Dr. Brian Aldrich
Dr. Aldrich received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where he majored in philosophy and religion. He completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and a Masters of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy-Sociology degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Block group organizing in Chicago and labor education work in the Philippines created an interest in local community organizations. He pursued that interest during some twenty years of travel, research and publications in the area of housing and community organization in developing or third world countries. Dr. Aldrich, following this interest, has taught Urban Sociology almost every year of his academic career.
His current research interest concerns large scale computer games like World of War Craft, a project he has pursued with both Winona State undergraduates and with fellow professionals. He has presented papers on this subject at both regional and international conferences. He is currently conducting research with two Winona State University students on computer games as they relate to the re-enchantment of social life in the 21st century.
Dr. Aldrich also teaches courses in the area of Health and Human Services, currently an option within the BA Sociology program. His course in Health and Human Services organizations is a core in that option. He also teaches a course on the sociology of disabilities.
Introduction to Sociology, which satisfies part of the University Studies requirement, is another course that Dr. Aldrich regularly teaches. This “macro” sociology course introduces students to the many ways in which the larger society, including non-western societies, influences human behavior. He also teaches Social Problems, also a University Studies course, and Political Sociology-Conflict and Peace, which is one of the courses required for the Philosophy Minor in “War, Terrorism and Peace”.
Dr. Aldrich uses computer access to materials online in several of his courses. For instance, online access to various governmental and not-for-profit websites allows for class project work in real time. Dr. Aldrich has published in the Guru Nanak Dev Journal of Sociology (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games: The Glocal Context of Local Universalism, PDF).
Dr. Aldrich is also the faculty advisor for the new "WSU Global Zero" chapter. The purpose of the organization is to provide educational and awareness programs "to strengthen the knowledge and to promote and create an environment in which the community can learn about eliminating and reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons and create a peaceful better world for the future generations."