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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Faculty Spotlight

Gregory Aldrete

Humanistic Studies

Professor Greg Aldrete is an internationally known scholar in the fields of ancient history, archaeology, and classics. Three central themes link most of his scholarly activities. First, in terms of methodology, Aldrete favors a highly interdisciplinary approach. For example, his most recent scholarly book, Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome combined information and methods from the fields of history, hydrology, engineering, philology, archaeology, and environmental and urban studies, to produce a synthetic account of how floods affected the development of the city of Rome, and the lives of its inhabitants. Second, his research usually focuses on examining practical topics and questions regarding how things really worked in the ancient world. Thus his first book, Gestures and Acclamations in Ancient Rome, explored how at public spectacles Roman orators and their vast audiences were able to communicate with one another in an era before microphones. Finally, Aldrete is committed to involving his students directly in his research. Currently, along with former student Scott Bartell, he is director of the UWGB Linothorax Project, an ongoing collaboration between faculty and students that is reconstructing a mysterious form of ancient Greek armor made out of linen and glue, known as a linothorax, and scientifically testing its protective capabilities.

Professor Aldrete has won a number of prominent national fellowships including four from the NEH, was the recipient of the 2009 Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level from the American Philological Association, was named a National Lecturer by the Archaeological Institute of America, and has won the UW-Green Bay Founders Awards for both teaching and scholarship.

Angela Bauer

Human Biology

Professor Bauer's research explores potential sources and long term health effects of exposure to endocrine disruptors (environmental contaminants that have the potential to mimic and/or block the actions of endogenous hormones). Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been shown to mimic or block the actions of endogenous sex hormones (estrogens and androgens) within the body. Of particular concern for humans is the possible association between EDC exposure and endocrine-related cancers. A critical step toward minimizing exposure to EDCs and thus decreasing the associated health risks is identifying sources and routes of contamination such as contaminated groundwater, which occurs at least in part due to the application of livestock and/or human waste to the land as a fertilizer.

In order to encourage our students to think scientifically, it is necessary that they also have the opportunity to engage in inquiry in their laboratory courses. If they have the opportunity to develop novel hypotheses, design experiments to test their hypotheses, and interpret their novel findings, they get to experience the thrill of discovery, develop a deep understanding of the scientific process, and sharpen their higher order thinking skills in the process. When I teach inquiry-based laboratories, I get to work with students and experience the same thrill of discovery (or agony of defeat!) that I experience when conducting my own scientific experiments.

Professor Bauer has been selected as both a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow and Wisconsin Teaching Scholar.

Phil Clampitt

Information and Computing Sciences

Professor Clampitt (Hendrickson Professor of Business) worked with his students to address a unique but frequent communication problem encountered by executives and managers. He coined the term “decision downloading” to set apart those special situations in which decision-makers communicate a decision that has already been made. The communicators cannot, for whatever reason, keep everyone informed in real-time about the decision-making process. The research determined that “downloaders” can double the amount of employee buy-in if they abide by the following checklist in their communication: a) how the decision was made b) why it was made c) what alternatives were considered d) how it fits in with the organizational mission e) how it impacts the organization f) how it impacts employees. Professor Clampitt now uses the checklist as an integral part of discussions on strategic communication in his classes. MIT Sloan Management Review recently published his definitive article on this issue. "Decision Downloading." MIT Sloan Management Review, 48 (2), 77-82, Winter 2007. (co-authored with M.L. Williams). He is the author of Communicating for Managerial Effectiveness (3rd edition), and Embracing Uncertainty: The Essence of Leadership (with R. Dekoch and M. Williams) as well as numerous articles.

Professor Clampitt teaches courses in Organizational Communication, Small Group Communication and Theories of the Interview. He was the recipient of the Founders Award for Excellence in Research. He is the Hendrickson Professor of Business.

Kristy Deetz

Arts and Visual Design

Professor Deetz is Chair of the Art Discipline and teaches painting and drawing classes. Her recent paintings revise traditional images of drapery and reweave Deleuze’s ideas of internal versus external and virtual verses actual. The Veil series challenges and plays with expectation of what painting does. The product lies on the crease of representation and abstraction, nature and culture, and painting and object. Carved wooden reliefs painted with encaustic, her "book" series are visual metaphors of the book form and autobiographical explorations. Playing off of concepts such as palimpsest, aporia, and table of contents—these pieces operate as visual puns and connect ideas of language to body and earth.

Kristy gives encaustic painting workshops at nationally recognized art centers and her extensive exhibition record includes competitive, invitational, and solo exhibitions throughout the United States (a recent list is below).

  • Miami University Department of Art Bicentennial Exhibition, Miami University Museum of Art, Oxford, OH.
  • NEW, Penland Gallery, Penland School, Penland, NC.
  • Art of the Planes, Museum of the Great Planes, Lawton, OK. (group exhibition of artists somehow connected to the Great Planes).
  • Sculpting America, University of Southern Mississippi, Museum of Art, Hattiesburg, MS (six women artists from six parts of the United States).
  • Conceptually Bound 3, An Exhibition of Artists Books, University Art Gallery, Cal State, Chico, CA and then Mohr Gallery, Community School of Music and Art, Finn Center, Mountain View, CA.
  • The Iron Chefs and Divas of Contemporary Encaustic, eight person traveling exhibition, part of a multi-part venture of exhibitions, panels, and demonstrations, curated by Professor Reni Gower of Painting and Printmaking Department, Virginia Commonwealth University from a national call of artists.

In addition, her students have had great success as the following examples show:

  • Scott Vanidestine, awarded Brooks Fellowship, 2008 (competing nationally) to attend Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado where he took an Advanced Painting Problems workshop with internationally recognized painter, Suzanne McClelland.
  • First Art Winner, National contest to select the program cover art for the New York City Youth Symphony, 2007. Ryan Miller’s pen and watercolor illustration was the 11th commissioned artwork in the First Art Series.

Mathew Dornbush

Natural and Applied Sciences

Dr. Dornbush is an ecologist in the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences. His research interests include understanding the mechanisms by which plants elicit alterations in ecosystem processes via plant-microbe-soil interactions. He is particularly interested in the community and ecosystem consequences of exotic species introductions, and in the functioning and restoration of native plant communities, as these communities provide the ecosystem services upon which human society depends. Dr. Dornbush also co-leads an annual service-learning based travel course to Costa Rica where students study tropical ecology, and receive direct exposure to the conservation challenges of a developing country by living and volunteering in a Costa Rican National Park. On campus, Dr. Dornbush’s teaches a range of courses spanning from an introductory, non-majors course in environmental science, to an entry level biology majors course, to upper-level majors courses in plant biology, and a graduate-level course in ecosystem management. For details see Dr. Dornbush’s personal website.

As a scientist and educator my goal is to cultivate and encourage student curiosity, organized logical thinking, analytical skills, and the expression of thought through writing and discussion. Student research is central to this training, for both undergraduate and graduate students. Research experiences improve organizational skills, they promote independent, creative thought, and they develop strong analytical skills. We cannot expect students to become scientists, if they are not practicing science. Teaching and mentoring students are the most rewarding aspects of my profession. Finally, college students possess a great deal of energy and enthusiasm, from which I derive a vitality and vigor that sustains my own scientific curiosity and professional drive. While at UW-Green Bay, I have attempted to combine these views to both develop my professional research program, and to provide quality experiences to our students.

Regan A.R. Gurung

Human Development

Professor Gurung has three main areas of interest: Culture & Health; Impression Formation & Clothing; Pedagogical Psychology. Culture, broadly defined as a dynamic set of goals, beliefs and attitudes shared by a group of people, has a major impact on behaviors that influence our health. In the area of impression formation and clothing, building on and continuing with my previous interests, Professor Gurung is currently investigating sex differences in self-perceptions of body image, health, and fitness, and has initiated a research program on impression formation and how clothing influences how we are perceived. People use categories when describing others and learn what types of clothing are associated with categories or labels. What a person chooses to wear can say a lot about their personality and perhaps even their mood. Finally, in pedagogical psychology, Professor Gurung has begun a research program designed to answer the simple question: How can we optimize student learning? The first step towards answering this question involves gaining a thorough knowledge of extant attempts to understand how students learn. Any examination of how students learn necessitates a focus on three major components: Student behaviors (e.g., study techniques), Instructor behaviors (how is learning facilitated?), and the means content is transferred (textbooks and technology).

Professor Gurung is widely published and has authored

  • Health psychology: A cultural approach. 2e
  • Exploring signature pedagogies: Approaches to teaching disciplinary habits of mind with N. Chick & A. Haynie, A. (Eds.)
  • Getting Culture: Incorporating diversity across the curriculum with L. Prieto, (Eds.)
  • Optimizing teaching and learning: Pedagogical research in practice with E. Schwartz
  • Culture & mental health: Sociocultural influences on mental health with S. Eshun

Professor Gurung has also published numerous other articles and book chapters. He is the recipient of the Founders Award for Excellence in Research and the Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching. He teaches Introduction to Psychology, Health Psychology, and Gods, Ghosts and Goblins: Understanding Belief.

Andrew Kersten

Social Change and Development

Andrew Kersten, Frankenthal Professor of Social Change and Development, has a unique story. Born at the end of the 1960s, his parents moved to Green Bay when he was still in diapers so that they could join the first faculty of the brand-new University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. His father, a philosopher, and his mother, a Spanish linguist, spent the remaining decades of their careers engaged in the interdisciplinary mission of UW-Green Bay. The younger Kersten spent his childhood roaming the halls of the University, sitting in people pockets, and attending humanities and Spanish classes for free. After high school, he went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduate school at the University of Cincinnati where he earned his PhD in modern U. S. History in 1997. Then, in a quirk of fate, he was offered a one-year job back at his old stomping grounds, UWGB. Expecting only to spend nine months here, he has now taught at the University for over a dozen years. He teaches courses in U. S. History—the U. S. History Survey, U. S. Immigration History, U. S. Labor History—and courses in Social Change and Development. He researches and writes about American history since Reconstruction. His books include an investigation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fair Employment Practice Committee (Race, Jobs, and the War, 2000), a history of the American Federation of Labor during World War II (Labor’s Home Front, 2006), and a biography of labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph (A Life in the Vanguard, 2006). Currently, he’s writing a biography of the famous defense lawyer Clarence Darrow. He has two other professional passions. Kersten works with public historians in the region. Lately, he’s devoting a lot of time to redeveloping the National Railroad Museum and the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Museum. He also enjoys working with K-12 history teachers. From 2003-2006, he led a Teaching American History Grant Program of his own design that offered intensive professional development for history teachers, and he continues to collaborate on curricular design and other educational issues.

Michael Kraft

Public and Environmental Affairs

Professor Kraft is an internationally known environmental policy scholar that has published numerous books, articles, and reports on environmental, nuclear waste, and population issues. He is the recipient of the Founders Award for Excellence in Research and is the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor for Environmental Studies.

Prof. Kraft published three books during 2009 as part of his spring sabbatical leave. Toward Sustainable Communities: Transition and Transformations in Environmental Policy (MIT Press) is the second edition of an edited volume of original scholarship originally released in 1999, co-edited with Daniel Mazmanian (released in March). Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century (CQ Press) is the seventh edition of an edited collection of original chapters that has been widely used in college classrooms since the early 1990s. It is co-edited with Norman Vig and will be released in July. Public Policy: Politics, Analysis, and Alternatives, third edition (CQ Press) is a textbook for the introductory public policy course, co-authored with Scott Furlong, and it has become one of the leading texts in the field. It too will be released in July.

All three books are closely related to Prof. Kraft’s teaching and reflect his experience in a number of courses, particularly Environmental Politics and Policy 301 and Public Policy Analysis 408. He uses Environmental Policy in the former course as one of the core texts. Over the past decade, Public Policy has been used by a variety of instructors in Introduction to Public Policy 202. Kraft is currently at work on a new edition of his Environmental Policy and Politics text (Pearson-Longman Publishers), which he also has used in his course Environmental Politics and Policy. During the summer of 2009, he will be completing a book with two other scholars that reports on his research on information disclosure as an environmental policy strategy, focusing on the federal Toxics Release Inventory program and its effects on businesses and communities.

Jennifer Lanter

Human Development

At birth, babies neither comprehend nor produce language and yet they are equally capable of learning any language. But within months of birth, babies show knowledge of the specific language they are learning. Within three years, they are nearly proficient in their native language. How does this happen? My research goal is to understand how language knowledge in the individual gets made through their experiences with that language. I have used the acquisition of the English plural as a test bed for this investigation developing several new methods that have enabled me to study children's acquisition of the plural from its earliest stages to its more advanced stages, in production as well as comprehension, and in longitudinal studies of individuals, training studies, and experimental studies.

I could not carry forth my research on child language acquisition without some very talented research assistants. Each semester I work with undergraduate students in my Language Learning Lab – these students contact families and daycares in the community, play games with the children (this is the research study itself!), analyze the data and often present our findings at conferences. I also have the opportunity to increase students’ understanding of research as I teach an Experimental Psychology course on campus. In this course, students design research projects on the ideas they are interested and I guide them through the process. In all, my thinking on teaching and learning involves creating more of an active learning environment and less of an active teaching environment, an environment where I guide and the students discover and learn.

Professor Lanter also teaching Infancy and Early Childhood, Psychology of Cognitive Processes, and a First-Year Seminar course on Children’s TV.

Kim Nielsen

Social Change and Development

After many years, historian and Helen Keller expert Kim Nielsen realized that she, along with other historians and biographers, had failed Anne Sullivan Macy. While Macy is remembered primarily as Helen Keller's teacher and mythologized as a straightforward educational superhero, the real story of this brilliant, complex, and misunderstood woman, who described herself as a "badly constructed human being," has never been completely told. Nielsen’s new book Beyond the Miracle Worker complicates the typical Helen-Annie "feel good" narrative in surprising ways. By telling the life from Macy's perspective-not Keller's-the biography is the first to put Macy squarely at the center of the story. It presents a new and fascinating tale about a wounded but determined woman and her quest for a successful, meaningful life. More information at: http://www.beacon.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=2048. Professor Nielsen is currently chair of Social Change and Development and teaches courses in that program as well as in History, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Other publications include: The Radical Lives of Helen Keller and Helen Keller: Selected Writings (both by New York University Press) and Un-American Womanhood: Antiradicalism, Antifeminism, and the First Red Scare (Ohio State University Press) and was the recipient of the Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005.

Amy Wolf

Natural and Applied Sciences

One of Professor Wolf's research projects is on the Wabikon Forest Dynamics Project. This is an ambitious long term study aimed at understanding the ecological processes that underlie forest growth, regeneration, and biodiversity. The study area, located in northern Wisconsin near Crandon, is part of a global network of tropical and temperate forest plots organized by the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Tropical Forest Science. We hope to develop many projects at the site, including studies of trees, wildflowers, insects, birds, mammals, and other species groups. These projects will provide many opportunities for important ecological research by UW-Green Bay faculty and students.

Her teaching and mentoring of students follows a very simple principle: The best way to learn science is to do science - whether it be designing scientific experiments, analyzing data, or writing about results. I try to use lab experiences that provide hands-on learning opportunities that benefit students headed for all types of careers, not just those in science. UW-Green Bay is a place where students can find outstanding opportunities for problem-solving and learning outside the classroom, especially in the sciences. Professor Wolf teaches Principles of Ecology, Ecological and Environmental Methods Analysis, and Introduction to Environmental Science.