Faculty & Staff

Joan Karlen 

Retired Professor - Dance


In May 2020, Professor Joan Karlen celebrated 32 years of teaching at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she was Department of Theatre & Dance Chair since 2016, and Dance Program Coordinator since 2005. Joan was named University of Wisconsin System Teaching Scholar, UW System Teaching Fellow, received the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Teaching Excellence Award (twice), and the University Teaching Mentor Award; her choreography was awarded a Wisconsin Arts Board Choreography Fellowship. In November 2021 Joan received the Wisconsin Dance Council Lifetime Achievement Award "for a life centered on dance as a performer and educator enriching Wisconsin's Dance Heritage."

Joan led the Dance Program through three successful National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) 10-year reaccreditation cycles, developed the Dance Program’s capstone Interdisciplinary Seminar course – during which hundreds of young artists have created multimedia projects, then gone on to win regional and national awards for their media work, and originated and co-directed UWSP’s Pilates Mat Teacher Training certification program. Students from this program own professional Pilates studios and teach across the nation. In addition, Joan was instrumental in working with HG Architects to design the UWSP dance program studios and office facilities in the 2005 Noel Fine Arts Center $26 million addition.

As a performer, choreographer and media artist Joan developed and presented collaborative work across the United States and in Portugal, Germany, the UK, Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Argentina, and in Canada, where she was Artist in Residence and faculty at The Banff Centre in Alberta.   Developing and designing dance video and multidisciplinary/multimedia curriculum at UWSP led Joan to national invitations as a Dance On Camera Festival (Lincoln Center, NYC) selection jury member, forum panelist, and workshop presenter. Joan’s artistic leadership – as Dance Program Coordinator for 15 years, and Theatre and Dance Department Chair for four years – has led to national invitations from the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) to co-lead training sessions at their Annual Meetings for both new and seasoned dance administrators.

At UWSP, Joan taught interdisciplinary studies, camera dance and digital editing, dance composition, ballet technique, and Pilates. 

Joan earned dance degrees from The Juilliard School and New York University, and participated in additional multimedia and telematics training at The Ohio State University, New York University, Arizona State University, and The Banff Centre Interactive Screens 1.0. She was a Banff Centre Film & Media Artist in Residence, faculty member at the Banff IDEA Summit, and presented her multimedia research at the Convergence: An International Summit On Art + Technology. Her research was also featured in The Juilliard Journal's special issue on Technology and the Arts.