Matthew T. Herbst is an Associate Teaching Professor at the University of California San Diego and Faculty Director of the Making of the Modern World, a general education world history program, which educates thousands of students annually, both on campus and on its summer programs abroad.
As a proponent of experiential learning, Prof. Herbst was a founding faculty member of the campus’ Global Seminars and has led undergraduate world history programs in France (2008), Turkey (2009-12), England (2013), Thailand and Cambodia (2014), and in New Zealand (2017). He also leads humanities-themed wilderness seminars in the deserts and mountains of Southern California, working collaboratively with UCSD’s Outback Adventures, and was a founding member of the college-based First Year Experience program (2014-present), designed to facilitate successful student transition to the university, and teaches this course each year.
Dr. Herbst’s professional efforts are founded on 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 serves as a board member for a public school in Chula Vista and developed a three-week Institute for middle and high school teachers called “Istanbul Between East & West: Crossroads of History,” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In collaboration with the History Project at UC Irvine, Dr. Herbst offers teacher trainings in the humanities and is developing a new teacher Institute for 2018. Prof. Herbst is currently building grant-funded online world history projects, working in partnership with UC San Diego’s Education Technology Services and the Office for Online and Technology Enhanced Education.
Prof. Herbst is chair of the university’s Educational Policy Committee (2016-17) and serves on the Representative Assembly of the Academic Senate, as well as on committees addressing disability and public service. He is also board chair of the Burke lectureship on religion and society (2015-present) and served as Associate Faculty Director of the Programs Abroad Office from 2013-2016. He has received numerous 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 US 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, strolls in nature, and volunteering with the Boy Scouts, IRC San Diego, and Arc of San Diego.
Courses. MMW Classes: 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, Pleasure or Duty: Choosing a Guide for Life, Desire & the Spiritual Life, 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 Death Valley National Park), First Year Experience. Other: Wilderness and Human Values, Byzantine and Ottoman Constantinople, Mystical Traditions, Byzantine Empire, Ancient World, Trade and World History, Eastern Christianity, World History Seminar.