UACCM Instructor Named Faculty Scholar for PTK Honor Society


Mathew Herrman, a speech instructor and PTK faculty instructor, at the UACCM's PTK Chapter Induction Ceremony.
For eight years, Mathew Herrman has served as a faculty advisor to UACCM’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society, an organization that celebrates students' academic excellence at two-year colleges. During that time, he has helped improve the chapter’s status in the organization, taken students to conferences, and given them extracurricular opportunities on campus and in the community. Serving as an advisor has been one of his highlights teaching at UACCM. Now, he’s looking to do more as a PTK Faculty Scholar. 

According to the honor society, “Faculty Scholars are key figures at Honors Institute, PTK’s annual week-long honors conference, as they lead small groups of the attendees in discussions about presentations by keynote speakers.” 

Faculty Scholars are all made up of faculty advisors and alumni. It is an elite class of professionals from across the country that Herrman said he feels humbled to join. Among the 30 announced, he is the only scholar from the Oklahoma-Arkansas region. 

The nudge to apply came from a colleague, Dr. Rebekah Robinette of National Park Community College in Hot Springs, who also serves as the honor society’s regional coordinator. 

“Without her encouragement, I would not have applied this year,” he said. “I have outstanding colleagues from all over Oklahoma and Arkansas who are a testament to the great things that Phi Theta Kappa does. I simply hope I make UACCM and the Oklahoma-Arkansas region proud in my service.”

The application process was rigorous and included submitting a philosophy of learning, curriculum vitae, and a video response to a prompt. “Being selected is exciting because I know that I am being given an opportunity that isn’t afforded to many people,” he said. “But it’s incredibly humbling because I know that I’ll be learning from so many incredible leaders from across the US – and I have a lot to learn,”

Herrman hopes that he can bring back a new skill set from the conference that can benefit chapter members. He points to the chapter’s Honors in Action, a research-based and action-orientated project that previously focused on food insecurity on college campuses. “Deeper discussions about Phi Theta Kappa’s new Honors in Action study topic will give me insight to share with students, leading them to a better project,” he said.

This experience also provides professional development as a UACCM speech instructor. “This training will help me strengthen my ability to facilitate group discussions, and translate similar skills to my classes,” he said. 

With UACCM’s chapter, he has seen considerable developments over his tenure as an advisor. Several members have gained awards at public speaking competitions, and he takes particular pride that the winners are students from his oral communications classes. “Now, they will be competing internationally as speakers. This opportunity only exists because of their involvement in Phi Theta Kappa,” he said.

Through student engagement in projects and activities, he notes the chapter has grown in recent years. The chapter gained a five-star status, the highest the organization can grant, just recently in 2019. The Honors in Action project also earned a first place award. “When we band together, incredible things happen,” he said.

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