La Crosse, WI (WXOW)- The best college educators in America are being honored in Washington DC with the Carnegie Foundation's professor of the year award. Among them is UW-La Crosse history professor Dr. Gregory Wegner. We sat down with Dr. Wegner who told us his students deserve the recognition just as much as he does.
When professor Gregory Wegner stands in front of his students he does just as much listening as he does lecturing. The history professor believes his role as a teacher is to engage his students in conversation. "University is really about the power of the question and to really search your own interests and ask questions; sometimes difficult questions which do not have easy answers."
Wegner says digging for answers, especially for questions poised by his students, has made him a more passionate educator. "I've been so fortunate in having my thinking challenged by my many students in the past and the present."
Wegner believes he can learn just as much from the young people in his class as they can learn from him. That acknowledgment has won him the respect if senior Eric Townsend. "He really knows how to connect with students, especially within a field like history. He brings it to life and makes is something relevant."
Wegner's passion for learning is also recognized among his peers. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has named Dr. Wegner the Wisconsin professor of the year. Dr. Wegner says he is humbled by the honor but again points to his students. He's taught more than 6,000 over his 31 year teaching career and says they are the reason for his success. "I would like them to know that this award really belongs to them first and foremost."
Wegner is a Bangor, WI native. He received his undergraduate degree from UW-L and has taught history at the University for the last 23 years. When he's not in a university classroom Wegner volunteers to read books to elementary school children in the Bangor school district.