Stephen Matchak

Stephen Matchak

Professional Details

Title: Chairperson
Office: MH-328A
Phone: 978-542-6181

Fall & Winter Courses

Cat. # Term Course # Title
2621 S1 GPH110 World Regions
3333 01 GPH110 World Regions
3342 01 GPH234 Geography of Europe
4002 01 GPH476 Seminar in Geographic Concepts

Professional Biography


1971      B.A.      University of Hartford   Philosophy
1975      M.A.      University of Wales, Aberystwyth   Welsh
1978      M.A.      University of North Carolina   Folklore
1982      Ph.D.     University of North Carolina – Geography


I have been employed at Salem State since 1986.  From 1982 to 1986, I worked for the Massachusetts Data Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.  Starting as an assistant professor, I have risen to the rank of professor.

Professional Interests

I have developed several professional interests that I have kept alive over the years.  The longest standing interests have been in folklore and the cultural landscape.  Folkloric interests pre-date my career as a geographer and, these days, center on New England.  I am interested in studying the folkloric contribution of the pre-industrial culture to today’s landscape as well as the ethnic and cultural diversity of the region.  Reading the cultural landscape is another long standing interest that originally drew me into geography as a discipline.  I find that the richness of the cultural landscape fascinating.
Over the years, I have developed professional and research interests in global regional geography, American geography and New England geography.  My approach has had a strong historical bent.  I have taught a number of human geography courses.  Within the last five to six years, I have developed an interest in tourism and tourism studies.

Finally, I am interested in experiential education through study/travel seminars.  I have been a group leader on over forty international and a handful of domestic trips.  The domestic trips have focused on the American Southwest and all the international trips have been to either Canada or Europe.  Many of these seminars have been run with a colleague from the History Department, and they are themed on broad an important topics such as World War I and World War II.


I am finishing my twelfth year as the Geography Department’s Chair and have just been elected to another three year term.  In addition I sit on several committees including the Executive Committee of the MSCA, the state wide union.  Committee work has touched upon curriculum, policies, and strategic planning.

Selected Publications


At the moment my research has taken two tacks.  One has been an ongoing project on Salem’s Trading Partners.  Salem was a major seaport in the colonial and anti bellum periods.  This research based upon customs impost books traces the network of geographic interrelationships between Salem and over 100 ports of call as well as an accounting for scores of diverse cargoes.
A second research tack has been on local tourism in Salem as well as New England.  Tourism has become a major teaching and research focus as my role in the department has changed to focus on the department’s tourism concentrations.