Profile

Matthew Olson, Graduate School of Education



Hometown:

Townsend

“My experience at UMass Lowell and what I learned in the program prepared me with the knowledge and skills for this position.”
Matthew Olson, dean of humanities and social science at Middlesex Community College, says there is a direct connection between the doctorate he earned in Leadership in Schooling and his current job.

“My experience at UMass Lowell and what I learned in the program prepared me with the knowledge and skills for this position,” says Olson, who earned his Ed.D. from the Graduate School of Education in 2007. “It made it easier to step into a leadership role.”

Olson joined the staff of Middlesex in 1994 as an assistant to a dean. His early career goal was to teach psychology as a member of the college’s faculty. However, with a strong interest in the relationship between technology and student success, he became increasingly involved with online learning, serving as director of distance education and later as director of Middlesex Interactive, overseeing the college’s growing portfolio of instructional technology and online education options. He held the latter position while working on his doctorate and wrote his dissertation on the topic.

Named to his current post in May 2011, Olson now oversees about one-third of Middlesex’s academic programs. He says the research and scholarship he did while working on his doctorate inform his thinking every day.

“I have a really good framework for understanding new ideas,” Olson says. “My courses at UMass Lowell have been so useful to me in my career.”

A native of Sterling, Mass., Olson earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from UMass Amherst and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from UMass Boston. He currently lives in Townsend with his wife and three children.

Asked what he would tell perspective GSE students about the doctoral program, Olson says the strong bonds that develop between students and faculty create a unique environment where scholarship and innovation thrive.

“The faculty made all the difference for me – with their expertise and caring about students as individuals. I felt their support all the way through the program,” he says.