Matthew T. Herbst is an Associate Teaching Professor at the University of California San Diego and Director of the Making of the Modern World, a general education world history program, which educates thousands of students annually, both on campus and abroad.
A proponent of experiential learning, Prof. Herbst was a founding faculty member of the campus’ 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 also led quarterly humanities-themed wilderness seminars in the deserts and mountains of California. In addition, he was 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 which 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) and is a Content Review Expert for History-Social Science Adoption (K-12) for the California State Board of Education and Department of Education (2017). Dr. Herbst offers regular teacher trainings, including Summer Institutes on world history, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. At present, he is building a grant-funded online world history course, working in partnership with UC San Diego’s Education Technology Services.
Prof. Herbst is chair of the university’s Educational Policy Committee (2016-17), serves on the Representative Assembly of the Academic Senate, and on the Planning Task Force to develop a new college at UC San Diego (2017), as well as on committees addressing disability (since 2010) and outdoor education (since 2016). He is board chair of the Burke lectureship on religion and society (2015-present) and 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.
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 and Arc of San Diego.
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 at Anza Borrego Desert State Park), Sacred Mountain (Wilderness Seminar at Mt. San Jacinto State Park), Desert Splendor (Wilderness seminar at Joshua Tree National Park), 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.