New CST professor an expert in digital realm


Dr. Matthew Hale, Detroit Mercy’s first new communication studies professor in more than a decade, comes by way of Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.

A proud millennial, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in digital disciplines, including media, culture and humanities.

“If I had to describe him in one word I would say ‘engaging,’” said department chair Cynthia Langham, a member of the hiring committee. “He is a very good fit for our university, academically and personally.”

Hale has a PhD in communications and culture and a second PhD in folklore, both from Indiana University.

He has always been interested in teaching and has been teaching since he was around 15 years old.

“When I was a teen, I learned how to play guitar, so I started teaching guitar lessons,” said Hale.

Since then, he has not stopped teaching.

“I feel very comfortable teaching,” said Hale.

Hale had to go through a hiring process that included a teaching demonstration.

“He spoke so fluidly that you would not know when he was teaching and when he was having a normal conversation,” said Victoria Taylor, one of the students invited to the demonstration. “He checked all the boxes of what I think is a great professor.”

Hale is teaching public speaking this semester.

Two of his classes are online and one face to face.

He creates video lessons and uploads them on YouTube. (Search “digital pedagogy.”)

Topics range from public speaking to popular culture.

Some are personal, describing his tattoos, the day-to-day life of a professor and adventures in cosplay.

“What I like about putting my classes on YouTube is that everyone can benefit from them,” said Hale. “I like to teach and create material that can be used in many different countries.”

Hale’s expertise in social media will take center stage in the winter semester when he teaches a seminar in social media strategies, which will have students doing various projects, including creating memes.

One thing he does to disconnect and relax is editing and making memes for his students.

“He was very relatable,” said Taylor. “His lessons were so engaging, it made me want to learn more about the subject.”

Even though Hale is new to Detroit Mercy, he said he feels comfortable and welcomed at the university.

“When you go through a hiring process, normally you feel like it is you versus the people who are interviewing you,” said Hale. “However, when I was interviewed, I immediately got a good feeling. I felt very supported. They understood and were interested in the stuff that I do.”