Matthew W. Tolbert joined the faculty of the School of Education and Psychology at Southern Adventist University in 2017. He previously worked for Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, TN for ten years as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair for Social Sciences. After receiving his master’s degree in counseling from Southern in 2005, Matt worked as a family therapist as well as a therapist and behavior specialist in the public school system.
Matt grew up in the Seventh-Day Adventist church. His father is a retired pastor and he attended Adventist schools until beginning his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. This provides a solid foundation of Adventist principles with which to guide students toward a deep experience with Christ. Additionally, Matt’s experience working in the public education sector, especially in a state college, gives him a well-rounded perspective with which to facilitate the valuable learning experiences each student can have at Southern.
Believing that learning is the most fundamental component of human experience, he often quotes one of his former professors: “Learning is like breathing; without it there is no life”. The life God affords us is only possible because we have the ability to learn. This is why creating fun and engaging learning experiences is paramount to Matt’s teaching philosophy. He is so passionate about learning and teaching that his dissertation for his Ph.D. is on this topic. And Southern provides an exciting environment where learning takes center stage.
Students who have a desire to learn and grow, who are willing to work hard and be inspired, who are searching for their purpose in life; these are the students Matt hopes to serve. He looks forward to the opportunity.