An educator at Kansas State University Polytechnic in Salina is being honored.
According to the school, Joel Matthews, a psychology instructor in the School of Integrated Studies at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, is the recipient of the 2020 Marchbanks Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. Established more than 30 years ago, the accolade commemorates a faculty member’s commitment in the classroom, service to students and overall merit as a teacher.
“This award is quite humbling because I am surrounded by excellent teachers on our campus, and it’s only through the continued support from both them and the administration that I have become the teacher I am today,” Matthews said. “And perhaps more importantly, the students provide me with a constant source of inspiration and appreciation for the value of good teaching.”
Matthews began his K-State Polytechnic teaching career in 1995 as a part-time instructor. In 2002, he advanced to a full-time position and currently teaches General Psychology, Psychology of Religion, Abnormal Psychology and Professional Conduct, Ethics and Analysis.
Before joining K-State, Matthews spent 12 years as a full-time licensed psychotherapist. This role provided him with a wealth of experience and stories to use in the classroom.
“I believe these stories provide students with examples they cannot find in a textbook,” Matthews said. “They are also fun tools to promote student engagement.”
A native of Arlington, Nebraska, Matthews grew up in a large family where he learned the value of hard work and rewards of persistence. He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy. He also has a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Emporia State University. Matthews has maintained his professional licensure since 1990.
“Teaching allows me to share a passion for learning, and I believe good teaching helps ignite that passion in students,” Matthews said. He particularly enjoys those moments when students get it and start making connections. Matthews considers a well-rounded education to be valuable and enjoys helping students broaden their horizons.
Originally, Matthews’ primary teaching goal was to promote knowledge. “Through experience and support from my colleagues, I now tend to focus on making connections and enhancing self-awareness,” he said. “More and more, I have grown to believe a quality education sparks personal growth.”