Matthew T. Herbst is an Associate Teaching Professor at the University of California San Diego, where he is Director of the Making of the Modern World, Eleanor Roosevelt College’s general education world history program, and Affiliated Faculty in the Department of History.

A proponent of experiential learning, Prof. Herbst was a founding faculty member of the university’s Global Seminars in 2008 and has led undergraduate world history programs in France, Turkey, England, Thailand and Cambodia, and New Zealand.  Since 2012, he has offered humanities-themed wilderness seminars in the deserts and mountains of California each quarter, and offers a new intercultural program on the Navajo Reservation in spring break 2018.  He was also a founding faculty member of the college-based First Year Experience program in 2014, designed to facilitate successful student transition to the university, and teaches this each year.

Dr. Herbst’s professional efforts stem from a commitment to public education, of 1964981_10152709976274377_295137695_nwhich he is a product from elementary school in New York to his B.A. in History and Classical Studies at Binghamton University and Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan.  Interested in the links between higher and pre-collegiate education, he served as a public school board member (2014-16), is a Content Review Expert for History-Social Science Adoption for the CA Instructional Quality Commission (Advisory to the CA State Board of Education), and offers world history teacher trainings, including summer institutes funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.   Prof. Herbst has received multiple grant awards to build online humanities courses and is working with UC San Diego’s Education Technology Services to make this happen, launching the first class in 2018.

Prof. Herbst is chair of the university’s Educational Policy Committee (2016-17) and serves on the Representative Assembly of the Academic Senate and on the Planning Task Force to develop a new college at UC San Diego.  He is also a member of committees addressing disability (since 2010) and outdoor education (since 2016) and is board chair of the Burke lectureship on religion and society (2015-present).  Dr. Herbst  previously served as Associate Faculty Director of the Programs Abroad Office (2013-2016).  He has received multiple awards for teaching, including a UCSD Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015.

National Maritime Museum Greenwich

Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England

On the personal side: Before pursuing an academic career, Dr. Herbst explored a variety of fields, including the National Park Service, law enforcement and private investigation, social services, and religious ministry.  Dr. Herbst and his siblings are his family’s first generation to go to college.  Raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, he was once a high school wrestler, college boxer, and avid runner, and now enjoys time with family, wandering through trails and canyons, and volunteering with the International Rescue Committee.

Courses.  MMW World History:  Pre-History and Ancient Foundations, Classical and Medieval Traditions 100BCE – 1200, New Ideas and Cultural Encounters 1200-1750,  Revolution, Industry, Empire 1750-1914.  Seminars:  Disability and Inclusion, God-Satan-& the Desert (Wilderness Seminar), Sacred Mountain (Wilderness Seminar), Desert Splendor (Wilderness seminar), First Year Experience, Pleasure or Duty:  Choosing a Guide for Life, Desire & the Spiritual Life.   Other: Wilderness & Human Values, World History, Byzantine & Ottoman Constantinople, Mystical Traditions, Byzantine Empire, Graduate and Undergraduate TA Training.


4 thoughts on “Bio

  1. tony sensoli

    I am glad “college boxer” made your bio. You were one of the best ever from the University of Michigan Boxing Club.

    • Dr. Tony! So good to hear from you. How are you and the family?
      Whatever I know of boxing — I learned from you. I hope that we can talk soon to catch up.

  2. Thank you for your interesting talk about Istanbul today at the San Diego Museum of Art. I have a few follow-up questions:

    – Can we assume that the traces of Mohammed found by Mehmet II just outside Constantinople are bogus, or is there any archeological/historical evidence to suggest that the prophet was actually there? It reminds me of the stories in the book of Mormon about fantasy peoples of the early Americas and Jesus’ visit to North America.

    – Is modern Turkish ultimately derived from the turkic languages of Central Asia, and not the other way around?

    – By the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire was notorious for corruption; one bought a position in government service and paid a percentage of the graft up the ladder (not unlike the world of The Sopranos). Was it always like this, or when did it start to slide?

    BTW, “The Ionian Mission” by Patrick O’Brian is a modern historical novel set during the Napoleonic wars that deals with a (fictional) attempt by the British to find and support a reliable ally in the Ionian Sea. Part of the intrigue revolves around whether a local coup will create a fait accompli before the Sultan (referred to as the Sublime Porte) can issue a firman naming the new governor.

    The town of Marino, Italy has a festival every year to celebrate their boys coming home from the Battle of Lepanto. The fact that wine and roast pork sandwiches are served celebrating the defeat of the Muslim navy is probably a coincidence.

    • You are welcome. I enjoy that venue very much. A few comments to your questions:
      1. The relics that Mehmet found at Eyüp, just outside the walls of Constantinople, were not of Muhammad but of one of his companions, Ayyub al-Ansari who, according to tradition, died in the 7th century Arab siege of Constantinople.
      2. Yes, Turkish has its origins in Central Asia. The Turks were originally central Asian nomads which explains why Turkic languages are spoken from China (the language of the Uighurs) all the way to Europe (Turkey). These languages are related but not the same, like those in the Romance Language family (Spanish, Italian, Romanian, etc.).
      3. The Ottoman empire of the classical period (to 1600), which was the topic of my talk, was highly efficient, particularly in contrast to various large western kingdoms in the same period. A variety of troubles develop afterwards, however, though some had roots even in the classical period. I expect to present on some of this in a follow up talk in the fall.

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