Matthew Campbell, vice president of student learning and success, is enthusiastic to listen to what concerns students at Pierce. Born near Harrisburg, Penn., Campbell grew up with the infamous Three Mile Island visible from his front lawn.
Growing up, Campbell saw his parents as inspirations. That would later become a thirst for knowledge using his abilities to help others achieve their goals, particularly those who contribute to the community. His parents encouraged him to attend college, viewing it as a pathway to a better life.
“I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of Delaware, and that’s where I started working in higher education,” Campbell said. “I also worked in housing and orientation, as well as some other offices while I was there. It was there where I realized I really wanted to stay in higher education which sort of began my career.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in political science with concentrations in human rights, African studies and music, Campbell aimed for his master’s degree. The University of Washington provided an opportunity for Campbell to earn his master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies while also employed initially in admissions, and then later as an adviser. Campbell spent some time at The Art Institute of Seattle and Anne Arundel Community College before finding himself in Pennsylvania at Temple University working toward his doctorate.
“It was a great experience and I was able to focus my learning on democratic education and issues of social justice and ethics in education, particularly as they related to student persistence to completion of their goals,” said Campbell.
When faced with adversity, Campbell approaches problems by analyzing the situation, gathering information and evaluating it from as prospectively as possible. Campbell said he examines how his privileges as a white, middle-class man can be used to advocate for others without such benefits. That’s why in part he values the mission of Pierce and other community colleges with its focus on democratizing access to education which, according to Campbell, is key to breaking patterns of oppression.
As vice president of learning and student success, Campbell’s emphasis is on expanding integration between learning and student services. Campbell stated that the more the college community is connected to itself, the more opportunities there are to connect students to the college.
“I think the Achieving the Dream initiative is driving us in the right direction, find the right connections, and right balance,” Campbell said. “I share the President’s enthusiasm for this year. We’ve got a lot of energy, and I’m excited to be tackling these issues to support the learning process and student success.”
For Campbell, hobbies include baking, particularly pizza and bread, as well as running, although he is unsure whether he does it for leisure or for his health. He hopes to one day own a brick oven in order to make the ideal pizza. Campbell also spends a good amount of his free time collecting vinyls while also creating and analyzing music.
Traveling through much of the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, Campbell has been to northeastern states such as New York, New Jersey and his personal favorite, Maine, along with the northwestern states. When asked about his views on the Pierce community, Campbell had this to share.
“There is a great energy here and a great vision for moving forward in a way that supports student success and is very intentional, in that it is specifically mission-driven. Pierce College’s mission is to create quality educational opportunities for a diverse community of learners to thrive in an evolving world,” Campbell said. “The commitment to this mission, at all levels, is inspiring and drives collaboration. That is, the people of Pierce have a common goal and work together to assure that we are moving in the right direction. I’ve not seen many institutions work as closely and have as much focus as I’ve seen during my short time at Pierce. That is motivating and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the Pierce community.”
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