Dr. Paul Matthews is the Associate Director of the University of Georgia Office of Service-Learning (OSL), where he helps support faculty members, students, and community partners in applying academic skills and knowledge to address community needs and enhance student learning. Paul holds two degrees from the University of Georgia—a Ph.D. in language education and an A.B. in Area Studies—as well as an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was also a Fulbright Fellow to the University of Passau (Germany), and was a 2019 Canterbury Visiting Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.
A Senior Academic Professional, Paul has been on the faculty at the University of Georgia since 1994, in departments including Romance Languages, Language Education, and as founding Co-Director of the Center for Latino Achievement & Success in Education (CLASE) in the College of Education. He was a Service-Learning Fellow in 2006 and the Office of Service-Learning’s Senior Scholar for Faculty Development from 2007-2010; in July 2010 he became Assistant Director of the OSL, and became Associate Director in 2016. In that role, he coordinates faculty development and awards programs, tracks institutional reporting of service-learning and community engagement, conducts research and evaluation, coordinates service-learning initiatives, directs UGA's AmeriCorps VISTA network, and teaches service-learning coursework. He was a 2011-12 graduate of the Public Service & Outreach Leadership Academy and a 2018 graduate of the PSO Facilitation Academy, and is part of the coordinating committee for the PSO Faculty Scholars Academy. He is also the founding coordinator of the Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars Program.
Paul regularly presents and publishes service-learning scholarship and convenes UGA's Faculty Learning Community on Service-Learning Research. He serves as the section co-editor for the Advances in Theory and Methodology section of the International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and for the Dissertation Overviews section of the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. He holds the "Community Engagement Fundamentals" credential through Campus Compact's Community Engagement Professional credentialing program (2020), and was the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement's Outstanding Practitioner of the Year for 2016. Paul was appointed a Commissioner on the Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism by Governor Brian Kemp in 2020.
Paul is also past president of the Classic City Rotary Club; International Service and Grants Chair and past Assistant District Governor for Rotary International District 6910; and a long-time Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 149 in Oconee County, GA. Paul and his wife are restoring their hundred-year old historic bungalow, and he also plays Celtic music with other local musicians, with weekly sessions in downtown Athens. Paul has received numerous community and civic recognitions including the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service; Scouting's District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver; Georgia TESOL's Professional Service Award; and was the Northeast Georgia Council's sole inductee for the Boy Scouts of America 100th Anniversary National Hall of Leadership (2010). Paul was presented the Key to the City of Athens from Mayor Nancy Denson in 2018.