Professor of the Month: Dr. Matthew Kushin

Dr. Matthew Kushin
Communication Professor

University: Shepherd University
Location: Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Matthew J. Kushin, Ph.D. is an award-winning educator and scholar who has the best job in the world: He gets to think, talk, and teach social media.

He is the concentration coordinator of the Strategic Communication concentration in the department. He’s taught a myriad of courses including: Social Media, Politics & Social Media, Principles of PR, Strategic Campaigns, Communication Theories, Communication Research Methods, Applied Communication Research, Communication & New Media, Writing Across Platforms, Introduction to Mass Communication, Public Speaking, New Communication Technology.

Before joining Shepherd University in the fall of 2012, he was an assistant professor at Utah Valley University. Dr. Kushin’s research focuses on social media, politics, and civic life. He has presented to audiences international on the subject via the United States State Department.

He also maintains a “Social Media Education Blog” where he discusses industry trends, best practices, and teaching tips for the classroom.

Source: Shepherd University

We asked Dr. Kushin a few questions. His answers are below:


I use the Mimic Intro software to introduce PPC ads to my students. Interestingly, the class is taught in a writing class in a communication department. I integrated the software into my writing across platforms class because I wanted my students, many of whom are interested in working in social media and public relations, to get more experience learning about paid online ads broadly, and search engine marketing and keyword research specifically. It was a lot of fun to introduce students to the Mimic simulator last semester and see them compete. I wrote a blog series about my experience, which readers can find here:


Don’t be afraid to experiment, take risks and be vulnerable. We live in an economy where experimentation and innovation are happening all around us. Our students will work in an ever-changing environment. To help our students thrive in that environment, we educators must also take on an experimentation mindset. Trying Mimic Intro was an experiment for me because many people wouldn’t think of teaching PPC ads in a communication writing class. But I’m glad I did it because it gave my students a new perspective and pushed them beyond their boundaries. It pushed me beyond my boundaries as well.


First, I have a young daughter and love getting to spend time with her and watch her grow. Seeing the world through her eyes gives me a whole new perspective. It helps me stay young. Around campus I’m probably most known for my ‘mop dog,’ Scout. She’s an Alpine Italian Sheepdog, which is more commonly known as a Bergamasco. I love to hike and get outdoors with Scout. There is no greater way to clear one’s mind and really feel at peace than to be in nature.  I’m very fortunate that I live near the Appalachian Trail as well as the C&O Canal National Park, the Harpers Ferry National Park, the Antietam National Battlefield Park and a lot of other awe-inspiring places.  Lastly, I love reading, both fiction and nonfiction, and listening to podcasts. As the saying goes, “leaders are readers.” If I aspire to lead and coach my students, I myself must be a student of life. I love books and podcasts that explore the human condition and dive into why we do what we do. My favorite novelists are F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck. My favorite podcasts are Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Freakonomics, Hidden Brain and Revisionist History.


Congratulations, and thank you, Dr. Kushin!

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