Somehow you ended up here...
If you're reading this page, you've most likely either heard me speak at a conference, are one of my former students, or you're my mom (seriously mom, I'm not going to tell any embarrassing stories). I have to admit, when a person sits down to create an "about me-type" website, it seems rather arrogant. I've spent a lot of time reading the sites of people I respect and admire. I've read a lot of articles examining what makes a good "about me" page and why you should actually have them in your website. The one thing that keeps popping up is the idea that some users really like to read them and actually want detailed information. I used to teach classes on social media and web development and told my students how important it was to have an online identity. This site is my collection of professional and personal work, stories, observations, and my online identity. So I'm going to practice what I preach and provide a lot of detail. For those of you that really don't want to read a lot of information, "The Short Version" will likely take care of your needs.
The Short Version
I'm the Director of Digital Learning Services for the University of Utah's Online and Continuing Education. Prior to joining the U in June of 2021, I was the Assistant Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Technology for the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. I was a faculty member/Assistant Professor of Educational Technology or Web and Interactive Media. I'm an experienced interactive media creator, author, musician, and an award-winning college instructor. I have a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Educational Technology from Purdue University, and an M.A. in Interpersonal Communication and a B.A.A. in Organizational Communication and Human Sexuality from Central Michigan University. I've had an interesting career path that has included private consulting, university administration, training, and my real love which is teaching in the college classroom. I currently live in Salt Lake City, UT with my lovely wife, Charmelle Green and our dogs (Sheamus & Finnegan).
If you want some more academic info, click here to view an abridged version of my Curriculum Vitae
If that wasn't enough...keep reading
I was born and raised in Flint MI. My dad retired from Buick experimental engineering where he was a machinist. My mom was/is an artist (you never really stop being an artist). I graduated from Carman-Ainsworth High School in 1987. There are a couple important things that build from those first few sentences that might help explain things later. My dad's career was engineering, machining, math, being analytical, and having structure. He can still freehand things to scale and had some of the best math skills I've ever seen. He can build just about anything. This was great when I was a kid. I would break a part on my bike and he would make a new one for me that had a better design. My mom has the ability to create something amazing out of nearly anything. I grew up dragging things out of people's trash for her (We were "Pickers" before it was cool and on TV). Of course, she would then take whatever it was and make something incredible out of it and sell it! I'm fortunate, I got both analytical and artistic perspectives and abilities from my parents. The other important thing that comes from those early sentences is where I went to high school. Carman-Ainsworth was a good school. I had some really good teachers that provided a solid foundation. I was a bit different back then too. I played football, but I was also in the jazz band, choir, and did drama. So I sort of lived across the usual high school cliques. The one interesting thing that I want to mention is that no one ever talked to me about going to college. We were a comfortable, middle-class family in Flint MI. I earned mostly good, not great grades, and the assumption was, I'd graduate and work for GM. For some reason, I didn't see that in my future. Between my folk's support and being an RA, I was able to attend Central Michigan University, I was very lucky. My maternal grandmother had gone to Central State Teachers' College (which became Central Michigan University in 1959) and became a teacher. I was the next person in my family to attend college. This meant none of us had any idea what I was doing. I want to put this information out here for people to read. I had so many students over the years that were first-generation college students. It is a very different experience when you're the first in your family to do something. There are always additional challenges, but in the long run, it was worth it for me, and I believe it has been a rewarding experience for most of my students. Read about my college & grad school experience
I did my bachelor's and master's degrees at Central Michigan University (CMU), in Mount Pleasant MI. CMU was a great place for me to go to school. At the time I attended, there were about 12,000 students on campus. That meant classes were pretty small and I could be as involved as I wanted to be or as anonymous as I wanted to be. It also meant that my professors knew my name, which was good and bad. I started out as an accounting major with a business law minor. The classes were fine, but I just didn't see myself living that life (the irony that I now work for one of the largest Business Colleges in the nation is not lost on me). I wasn't sure what life I saw myself living, but being an accountant wasn't it. I looked into photojournalism, and that had promise, but it was only a minor so I still needed something else. Somewhere along the way, a took a communication course. The content made a lot of sense and it seemed like a great "generalist" degree that would give me a lot of options. I also, took a human sexuality course and that led to more courses in that program. Let's be honest, it was interesting stuff and it did stress my folks out a bit. While I was an undergrad, I played tenor sax in jazz band (Central Air) and sang in the choir. Singing in the choir gave me an opportunity to travel to Ireland and perform for the millennium of Dublin. That was an amazing experience. I also pledged Theta Chi Fraternity and became an RA. So I was pretty busy. I managed to make some great friends and have a lot of fun too. Isn't that part of the college experience? Part of being an RA was working with administrators from around campus. I interacted with the President(s) of the University quite a bit. Yes, that is plural, we had a few presidents during this time. I'll just say this...by my junior year, I decided that I could be a university president based on what I was seeing from the people holding that position on my campus. So I did some research about university presidents. I knew I would need to get a Ph.D., and that basically meant I needed a master's degree. Since I was an RA and occasionally a summer hall director, I figured I would graduate and look for a hall director position somewhere and work on a graduate degree. That summer, Dr. Edward Hinck suggested that I look into being a teaching assistant (TA). Remember, CMU was a pretty small then. I had never had a TA, so I really didn't even know what they did. However, Ed encouraged me to look into being a TA and offered to write letters of recommendation, and so on. The next thing I know, I've been offered an assistantship to teach the introductory speech course. This meant I would spend the following summer taking a course about teaching SDA101. I had a couple of things working against me.
- I had never taken SPC101.
- I had no idea how to teach.
- I had to get a laptop (not many people had them back then) so I could write anywhere
- I had to bring all of my skis, guitars, and bikes (except my commuter) to her house...she wasn't kidding. I filled a closet with skis and guitars and took up a bunch of her garage with bikes.
- She even gave my girlfriend a Mon/Wed/Fri 9 a.m. class to teach (so she "wouldn't be a distraction")
After I finished things up at CMU, I accepted a research assistantship at Purdue University. I was working toward a Ph.D. in Family Studies. My work focused on the prediction and prevention of domestic violence using communication skills or lack thereof. I was working away at things and doing pretty well when the world changed. About that time was when the Web was starting to really take shape. AOL, Earthlink, and CompuServe, amongst others, had given the general public access to the digital world. Netscape version 2.0 had just been released and the Web began to really take off. I was trying to come up with ways to collect data for my dissertation and knew that West Lafayette IN was not going to have the people I needed for my research. I knew there had to be a way to use the Web to collect survey data. As luck would have it, Dr. James (Jamie) L. Mohler was teaching a 4-week summer course on "Web page programming." Yes that's what they called it back then. I contacted him about taking the class and explained I wasn't a programmer or a graphic artist, but thought I could use the Web to collect data. He encouraged me to take the class. That class changed everything for me. By the second week, I realized I was having much more fun learning this stuff and could see future possibilities in this field beyond that of Family Studies. Purdue happened to have a doctoral program in educational technology. I applied, was accepted and even given a teaching assistantship. That's right, back in the classroom! However, this time I was able to take on some new challenges. I started picking the brains of the IT folks in the school. I had a knack for this stuff. I ended up coordinating the instructional Mac labs for the program and training the other TAs. That lead to working with the Online Writing Lab (OWL) and getting their website and servers in order. Each of these opportunities added a little more "know-how" to my skillset. A couple of other important things happened here too. The IT folks I was working with taught me some valuable lessons about IT and higher education. They planted a seed in me that has caused me to always push for improvement and better service. Thanks Mike & Bob, you were good mentors and didn't even know it. The coursework was fun and interesting, I loved teaching the classes, I enjoyed and was challenged by all the new technology, and I was making a lot of great friends. Sound familiar? Once I wrapped up my coursework, I found myself as a staff member in Agricultural Economics and started my professional career...officially. I was no longer a grad student, I had a retirement account, benefits, and all that other "grown-up" stuff. Read about my career
So my first professional position was in Agricultural Economics, I was their "Web guy." During my time there, I got really involved in working with databases and the Web. This led to me creating a custom course management system for faculty to use in their classes. About that time was when I ran into Jamie, again, at lunch. That conversation turned into a book deal on Macromedia UltraDev, which morphed into what we today call Adobe Dreamweaver. Right about the time the book was going to print, I got an opportunity to move to Tucson AZ and work for the Arizona AHEC at the University of Arizona. Over the next four-and-a-half years, I developed some really amazing online tools and worked with a group of fantastic people. My supervisors got an opportunity to do some very important work in Africa, and my personal life had reached a major crossroads. So as the leaders I had followed for my time in Tucson moved on to a new challenge, I took that opportunity to make some major changes too. So I started looking for teaching positions and took a leap of faith. I quit my job at the U of A, sold my house, shipped all my stuff to a storage unit back in MI, and headed back to the midwest. I knew I would find a teaching position, I just didn't know where. So I was technically unemployed, divorced, and living with my parents (can you say chick-magnet?) It was a great summer, and I'm so happy to have had it. My dad and I played golf almost every day, I hung out with my mom, sister, and niece and just enjoyed being near my family again. After leaving Tucson, I found myself working in the School of Education at Indiana University South Bend. I taught educational technology and communication courses for six-and-a-half years. During this time, I was able to work with some amazing students and colleagues. Working with future teachers was quite an honor. Teaching in the K12 environment is a rewarding but very challenging profession. These individuals are going to have a huge impact on the lives of their future students. They are under appreciated, over worked, and incredibly important. It was a great experience to work with such a gifted group of people. One of the other things that happened when I returned to the midwest was that I decided to finish my Ph.D. If you have read the previous sections, you know I have a habit of not "writing the big paper at the end." Well, my Ph.D. was no different. I whipped through the course work, but just got side tracked with jobs, a book, moving across the country, and so on (yes, I'm good at avoiding things). Now that I was back in the classroom, it was time to get it done. At the time, I lived in a funky old house with my dog and two cats. I'd come home each night and write, but things got too quite so I'd turn on the TV to have some noise. Then I'd realize I had watched 7 episodes of "Friends" and not written a thing. So the Monday after the Super Bowl in 2006, I called the cable company and asked them to remove the line from my house all the way back to the pole. The lady I was speaking to just didn't get it. She was offering me a less expensive cable package or would just turn things off. I had to explain to her that I'm really industrious and needed to have the line completely removed because I had no willpower. She finally got it and we both had a good laugh. The next day, my cable was gone. Now I had no distractions. It was at this point, my friend Dr. Bruce Spitzer told me "There is a light on at the end of the tunnel, you can't see it yet, but it's on, you're almost there." Things were going pretty well and I just needed to get one good push to the end. This is where my dear friend Nancy comes back into the picture. I drove up to her house and moved in with her family for about a week. I would get up around 6 a.m. and write, Nancy would critique my work over breakfast, and I'd go back to writing. Then she'd do some more critiquing and I'd sit on the dock and watch the boats, then I'd write some more. Finally, she and her family would all go to bed, and I'd write until about midnight and go to sleep. Without her willingness to help me, I would have never made it to the end. Not only did Nancy teach me about learning and teaching, she taught me about being a teacher. It doesn't end when a student leaves your classroom. It actually never ends, just ask her. I still try to see her every chance I get. I try to live by the example she has given me. There are certain students that need a little (or in my case, a lot) more, and if you provide that attention and support, they can reach things they never thought possible. I'll never be able to repay Nancy, so I've tried to pay it forward in my classrooms, with my students, at my colleges, and so on. And that's how I became Dr. Matt Mooney. It took a long time. A lot of work. Reams of paper. And I'll be honest and say a few bottles of bourbon, but it did happen. Many people played a role in my Ph.D. and I've thanked them every chance I get. So I continued teaching at IUSB until another unexpected thing happened. In May of 2011, my wife received an interesting call. Penn State asked her to interview for the Associate Athletics Director, Senior Woman Administrator's position. While we were incredibly happy in South Bend, this was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. She is amazing at what she does and was quickly offered the position. She left for State College on July 1st and I stayed in South Bend to completed the fall semester at IUSB. As the summer came to a close, I was offered a position at Pennsylvania College of Technology. In January of 2012, I started working at Penn College of Technology as an Assistant Professor of Web & Interactive Media. My students were going to be future web developers or designers. I was fortunate to work with some incredibly talented students. I spent 3 years at Penn College. I truly enjoyed working with my students and made some great friends. However, during those 3 years, I saw the true value of great leadership, or lack thereof. I have worked with some amazing leaders throughout my career, but I've also worked with some folks that left a lot to be desired. As a faculty member, I would offer assistance, push, beg, and sometimes just plain fight for what I thought was right. Most of the time, these situations were about doing the right things for my students, my program, or the campus as a whole. What I learned during the last couple of years at Penn College was that leadership and vision are key to sustaining and growing something great. As a faculty member, I wasn't going to get a chance to see those things happen. I needed to leave my very comfortable life of being a professor and look for opportunities to really get involved in higher education at a higher level. In January of 2015, I entered a new era of my profession. I was honored to be selected as the Director of Instructional Design for the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. I took all my experience in the classroom, my past professional experience, and my education and put it to use working with an amazing staff to support the online and residential instructional needs of the college. In February of 2018, I was named the Assistant Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Technology for Smeal. It was a great honor and responsibility. As the saying goes, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans!" In January of 2021, Charmelle received another one of those calls. Her alma mater, the University of Utah, wanted her to come back as the Deputy Athletics Director/COO. This was about the only thing that could pull us from Penn State. Fortunately, they also wanted me too! So, in the midst of a global pandemic, we moved across the country and relocated to Salt Lake City. I slowly phased out of my role at Smeal and began my new role as the Director of Digital Learning Services in Online and Continuing Education at the University of Utah. What an exciting time to join such a dynamic team. I do occasionally miss my 4-day work weeks and summers off, but I love what I do. The challenges and opportunities at an institution like Utah are amazing...and I get to be part of it. I'm a lucky man! Read about my hobbies and other interests
I have a lot of interests. Sometimes it seems like I have too many, but I just can't give them up. Basically, the major ones fall into two areas: outdoor stuff and music. While there are others listed, outdoor stuff and music cover a lot of them. Outdoor Stuff Cycling I've been into cycling for quite a while. When mountain biking hit the midwest in the late 1980's, I was at a race nearly every weekend. I worked as a mechanic in a number of different bike shops over the years and have developed a great appreciation for cycling, not to mention I've owned a lot of different bikes over the years. I don't race anymore, nor do I actually ride that fast. I just like to ride. I was able to ride my bike to work for many years. When I lived in Tucson, it was 18 miles to my office and I rode 3-4 days a week, ten months out of the year. It was fantastic. In South Bend, I only had a 1-mile commute, but I rode all year. I had a special "winter commuter" complete with studded tires. I had a great group of folks to ride with in South Bend. I was working one night a week at Outpost Sports, so I met a bunch of like-minded folks there and at IUSB. In fact, we had a standing Sunday morning ride called SHRED. We would meet most Sunday mornings and ride the local mountain bike trails. Some Sundays there were 5 of us, others there may have been 10 or more. It was a great way to spend the morning. Now that I'm in UT, I'm hoping to reignite my love of cycling. Of course, a pedal-assist bike is going to be in my future to tackle these mountains! In addition to commuting and mountain biking, I love touring. I got the itch when I was working at shops during college. Of course, I didn't have the time or the money to do it. When I got to South Bend, I was able to get it all together. It started in 2006 when my good buddy Bruce and I participating in RAGBRAI. This is the grand-daddy of all cross-state bike tours. There are more than 10,000 riders moving across the state from one small town to another. We camped in baseball fields, church yards, stranger's front yards, ate more pie and pork that you can imagine, and basically had a great time. In fact, we had such a good time, we took some friends and did it again the next year. Bruce even went a third time (I bailed, I was getting married the week after the ride that year). During our second ride, our dear friend Dave described RAGBRAI as 1 part Tour de France, 1 part county fair, and 1 part Woodstock. No truer words were ever spoken. After riding across Iowa a couple of times, I sort of got the bug. I upgraded my equipment and got things really set up. Of course, time is always the issue. So my buddies (Bruce & Henry) and I started doing S24O rides. That way we could still play with all of our gear and get out and ride, but it only took a night or two out of our schedules. There are still some rides I want to do, for example, the Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Towpath from Pittsburgh to DC is tops on my list. I just need to make the time. It will happen. The best part is, I have the gear and the ability, so I'm going to continue to plan for it and other trips. Charmelle and I spend on anniversary weekend riding the Pine Creek Trail in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. It was beautiful. It was about 100 miles total, so we broke it into 3 days of short 30-ish mile rides. Beautiful scenery, and it's only 40-minutes from home. We saw bald eagles, 4 snakes (Charmelle did not like that), and a ton of natural beauty. Hiking Living in UT makes hiking really easy. We have amazing trails all around us. So it's usually just a day hike, but overnights are not out of the picture. I basically just like to be outside enjoying nature when I can be. Fly Fishing Moving to central PA allowed me to get addicted to a new hobby, fly fishing. I had always said if I lived somewhere that had good fly fishing, I'd get into it. So I sort of added a new hobby to my list. And now that I live in UT, I'm in the heart of some of the best western fishing there is. I have access to ID, MT, WY, CO, and UT rivers, so I think I'll be busy! Again, I'm outside enjoying nature and love the challenge. I'm a catch-and-release fisherman. I crush the barbs on my hooks so the fish live to be caught again another day. Although, I'm certain I've caught the same fish multiple times on the same day. Sometimes, trout aren't all that smart. I'm also fortunate to have access to a great instructor and guide, Dennis Charney. He is a also a really great guy. Music Stuff While I didn't really get my mom's artistic skills for traditional art, I have musical ability. I started out playing in the band (saxophone) and singing in the choir in junior high, and that hasn't really stopped. I love to sing and am an OK guitar and bass player. I've dappled with drums and am always working on blues harmonica. I want to put a plug in for a couple of friends. When I decided to learn harp (blues harmonica), I found two people that have really helped me. It started with a trip to Clarksdale MS to attend Jon Gindick's Jam Camp. Yes that's right, I went to Harmonica Camp. Not once, but twice. This is a very special experience. First, the coaches are some of the the best players and instructors the country has to offer. Second, it's 5 days of blues, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta staying at the Shack Up Inn which is a treat all by itself. You can't ask for more, but there is more. Not only to you learn blues harp, you play with a band from the first day. You even play on stage at Ground Zero Blues Club one night. It's an amazing experience. In fact, I went to the blues guitar and bass camp (Down 2 the Crossroads) in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and will be back. These camps are truly some of the bests gifts I've ever given myself. An added bonus is my sister, Rhoda, is a bass player and has joined me at harp camp and guitar & bass camp. Time with family is extra special when music is involved. I'm incredibly lucky to count Richard Sleigh as a friend. Richard is one of the best harmonica players, instructors, and customizers in the country. I'm fortunate to have spent many Tuesday nights in a group lesson led by Richard. I'd get an hour of instruction and some great friends just around the corner. As with bike touring, time is the great equalizer. I'd love to sit and play music for a few hours every day, but right now, life doesn't allow that. So I try to play as often as I can, and it always brings a smile to my face. I also connected with some friends in central PA that play music as well. It started with my friend Rick and I and playing in one of our living rooms every couple of weeks. Then we had 2-3 guitar players, a bass player, a drummer, and a keyboard player. We were the Buffalo Run Boys. It was a blast! I looked forward to our weekly get togethers. We mostly played private parties and benefits. We are also the "house band" for "The Getaway." The Getaway was our basement. We built a "honky tonk" down there. We loved it and had so many great get togethers down there! I'm excited to get connected in the Salt Lake City music scene. There are a number of live music venues, great blues bands, and some jams. As we are coming out of the COVID isolation and I'm settling into the region, I'll be hitting those events whenever possible. Other Stuff Wood Working I've always enjoyed building things. When COVID first hit, I realized I would have a lot of weekend time on my hands. So, I decided to build a workshop in my basement. As fate woudl have it, we found out we were moving to UT about 1 month after I finished bulding it. Not to worry though, the UT house has space, and I get to improve on my designs, upgrade some tools I sold before moving, and do it all again.