Matthew T. Herbst is the faculty director of the Making of the Modern World (MMW) general education world history program at the University of California San Diego (Eleanor Roosevelt College). He also holds affiliate appointments in History and Classical Studies and also teaches in Environmental Studies.
A proponent of both digital and experiential learning, he has created multiple fully-online humanities courses, including Ancient/Medieval World History and World Wisdom Traditions, and was an inaugural faculty of UC San Diego’s Global Seminars in 2008. He has since led ten world history programs in Asia, Europe, and Oceania, with an eleventh program planned for 2021. In addition, he has led experiential programs in National Parks, on the Navajo Reservation, and in Turkey, and 22 environmental humanities seminars in the deserts and mountains of California in partnership with UCSD’s Outback Adventures.
Active in campus service, Prof. Herbst is Faculty Co-Director of Study Abroad (2020) and serves on university committees addressing disability (since 2010) and undergraduate education (since 2015). He is chair of the Public Service committee (2018-2020) and was formerly chair of Preparatory Education (2018-19), Educational Policy (2016-17), the Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society (2015-19), and was a member of the Planning Committee to establish a new undergraduate College at UC San Diego (2020). Dr. Herbst has received multiple awards for his professional activity, including Outstanding Faculty, Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching, and an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award.
Dr. Herbst’s professional efforts stem from a commitment to public education, through which he was educated, from elementary school in New York to his B.A. at Binghamton University (as a first-generation college student) and Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan. To support students at his own campus, he served as a founding faculty member of the college-based First Year & Transfer Year Experience programs, designed to facilitate successful student transition to the university. Interested in fostering links between pre-collegiate and higher education, he serves as a proposal reviewer for NEH Seminars and Institutes for secondary education and offers regular world history teacher trainings in Southern California. Previously, he was a public school board member, a content expert for the California Department of Education’s review of new world history curricula, and a director for NEH Teacher Institutes in Istanbul.
On the personal side: From Queens, New York and the Hudson Valley, Dr. Herbst and siblings are his family’s first generation to attend college. He is the
grandson of an immigrant from South America, who married a sanitation worker from Queens, who was himself the son of Irish immigrants. Prof. Herbst is the child of a Vietnam War-era veteran and a middle-school secretary, who wedded as teens. He is married to a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from the Philippines, serving and retiring from the US Navy and VA, respectively. Before pursuing an academic career, Prof. Herbst explored a variety of fields, including National Park Service, law enforcement and private investigation, social services, and religious ministry. In days gone by, he was a high school wrestler, college boxer, and avid runner, and now spends time meandering about deserts and mountains of Southern California.