Karl R. Matthews, Ph. D.


Teaching Philosophy

  1. My intent through teaching is to encourage students to apply the knowledge they have to critically analyze situations and solve problems.  Notwithstanding, students still need to know the basic terms used in the discipline, but must advance beyond rote learning.  I wish my students to be critical of what they hear, form their own opinions and be equipped to defend their opinions in an intelligent and articulate manner.  Teaching requires active participation by the teacher and the student.  My responsibility is to teach the student and the students’ responsibility is to learn; my job, as teacher is to make their job (learning) easier.  That does not mean, “watering” the material down and spoon feeding the student.  As educators we must use innovative methods, respond enthusiastically to questions, and encourage our students to enthusiastically seek knowledge. My graduate class is composed of a large number of international students that may be struggling with english as a second language and are unfamiliar with colloquialisms, therefore I often depart from conventional teaching methods to ensure the entire class develops the requisite skills and grasps the information presented to be successful in the future.

    Interaction with students outside the classroom is integral to the learning process.  I have no set office hours, rather I encourage students to visit when they have an opportunity, and discuss issues relevant to the course and their undergraduate or graduate career. I also encourage students to contact me by Email, a particularly useful communication tool for students that are employed full time or may travel extensively.  I do not want students to feel I am unapproachable, creating an atmosphere in which students may feel I am not interested in their concerns.

    Teaching Responsibilities

    Undergraduate Courses:

    • Current Issues in Food Science and Food Law (11:400:314): An interactive discussion facilitated course-covering topics including current food safety issues/controversies, obesity, nutrition, and consumer knowledge.  Emphasis is placed on current issues that impact the food industry nationally and internationally.  Regulations put forth by FDA and USDA and how they influence the safety of the food supply will be covered.  Consumer knowledge and how the consumer perceives the food supply in terms of its wholesomeness and safety will underscore discussions.

    Graduate Courses

              Food Biology Fundamentals (16:400:514):  The course is one of three core courses for students enrolled in graduate studies in the Department of Food Science graduate program.   Prerequisites include Food Science Fundamentals I and general microbiology or chemistry.   I serve as course coordinator; as such, I coordinate the activities and lecture dates of the other three co-instructors.  The course covers two broad areas:  Food Microbiology and Post-Harvest Technology.  I present lectures on gram-negative foodborne pathogens, spoilage organisms, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), and sampling plans.  The course is taught each spring semester and typically has 25 to 40 students enrolled.
    ·        Microbial Food Safety (16:400:605): An in-depth presentation of Microbial Food Safety from the farm to the table.    Discussion will encompass a range of topics from safety of genetically modified microorganisms for use in food production to the impact of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point systems in the food industry.   Emphasis is placed on applied technology rather than microbial theory. The most current information on food safety regulations is covered.