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, 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 quarterly humanities-themed wilderness seminars in the deserts and mountains of California, and in 2018 will teach a world history course with a spring break intercultural component on the Navajo Reservation. 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 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 critical links between higher and pre-collegiate education, he served as a public school board member (2014-16) and is a K-12 History-Social Science Content Review Expert for the State of California Board of Education. Dr. Herbst offers world history teacher trainings, including summer institutes funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. At present, he is building grant-funded online world history courses, working in partnership with UC San Diego’s Education Technology Services.
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 (2017). He is a also 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.
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.