Macon State College MVPs is a web feature that profiles notable students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Full Name: Debra Holmes Matthews.
Residence: Warner Robins.
Hometown: Hawkinsville, Ga.
Family: Husband, Rogers Matthews; Parents, Margaret Holmes and the late John H. Holmes, five sisters, one brother, nieces, nephews and other family members.
Job Title: Chair of the Humanities Department and associate professor of English.
Degrees: Bachelor of science in English education from Albany State University; Master of education in curriculum and teaching, secondary, from Howard University; and PhD in English from Georgia State University.
Year she joined the Macon State faculty: 1990.
Some of her teaching career highlights are … “Over the years, I have experienced a number of career highlights including earning my doctorate while teaching full-time at Macon State and receiving the 2006 Outstanding Teaching Award. However, the most rewarding experience is to talk with former students in the community and to know that the education they have received at Macon State has made a difference in their lives and in the lives of their family members.”
She enjoys teaching at Macon State because … “The faculty, staff and students make teaching at Macon State an enjoyable experience. There is an attitude of cooperation and an opportunity to make a difference by helping students to develop skills and an appreciation for literature and the writing process. Many of our students will remain in the local area, and the education that they receive here will not just benefit them individually, but the community as a whole.”
Her favorite course to teach is … “Any course involving composition. Students enter the class at different levels in terms of their writing abilities, and it is always a challenge to address the different levels and create a non-threatening environment in the writing classroom.”
One thing people don’t know about Macon State is … “Macon State has a reputation in the community for being challenging, but I suspect that people do not know what a nurturing environment exists on the campus as well. Faculty and staff are genuinely concerned about the success of the students, and there are programs in place to assist students.”
One thing people don’t know about her is … “My first full-time teaching position was at a business college in Washington, DC. Eighty-five percent of my students were from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Peru, Sri Lanka and other foreign countries, and many of them were having their first experience with English.”
In her spare time she likes to … “Read, write, arrange flowers, paint and do home- improvement projects.”
The one person she’d most like to meet is … “Mary McLeod Bethune. She had such a strong commitment to education and service, and she started a college that remains today with a just a dollar and some change.”
If she wasn’t a college professor she would be … “A general contractor and work primarily in underserved communities because there is such a great need.”