Roberta Mathews

senior fellow


Roberta Mathews holds a doctoral degree in modern British and Irish Literature. She served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of English Brooklyn College/CUNY from 2001 though 2007, when she retired from academia. During her time at Brooklyn College, she played a key role in devising a new strategic plan, envisioning the new core curriculum and creating new undergraduate and graduate programs. She launched the Center for the Study of Brooklyn and the Magner Center for Career Services. The Center for Teaching grew in prominence and effectiveness. As Provost, Matthews oversaw the hiring of over 150 new faculty and developed a rich new faculty orientation program. In 2003, in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the Gateway Institute, and as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative, she established the Science, Technology and Research (STAR) Early College High School. STAR graduated its first class in June 2007, with 72 of its original 76 students receiving their degrees and continuing on to college.

Before coming to Brooklyn College, Matthews served as the founding Director of the City University of NewYork Honors College: University Scholars Program. During 1999-2000 she served as Interim President at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY. Prior to that, she was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Marymount College in Tarrytown New York. Matthews spent many years in high-level administrative positions and as a Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College. Her higher education experience spans public and private, senior and community, small and large colleges.

Matthews has published widely and offered workshops on learning communities and active learning at colleges and universities across the country. Throughout her career, she focused on curriculum and program development, school-college collaboration, and international education, always dedicated to achieving educational excellence through intentional and proven reform efforts. She served on the national boards of the American Association for Higher Education and the Policy Center on the First Year of College. During the time she served as Provost, Brooklyn College was a Foundations of Excellence pilot institution.

Since 2005, Matthews has served as a Senior Fellow for Foundations of Excellence at the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (formerly the Policy Center of the First Year of College). She believes that FoE is transformative, and is always delighted to assist colleges and universities as they work through the FoE process.

To contact Roberta, please email her at