Matthew Barton - SUU Faculty

Dr. Matthew H. Barton


"I want students to learn to think with the material, which means they need to read the content more deeply than typical reading habits allow. Once they begin to think with the material, the world starts to look differently."

Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. – University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2002
  • M.A. – University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 1998
  • B.S. – Southern Utah University, 1995

Career Highlights:

I published a co-authored text for use in the basic communication course with Kendall Hunt publishing in 2017. In addition, since 2003 I have authored or co-authored 22 articles or book chapters in academic books and national/regional/state journals in the communication field. I have been honored with several major awards at conferences for top research in instructional pedagogy and textual analysis, and I have also served as an editorial board member for two different journals.

I have received the Outstanding Educator Award at SUU as well as the Outstanding Scholar Award and have been recognized as a Service Learning Fellow. Moreover, I have been named a top influencer for students during their college experience.

I served as the graduate director for nine years before being appointed as the new department chair.

In which online degree program do you teach?


  • Links to share:

  • Which classes do you teach online?

    COMM 6000: Communication and Professional Development; COMM 6020: Qualitative Communication Research; COMM 6040: Professional Writing and Presentations

  • What do you want students in your courses to learn? What is the learning outcome or objective?

    I want students to learn to think with the material, which means they need to read the content deeper than typical reading habits allow. Once they begin to think with the material, the world starts to look differently. The other goal is to understand that research is an integral part of knowledge and is not an isolated activity in classes. Good decisions stem from a solid foundation, and that is what research provides.

  • Why did you start teaching?

    I began teaching for two reasons. First, my background is in radio which I really enjoyed, but the work is very transient, so one bad ratings book and you could be looking for a new job. I knew that my desire to have a solid family life would be hard to achieve, and I didn't want to drag them all over the country chasing the next job. Second, I love the intellectual curiosity that higher education provides. A designated space to think and help others do the same is of critical importance.

  • What advice would you give to those considering the online Master of Arts in Professional Communication General program?

    Don't shortchange yourself on the courses by skimming through the readings. Find a study block in your schedule that won't get bumped and take the time to read, study, think, write and re-write.

  • What qualities make someone particularly successful in professional communication?

    One should have a willingness to embrace the unknown in terms of asking questions and turning that curiosity into research explorations. The other quality is realizing that effective communication takes time, consistent effort and training. The idea that anyone can communicate is far from accurate.

  • What do you think is the biggest challenge that people in this field face today?

    A big challenge is when people try to multitask while hoping to gain the most out of all the tasks they take on in their lives. The other concern is the growing notion that all learning needs to be "fun," so content doesn’t have value if there isn't a surface level video with lots of bells and whistles. In an M.A. program, this type of attitude is poisonous.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

    The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer.

  • Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.

    I like rock music, and for some reason hair bands from the 80s have stuck with me–pretty common to come to my office and hear Bon Jovi playing.

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