Matt Brent is a native of the Northern Neck of Virginia. Born and raised in Lancaster County, he now lives in Northumberland County right next door. He is an educator, husband, and father.
Matt currently serves as a Professor of History at Rappahannock Community College where he teaches courses in History, Political Science and Education. He also holds a Post-Graduate Professional Teaching License with endorsements in History & Social Sciences and Speech Communication. In addition to his full-time position at RCC, he occasionally teaches Dual Enrollment courses part time for various school divisions, including Lancaster, Essex, and Cumberland Counties. He has also previously taught for the University of Phoenix.
After graduating from Christopher Newport University in May 2004, Matt experienced the struggle that many college grads go through. Finding a full-time job was difficult. After a few part-time positions, the winds of luck blew in his direction, and he accepted a full-time teaching position at his alma mater, Lancaster High School, in August 2005. The first year, like that of many new teachers, was rather rough, but a great learning experience. The following year he was assigned to teach World History, and he was privileged to have a fabulous group of students who inspired him to continue as an educator.
As a result of a growing commitment to his students, Matt enrolled in a graduate program with Walden University, and completed an MSEd in Designing Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, the following year. Through his participation in distance learning, Matt saw the benefits of such programs, and he quickly became an advocate of using such methods to provide accessibility to education.
The following year the high school principal asked Matt to consider an additional opportunity. She desired to work with Rappahannock Community College to expand the dual enrollment offerings at the school. To do so, however, she needed qualified faculty, and thus she asked Matt, who agreed, to pursue additional graduate coursework in Political Science and History. Because of his dedication to progress, Matt started teaching Dual Enrollment Government (PLS 211-212) in the fall of 2009, once again having the opportunity to teach former students from his 2nd year. In May of 2011, Matt completed his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies, concentrating in History & Political Science.
The experience and opportunity to teach courses through Rappahannock Community College at Lancaster High School certainly opened up opportunities. Matt began to adjunct at the college, and in the summer of 2012 he accepted a full-time position there where he continues to serve today. In continuing with a desire to achieve, Matt enrolled in a PhD program focusing on Leadership through the University of the Cumberlands, and he successfully defended his dissertation in April 2017 and graduated the next month.
Shortly after finishing his PhD, Matt was asked to serve as the interim academic dean on RCC’s Warsaw Campus for the 2017-18 academic year. During this time Matt overcame a variety of challenges, such as finding a qualified replacement for a full-time instructor who went out on leave and using teleconferencing technology to offer courses at off-site locations. As part of Matt’s responsibilities, he supervised the new prison-education program that had been instituted at Haynesville Correctional Center as a part of the 2nd Chance Pell Grant Experimental Initiative, a program he continues to support. He teaches History and Political Science courses to incarcerated students in the program, and he has advocated for the extension of educational opportunities to these students.
During his experience as interim dean, Matt observed the difficulty in finding qualified part-time faculty to teach various disciplines, including English, which is a discipline that is often to assumed to be over saturated. As a result of these observations, Matt sought to return to WNMU where he earned his MA to complete an additional graduate certificate in English. He earned the certificate in the summer of 2020.
Aside from his work in education, Matt is also involved with community service. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of the Northern Neck where he currently is in his 2nd term as President. He also serves as the administrator for the Capital District of Circle K International, a Kiwanis Service Leadership Program for college students. He works with student leaders from across Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.
In addition to his professional life, Matt is married to Tara, the 4-H Youth Development Agent for Lancaster & Northumberland County Cooperative Extension. Together they have two children, Reagan and Parker, and five cats, Cleo, Lil’ Bit, Clancy, Minty, and Zim.
I see that you are working on your PhD. at the University of the Cumberlands. I am interested in their Ed.D. program. Can you tell me how your journey has been while obtaining your goal? I am interested in knowing how rigorous their program is and how you like their class format. I believe that you attend class once a week online via live stream. What is the average course load like? Thank you for your input.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience in the program. It has a good feel to it, and I appreciate how flexible the instructors are. They know they’re dealing with working adults, and I respect them for that. The executive nature of the program is nice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not rigorous. I’m constantly reading and writing for the courses, and I like being able to apply the theories we’re covering in class to what’s happening in my workplace.
We do have classes each week. There are some, however, that do not have a synchronous class component, but most do. We use Blackboard Collaborate, which is a nice tool. I actually use it at the college where I work full-time. It’s nice because it helps form a sense of community among those in class.
As far as the average class load, it’s difficult to say. There are some classes that have several smaller projects, and some classes which have one large project. All of it has been manageable for me, however. I’m currently taking one course per 8 week session, and it hasn’t been difficult. I know others that are doing 2 per session while working full-time, but I don’t want to chance that. I like my pace.
I would highly recommend the program. The instructors are top notch, the tuition is affordable, and the 18 hour specialization block allows students to add some customization to the program. It’s definitely worth looking into.
I am considering enrolling in University of Cumberlands in the PhD Leadership course. It’s almost identical to the Ed.D. Have you taken the comps yet? I would hate to do 2 years work just to fail. Any information you can share would be helpful. Thanks.
My apologies for just catching your comment. I get a ton of spam on the site, and I didn’t see it mixed in. To answer your question, I have not taken the comprehensive exam yet. I am wrapping up my coursework this semester, and will take the comps soon. From what I have been told by colleagues, the best thing to do to prepare is to review the programs objectives and think about how each of the courses relates to those. I also understand there is a bit of Statistics on the exam as well, so I was encouraged to take the Stats course near the end of the program so that it was fresh in my mind. I took stats in the last term, and I think that will help.
Because it’s been two and a half months since your comment, I should also point out that the program is changing a little. When I began UC just had the EdD in Educational Leadership, but they began offering the PhD in Leadership. I switched to the new program, and it seems that now the PhD is actually shifting away from an education focus. Some of the courses are being slightly renamed and tweaked. Overall, it looks as if UC’s programs are growing, which is a good thing. I have been completely happy with it thus far!
I wanted to ask you, how long have you been in the program at Cumberlands?
My apologies for missing your comment. It was buried in spam, and I just found it. I started the program in January of 2014. I’m almost finished my 2nd year, and I should wrap up the major coursework this semester and start the dissertation process in January. I will state, however, that I did transfer in 15 credits of coursework from my 2nd masters degree, and that saved me some time.