MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will honor two professors and one academic program for their outstanding achievements in teaching, when they bestow the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and academic staff on April 10.
“These outstanding teachers set an especially high bar for innovation and passion in their approaches to helping students learn,” said Regent Charles Pruitt, chair of the selection committee. “They are an inspiring testament to how excellent teachers within the UW System are transforming lives.”
The 2015 recipients of the 23rd annual Regents Teaching Excellence Awards are:
- Gregory S. Aldrete, Professor, Department of History, UW‑Green Bay. Aldrete has been teaching at UW-Green Bay since 1995. He regularly teaches eight different courses of approximately 450 students per year, as well as numerous independent studies. Recently, he developed an innovative interdisciplinary course on military history in which students learn through “living history.” An example was the multi-year Linothorax Project, in which his students re-created and tested the linen armor that Alexander the Great wore during his conquests. The published results garnered international attention. His teaching methods include analyzing primary documents, holding debates, role-playing, and other hands-on activities. He has written and recorded dozens of video lectures for The Teaching Company, with the first series entitled, “The History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective.” Aldrete gives frequent public lectures, including local venues as well as Iowa State University, Boston University, and the University of Manitoba in Canada. His students frequently comment on his depth of knowledge and passion for the subject of history and for teaching. Aldrete was selected in 2012 as Wisconsin Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement of Education (CASE). In 2009, he received a national award of merit from the American Philological Association as one of the nation’s top teachers of classics.
- Shubhangi Stalder, Professor, Department of Mathematics, UW-Waukesha. Stalder has taught a broad range of math classes at UW Colleges since 1993. She developed the innovative new MAT 103 course that combines the content of a developmental course, Elementary Algebra, with a credit-bearing course, Intermediate Algebra. The course has been highly successful, with approximately 80 percent of students passing on their first attempt and many students indicating it positively transformed their relationship to math. Stalder incorporated active learning pedagogies, new technology, and mindfulness techniques to help students minimize anxiety. The course uses the flipped classroom model, in which students learn theory at home and participate in active problem solving during class time. Stalder supplements class material with more than 100 free course videos she developed. She monitors student progress through portfolios and ALEKS, a web-based assessment and learning software system. Stalder was asked to adapt the MAT 103 course for UW-Milwaukee, where it was piloted successfully, and was selected to develop a version of a math course for the UW Flexible Option. She earned the Kaplan Award for innovation in teaching at UW-Waukesha in 2013, and is the recipient of numerous grants, including a Gates Foundation grant. She has organized a conference on math for elementary teachers, bringing together public and private university teachers, as well as K-12 teachers.
- Department of Mathematics, UW-La Crosse. The UW-La Crosse Department of Mathematics, led by Chair Dr. Rebecca LeDocq, has undergone dramatic growth over the past several years, with a focus on developing interdisciplinary connections, engaging students outside the classroom and through undergraduate research, and instructing future mathematics teachers. The department has forged close ties with the Department of Biology, for example, to offer a weekly research seminar that meets the increased need for statistical methods in the study of natural phenomena. A new Statistics major educates students for a growing number of positions in this area, and is aided by the campus Statistical Consulting Center, which is expanding its services into the business community to provide students with real-world experiences. In response to the growing number of students entering developmental (non-credit bearing) courses, the department created the Fast-Track Mathematics program, where incoming freshmen develop their mathematical skills online for six weeks before meeting on campus for a one-week campus stay. The department is known statewide for excellence in K-12 teacher training and the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for college math readiness. Faculty members also established the popular Murphy Learning Center, UW-La Crosse’s tutoring headquarters.
Others on the selection committee were Regent José Delgado, Regent Margaret Farrow, and Regent Nicolas Harsy.
Award recipients are selected for their strong commitment to teaching and learning; use of effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning; and significant impact on students’ intellectual development.
“It is a privilege to recognize these exceptional educators, who are so dedicated to helping students develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to take on the world. Wisconsin is a better place because of their high-impact teaching,” said UW System President Ray Cross.
The Regents Teaching Excellence Awards will be officially presented at the Board of Regents meeting on April 10 at UW-Waukesha. The monetary value of the award is $5,000 for each participant.