superintendency in the Platte area had quite an impact on the rest of his career. In later years, he liked to recall that he became acquainted there with Buffalo Bill and had discussed artist Rosa Bonheur with him.

Art appreciation emerged as one of Neale’s great, enduring interests. One day while serving as county superintendent in Nebraska, Neale stopped at a one-room rural school where the teacher was decorating her walls. She had no source for attractive and aesthetically-valuable, educational visual aids, nor standards for choosing such aids, so she was using pictures clipped from the pages of a dressmaker’s magazine.

“I realized then,” Neale recalled, “that we were not paying enough attention to the artistic side of life for the children.” Neale felt that the arts were neglected in teacher education and children’s education–an unacceptable deficit when aiming to provide students with a well-rounded education and a full appreciation of the world. Years later, he was reported as saying that this incident had shown him that there had been too much emphasis on the three Rs, and he set about remedying this through a one-man crusade.

Neale bought, on credit, a collection of pictures that he carried with him as he went about on visits to country schools. He also carried a phonograph with him, playing music as he taught. This was the first time many of the people of rural Nebraska had ever experienced a phonograph. Neale’s collection grew to 200 pictures of great variety.

Neale essentially invented himself as an early kind of arts educator. He was invited to speak all over the nation, including serving as a speaker on the tent Chautauqua circuit. These Chautauquas were a low cost, traveling adult education movement–the forerunner to modern media such as public broadcasting and TED Talks.

A newspaper clipping of 1927 described Neale’s two decades on the Chautauqua platforms and continued, “Today Mr. Neale’s 200 reproductions are still intact, enclosed in two iron trunks that have traveled with him all over the nation where he has been called to give picture study interpretations. Iron stands and racks are part of his equipment and the entire display can be erected and made ready for use in an hour’s time.” The article describes something of the structure and content of these presentations. “The exhibit starts with masterpieces for the little folk, the children who are taught to correlate them with their studies in music, history, geography and literature. Another group is for high school age and still another division appeals to the adult age, in relation to music and song.”

In 1917, Neale came to Stevens Point Normal School, the institution that would grow into the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Neale was the director of Rural Education until his retirement in 1944. Neale seems to have been an outgoing personality and a persuasive speaker. A former student recalled his teaching with enthusiasm, recalling that Neale’s classroom was in the upper floor of a Stevens Point building. During the summer, without air conditioning it became a hot, stuffy space. Yet students flocked to his classes, drawn in by his intelligence and passion.

Neale authored many articles and two widely used texts, Picture Study in the Grades (1925) and World Famous Pictures (1933). Both these texts remain in the UWSP Archives. Neale traveled to hundreds of high schools to speak to prospective college students and to give commencement addresses and other speeches.

Following his retirement from Point, Neale represented the 23rd district in the Wisconsin state senate. He was elected in 1946 and 1950 as a Republican. In every era of his career, Neale exemplified serving others.

Following Neale’s death at age 83, a dormitory on the UWSP campus was named for him. Neale was survived by two grandchildren: the late Jean Neale Stassel of Anchorage, Alaska, and her brother Jim Neale of Gainesville, Georgia. Mrs. Stassel remembered her grandfather with great regard. She recalled his many years of Sunday school teaching where even the most active boys
“would sit quietly, enraptured by his words.”

Neale’s descendants donated $1.9 million to UWSP to create the three largest scholarship offered here: the Oscar W. Neale Scholarship in Education, the Neale Alumni Honors Scholarships for entering freshmen, and the Robert and Ventura Neale Memorial Scholarship for continuing Neale Alumni scholarship recipients. Neale’s legacy is further honored by the unique Oscar W. Neale Fellowship, supporting collaboration on aspirational professional development.

Neale on Art

The actual statements Neale made about art works in his classes and public lectures are difficult to determine, though something about them can be imagined by examining his publications.

Neale’s Preface to Picture Study in the Grades (1927) included this declaration: “Picture Study in the Grades aims primarily to develop in the children of our schools an appreciation and so that their ideas may be influenced by the patriotism, the piety and the beauty which the great artists of different ages have given the world” (n.p.). In the same preface, Neale quoted G. Stanley Hall’s discussion of Picture Study:

Teachers do not realize how much important, not only for children but for everyone who has special artistic training, the subject matter of a picture is than its execution, style, or technique. The good picture from an educational standpoint of view is either like a sermon teaching a great moral truth or like a poem, idealizing some important aspect of life. It must palpitate with human interest (Neale, 1927, n.p.).

Neale’s Work

Neale felt that art works had a moral, ethical and sometimes patriotic function. This sort of thinking was not just a provincial Wisconsin or even American notion. Neale worked within the framework of his own time. Picture Study was an important and valuable feature in an attempt to educate the American public about visual art.

Past Neale Fellowship Recipients

Neale Fellowship projects honor the life and work of Oscar W. Neal, especially by enriching the academic and personal lives of PK12 students.

Tessa Tracy – The Chain Collaboration
Graduate Student, Community & Organizational Leadership

Chamomile Nusz – Director Tomorrow River Community Charter School
Amber Garbe – UWSP F Elementary Language Arts Methods
Zoe Brown – UWSP Faculty Elementary Art Methods

Amy Wiza from Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Inc.

Dacia Giordana from Marshfield High School

Jodi Hoscheit from Sand Lake Elementary in the School District of Holmen

Heather Grabarski – Adams-Friendship Elementary School

Kirsten Bertsch, Claudine Fredy, Michelle Frola, Cari Honken, Brittney Kastens, Teresa Lecy-Wojcik, Kathryn Meyer-Blum, Stacey Wester, Amy Wiersma of Iola-Scandinavia School District
“Kindness Project”

Shelly Johnson and Jennifer Wietrzykowski of Bannach Elementary School, Stevens Point, with Prof. Christine Gould
The Challenge Café: Open for Advanced Learning during Response to Intervention Block

Kristine Doering – Pittsville School District
Pittsville Public Schools Pottery Throw Project

Lisa Vann – Almond-Bancroft School District
Spanish-speaking students in the Almond-Bancroft School District will be able to use technology to reduce communication barriers and improve academic performance.

Kathy Hansel – St. Stanislaus School, Stevens Point, Wis.
The fellowship will support the PAWS Literacy Lab (Point’s Alliance with St. Stanislaus) that will connect UWSP education students with St. Stanislaus students as they incorporate art and music into the teaching and learning of reading.

Joan Krohn, Merrill Head Start, Merrill, Wis.
Trees have always interested Joan Krohn. One of her earliest memories is swinging between two of them in a blanket hammock that her older brother rigged up. She also fondly recalls trying to hatch a broken concrete block with the neighbor kids in an eagles nest made from elm leaves. This interest in trees eventually led her to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as a forestry major. Five days in the required calculus class (which she promptly dropped) steered her to a Natural Resource major, secondary teaching certification and a minor in outdoor education. After a short stint as a camp ranger/director for the Girl Scouts of Milwaukee Area, Joan and her husband Jon (another UWSP alum) began, and are still in the process of, raising their family.

When the youngest started Kindergarten Joan rejoined the workforce as a substitute teacher. During her fourth year of subbing, she did a long term at Head Start/Early Childhood and was very kindly asked to stay. The UWSP School of Education came to the rescue designing a program of study so that she could keep her job and earn her Early Childhood certification and Masters.

Joan now likes to take her classes of three, four and five year olds into the woods to learn from trees. She and the entire staff have learned much about the value of exploring, observing, problem solving, overcoming challenges and thinking in nature. Joan proposed to create a natural playscape on the school grounds so that students could have these natural experiences every day. The Oscar W. Neale Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point was awarded to her to provide assistance to fulfill this vision. She hopes to kindle a life long interest in trees in her students, their parents and their community.

Amber Garbe, Xia Lee Vang, Kao Lee Lor, Madison Elementary School, Stevens Point, Wis.

Amber Garbe is in her fifth year of teaching. She has taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, ESL and reading. Kao Lee Lor is in her third year of teaching English Language Learners. Lee Vang is in her fourth year of teaching, having taught 1st, 3rd, and ESL K-6. Our team of educators worked to start and facilitate literacy nights for families learning English during the 2006-2007 school year. The family literacy nights morphed into the Pan Dau Art to Published Art project of publishing culturally-relevant books.

Statements of the impact of the Neale Fellowship project:

Impact on Community: The published multicultural books will increase the knowledge of the rich oral history of the Hmong culture across Central Wisconsin. In the spirit of Mr. Neale, this project works to make materials that are not readily available, multicultural books and art, more accessible. In addition, the process of creating and sharing the books align with Mr. Neale’s belief in the integration of art, history, and literature.

Impact on Teachers (Project Coordinators): The teachers involved in the project worked diligently to develop innovative ways to meet the needs of English language learning families. One of our goals was to infuse multicultural awareness into classroom and school curriculums.

Impact on UWSP Students: UWSP Students participating in this project increased their awareness of the diversity in schools and the importance of infusing multicultural literature to prepare themselves to meet the needs of all students within the increasingly diverse United States classrooms.

Impact on “Published” Families: Uprooted from their traditions and lifestyles, many Hmong families have reported that they have little time to share traditional folklore. By honoring the rich stories of the culture, families have seen how storytelling and literacy are connected.

Impact on Madison Elementary Students: Although approximately 24% of the school’s population is Hmong, we have very little representation of Hmong literature in our school library. With few multicultural resources available that highlight the Hmong culture, the remaining 76% of the school is generally unaware of the history of the Hmong people. By sharing stories from cultures, we have educated and instilled a level of honor and respect for diversity across the student body.

Lauren Ebbecke, Wausau East High School, Wausau, WI
Lauren holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology and chemistry from Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, N.C., and a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management from UWSP. She is in her ninth year of teaching at the high school and junior high school levels, most currently as a science teacher. Lauren is a successful grant writer, a certified trainer for Smart Boards, and an adjunct faculty member for Northcentral Technical College.

Lauren’s philosophy of science education “is to help students understand and appreciate the natural world in which we live.” Students must be able to make decisions based on their knowledge and understanding of scientific inquiry, including “questioning, forming hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, reaching conclusions, evaluating results, and communicating findings to others. One method of scientific inquiry is through the use of innovative technology in the curriculum to promote higher student achievement.

Statement of impact of the Neale Fellowship project on her teaching and student learning:

“This award is a huge breakthrough for East (High School) as we enrich students’ lives with digital content and technology tools to prepare them for the 21st century.”

Students have been able to connect their learning experiences with real world experiences relevant to science education through the use of the SMART board and lessons constructed specifically for its use. Students are more actively engaged in learning are more highly motivated and inspired to learn through the use of this technology. In addition to using the interactive boards to dissect frogs, collect and analyze data, watch videos, do interactive quizzes, play educational games, and conduct student presentations in Science, students are also using SMART boards in Math, Art, Health, English, Social Studies, and Foreign Language as the result of requests by other content area teachers and funding through other grants. “Teachers are also excited because they have found innovative and creative new ways to implement this technology to improve student achievement.”

“SMART boards are key for homebound students as well as any student who cannot attend class. While assisting teachers to be better prepared by clearly identifying objectives, teachers can now save their class notes and activities of the day and email them home to students.”

In addition, the UWSP education students with who collaborated on this project under the direction of Dr. Perry Cook and Dr. Kym Buchanan, were able to experience, first hand, creative applications of technology in the classroom before they entered their chosen teaching professions.

Jeff Mlsna, P. J. Jacobs Junior High School, Stevens Point, WI
Jeff is in his sixth year as a 7th grade science teacher at P. J. Jacobs Junior High School in Stevens Point, WI. He has a wide variety of learners in my classroom including ELL, LD, EBD, CD, and Gifted students. I am also the supervisor of the P.J. Jacobs Science Club and the WIRED (Web Instructional Resources for Educational Development) Group. Jeff is also an adjunct faculty member of UWSP, teaching two discussion sections of Instructional Resources during the fall, 2008, semester.
Jeff’s statement of the impact of the Neale Fellowship on his teaching and his students’ learning:

“Being honored as a Neale Fellow has been on of the greatest achievements of my teaching career. One of my mottos in life is: “Never stop learning”, and the Neale Fellowship provided my students and me with the monetary “springboard” needed to start us on the road to becoming effective and engaged learners in the 21st Century. Since becoming a Neale Fellow, I have worked closely with my department at P.J. Jacobs and we have developed a rigorous curriculum that utilizes technology to effectively differentiate instruction and provide students with learning opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible with our previous level of technology. In the space below I have listed some of the 21st Century Learning Activities in which you will see our student participating in if you walk through the Science Department at P.J. Jacobs Junior High School:

  1. Students group using Vernier data collection equipment to identify the frictional force generated when a wooden block is pulled across different surfaces.
  2. Classrooms engaged in interactive discussions centering round “real” data collected from Vernier motion detectors.
  3. Students self-selecting movies and podcast on iPods to acquire “real-world” knowledge about topics we are discussing in the classroom.
  4. Students completing self-paced quizzes on iPods that were developed by their classmates.
  5. Teachers utilizing InterWrite Pads to identify key concepts on webpages during classroom discussions.
  6. Students creating content-based movies and podcasts that will show the world their knowledge and understanding of key Science concepts.
  7. Students can also engage in science discussions on Moodle (this is an online course management system) when they are at home.