GVSU faculty member recognized as a top public university educator

A Grand Valley geology faculty member is one of three educators from Michigan's 15 public universities recognized for their outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.

Stephen Mattox, professor of geology, received the Michigan Association of State Universities’ Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, which recognizes the dedication of faculty members to undergraduate students. Each university was invited to nominate a faculty member who has had a significant impact on undergraduate student learning through various activities, particularly classroom instruction, applied research, experiential learning, innovation and mentoring.

Stephen Mattox
Stephen Mattox, professor of geology, was named a top educator in the state.
Image credit - Courtesy photo

“Stephen Mattox is one of those professors who continues to bring innovative projects to Michigan’s 15 public universities and their surrounding communities,” said Daniel J. Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. “These educators give their all when it comes to dedication to student success, helping them achieve their ambitions, all the while strengthening Michigan’s prosperity.”

The other two recipients of this year’s award are Saginaw Valley State University Professor Joseph Ofori-Dankwa and University of Michigan Professor H. Scott Fogler. The Academic Affairs Officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities will recognize the nominees and recipients of this award at the annual luncheon, which has been postponed to spring due to COVID-19.

"I am honored to receive this recognition for the Geology Department, the Integrated Science program and GVSU," Mattox said. "GVSU students inspire me to generate projects that take them into the field, to professional meetings and to the pages of science education journals. To see the students grow as geologists and science teachers is a tremendous reward."

Mattox also lauded the support and encouragement to innovate that he has received from academic leaders including Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs.

Said Cimitile, “Professor Mattox is an exemplary educator, and exactly the sort of teacher-scholar that public higher education wants to present as a face of our work and our dedication to students.” 

Stephen Mattox with students
Stephen Mattox has traveled with students around the globe.
Image credit - Courtesy photo

Mattox has taken students around the globe to advance experiential learning. His accomplishments include becoming director of a newly founded study abroad course in collaboration with Grand Rapids Community College and the University of Iceland. This opportunity is aimed at giving underrepresented students a chance to participate in the geosciences. He has plans to build a second course in Canada.

He has obtained four National Science Foundation grants and developed a statewide program for high school students to earn college credit in geology. He has earned statewide and national teaching awards and was also awarded Grand Valley’s highest faculty honor, the Glenn A. Niemeyer Award. 


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