After being nominated by current and former students, Dr. Matthew Hale, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs, was awarded with the Dr. Thomas J. Davy Academic Achievement Award on November 15.
The New Jersey Municipal Management Association (NJMMA) honored Hale at a luncheon, which occurs annually during the League of Municipalities conference held in Atlantic City. The NJMMA, the organization that distributes the award, is comprised of local government administrators whose goal is to improve the quality of local government in New Jersey.
Hale, who has been at Seton Hall since 2003, received the award due to his exceptional work as an educator in the field of public administration. However, Hale says that although the award is a great achievement, it is the impact that his teaching has on students that he values most.
“In the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, we say that our number one goal is to make the world a better place – everything else is commentary,” Hale said. “I hope that I support that goal in a small way in the classroom with my students, but they are the ones who will have the impact out in the world when they are leading nonprofit organizations and government agencies.”
Although Hale was unable to attend the luncheon because of time conflicts with prior duties at the same conference, he suggested that one of his students accept the award on his behalf.
Kimberly Kenny, a student in the MPA program, is a prime example of Hale’s dedication to helping students succeed. Having accepted the award on his behalf as a new member of the NJMMA, Kenny says that Hale is not your ordinary professor.
“Dr. Hale’s innovative thinking and passion for public service makes him an outstanding educator,” Kenny said. “He really takes the time to tailor the MPA program and his own classes in a progressive, yet practical manner that gives students a real world look at public policy issues, as well as prepares them to make a difference in public service.”
When deciding on where to attend graduate school, Kenny recalls that Hale helped her decide in one night that Seton Hall was the place for to continue her studies.
“He took the time to not only meet with me in person, but he also invited me to sit in on one of his classes so I could get a feel for the student body and the academics,” Kenny said. “I was really touched and impressed that he extended himself so fully to a prospective student that I was ready to invest in Seton Hall to help catapult me to the next level in my career.”
Rachel Beeman, a senior in the accelerated dual degree program in Political Science and MPA, is not surprised that Hale received the award. Having been Hale’s student, she says that his
real-word approach in class and his openness outside the classroom offers MPA students the opportunity to thrive.
“I’ve always felt that he’s a very good individual to go to whenever you have questions because he acts almost like a mentor,” said Beeman.
The NJMMA is an organization full of municipal managers and future public service leaders – so the award is great exposure for Seton Hall’s MPA program. However, Hale acknowledges that his students give the award meaning.
“This award is really meaningful because my current and former students are the ones who nominated me for it,” Hale said. “That means a lot for any teacher.”
Nicholas Mariano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org