University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Prof. Gregory S. Aldrete has been named the 2012 Wisconsin Professor of the Year, an honor bestowed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
Aldrete, UW-Green Bay’s Frankenthal Professor of History and Humanistic Studies, joined the UW-Green Bay faculty in 1995. He is an award-winning teacher, scholar and author whose areas of research interest include the social and economic history of the Roman Empire, rhetoric and oratory, military history, and urban problems in the ancient world.
An exemplar of UW-Green Bay’s 360° of Learning perspective, Aldrete blends a passion for study of the lives of the Romans with an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research, often using hard science and other academic disciplines to solve the mysteries of the ancient world.
“I’ve always had very broad interests — I’m interested in architecture, I’m interested in art, I like society,” Aldrete said. “And History has let me bring all those things together in a way that I think I would not have been able to if I were a straight-line classicist (or) straight-line archaeologist. I really do have this interdisciplinary approach … and UW-Green Bay’s obviously a perfect place to nurture that.”
Aldrete is well known at UW-Green Bay for his passion for studying the past, and the hands-on ways in which he makes history come to life. One might find him in the classroom, wearing a toga and speaking Latin; or outside on campus, leading a group of students through battle formation exercises with hand-made shields. He delights in turning his Foundations of Western Culture class from sometimes-dreaded requirement to an eye-opening experience.
Aldrete is perhaps best known for his Linothorax Project, which started with an inquisitive undergraduate and led to awards, national and international television coverage and a forthcoming book. The six-year project involved recreating an ancient linen armor from scratch, then shooting arrows — at brave student volunteers, no less — to test its durability. That award-winning project has been featured on Canadian television and on The Discovery Channel’s “Penn and Teller Tell a Lie.” Aldrete’s book, Reconstructing Ancient Linen Body Armor: Unraveling the Linothorax Mystery, written with former student Scott Bartell and wife Alicia Aldrete, will be published in March 2013.
Aldrete has received numerous University, state- and national-level awards, including two prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowships (2004-05 and 2012-13); the American Philological Association’s 2009 Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level; UW-Green Bay Founders Association awards for Excellence in Teaching (2003) and Excellence in Scholarship (2006); and a Teaching At Its Best award (1999), among others. He has twice received a Grant for Integrating Research and Teaching (2008-09 and 2009-10); has been a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow (1997-98) and a two-time fellow of the NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers (2000 and 2006). In 2010-11, he was a Solmsen Fellow at UW-Madison’s Institute for Research in the Humanities. Aldrete also maintains an active public lecture schedule and creates video lecture courses for The Teaching Company/The Great Courses. He is the author of seven books and numerous chapters and articles.
CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981. TIAA-CREF, one of America’s leading financial services organizations and higher education’s premier retirement system, became the principal sponsor for the awards ceremony in 2000. Additional support for the program is received from a number of higher education associations, including Phi Beta Kappa, which sponsors an evening congressional reception.
This year, a state Professor of the Year was recognized in 30 states and the District of Columbia. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. Aldrete was selected from faculty members nominated by colleges and universities throughout the country.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.