Palm Beach Atlantic presented its annual outstanding teaching award to Dr. Matthew Mitchell, a Putnam County, New York, native who delights in pulling students deep into research.
An associate professor of health and human performance, Mitchell says he’s motivated not by the competitive pull of academic publishing, but by the remarkable learning tool that research provides. “We don’t get research done through students,” he said. “We get students done through research.”
In the past five years, Mitchell has successfully guided 55 seniors through research projects, meeting weekly with them to make sure they stay on track, said Provost Dr. Randy Richards. In announcing the winner of the Charles & Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching, Richards shared comments from students and faculty who nominated Mitchell for the honor:
— “Dr. Mitchell goes above and beyond what it means to be a faculty member at PBA. You can tell that he loves what he does and cares about students’ success.”
— “He consistently strives to ensure that students are engaged and understand what is being taught in the classroom.”
— “He always makes me feel that I can go to him with any questions, concerns, or even just seeking guidance, even though he is not my adviser.”
Many of Mitchell’s students have made presentations at the University’s annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference, after extensive research supervised by Mitchell. A recently-featured example was “Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors and Carotid Artery Intima-Media Thickness in College-Aged Students.”
Mitchell earned his Doctor of Philosophy in physiological sciences at the University of Florida. His bachelor’s degree is from Ohio Wesleyan University and his master’s from Wake Forest University. He joined the PBA faculty in 2012.
He teaches courses in nutrition, physiology and research methods. He also oversees the Human Performance Laboratory and undergraduate research. He and his students have received 24 university Quality Initiative (QI) grants to perform research in areas including gait dynamics in autism, cancer-related fatigue and the biochemical effects of fasting.
Before becoming a professor he was a pastor and church planter. Now working with students in the lab, he retains his ministry mindset: “It’s about people,” engaging with them and helping them grow.
Mitchell lives in Wellington, Florida, with his wife and two children.
The Charles & Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching was established with an endowment from former PBA President Dr. Paul R. Corts and his wife, Diane, in honor of his parents and in recognition of their commitment to higher education.