Matthew Shaftel: FSU Top Teacher

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By: Gina Pitisci

Tallahassee, FL - Once a year Florida State University's faculty members are honored for their achievements, and tonight at the Turnbull Conference Center, the university presented it's 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award.

"I really owe it to my students and to this institution that has made it possible to do really great things in the classroom," Matthew Shaftel, recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award, said.

Matthew Shaftel is an associate professor of music theory at the FSU College of Music. He says he has always been interested in music and even when he thought of doing something else, music pulled him back in. He admits "music beat out lots of other things in my life,” Shaftel said. “I did have some wonderful teachers."

When asked what unique talents Shaftel brings to the FSU College of Music and its students, Dean Don Gibson says, "he has the capacity to take very dense complicated ideas and present them in a way that feels musically relevant to the students."

Before making his way to FSU, Shaftel received both an undergraduate degree and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Gibson says Shaftel is both an excellent researcher and teacher. "To get the kinds of student evaluations that Matthew has received systematically over the years, you've got to be doing a lot of things extraordinarily well," Dean Gibson said.

Shaftel says his favorite part about his job is when he is able to swap roles with his students and they are able to teach him new things. "For me this is about being here, being vested in the university, and being excited about our future," according to Shaftel.

The faculty awards ceremony also included Broadway themed entertainment as well as a performance by Davis Gaines.

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