From the Desk of Dr. Karen Haynes
2013-2014 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award
November 18, 2013
Upon the recommendation of the Faculty Awards Selection Committee (FASC), I am pleased to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Matthews, associate professor of political science and co-director of the global studies program in the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences, is the recipient of the 2013-2014 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award. Dr. Matthews’s innovative and impactful pedagogy contributes to our commitment to being a student-centered institution and has earned her praise from students and faculty alike. She is tireless in her service to her students, dedicated to her research and focused on the effective teaching of complex global issues. These are but a few of the reasons that make Dr. Matthews richly deserving of this highest faculty honor.
Dr. Matthews earned her Ph.D. in political science from UCLA in 2002 and came to CSUSM in 2007. In only her third year as faculty, she was honored with the President’s Award for Teaching Innovation and Excellence for her ability to cover complex and often difficult themes such as genocide and international relations in a manner that encourages thoughtful consideration and discussion of the material.
Her syllabi routinely reflect her commitment to fostering a respectful classroom environment, often mentioning the value of differing opinions and backgrounds and asking students to share their thoughts. Dr. Matthews’s effect on her students is so profound and her passion for teaching and the material so great that she has shepherded the growth of global studies from 12 students to nearly 80, and has worked with University Advancement to secure substantial support for the program. She also continues to work with students post-graduation through extended mentoring, drop-in support sessions and proofing statements of purpose. One alumna credits Dr. Matthews’s support for the hundreds of thousands of dollars she has earned in educational and professional development support despite the challenges of being a first-generation student.
Throughout her time at Cal State San Marcos, Dr. Matthews has, in addition to guiding and advising numerous students and alumni, taught ten separate courses, including seven new preparations. She is always, as one student said, “pushing you to your limit…to become a better student.” And her colleagues would say she does the same for them, challenging faculty to create student-centered, innovative pedagogy.
Dr. Elizabeth Matthews clearly exemplifies the highest values of Cal State San Marcos and embodies what it means to be a faculty member committed to sustained excellence in teaching, research and enhancing student learning.