Matthew Gross

Assistant Professor of Political Science

“I enjoy the opportunity to help my students learn about the political system and helping them form their own views about political issues.”

Political science is an interdisciplinary field, says Matt Gross.

“We borrow from history, economics, psychology, mathematics, sociology, and even biology,” he said. “I think it’s important for students to have a broad knowledge base.”

Gross tries to emphasize critical thinking and evaluating evidence.

“It’s important for students to be able to evaluate information coming from social media, news sources, pundits and elected officials,” he said. “Because of the proliferation of fake news (news that is false, not news with facts one simply doesn’t like), and frankly having elected officials who mislead and prevaricate, students need to be able to spot and disregard falsehood and weight legitimate evidence in favor of or in opposition to specific policies.”

In the classroom, Gross said he likes to talk about the logic behind polling and surveys, how research is conducted, what are legitimate sources of information, how to spot false information, why elected officials might behave in certain ways given their goals, and how to think about policy in terms of who benefits and who bears the costs of government action.

Gross received his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University. He earned his master of public administration degree and Ph.D. in political science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

He had served as a graduate assistant at Tennessee and became a full-time lecturer after receiving his Ph.D. He joined the Henderson faculty in 2013.

Gross has worked on various political campaigns and chaired a county political party in Tennessee.

He said he enjoys interacting with his students and finding new ways to challenge them. He also tries to mix some humor into each class.

From legislative or campaign staffer to policy analyst, a variety of jobs await political science majors.

“Many other jobs in political science require further education, and a degree in political science from Henderson State will help prepare them for graduate education or law school,” Gross said. “Indeed, many of our students go on to graduate school or law school.”

Gross said he couldn’t imagine himself in another vocation.

“As a professor, I have a chance to help students become better citizens, and in the course of research, I continue to deepen my understanding of political science,” he said.

In his spare time, Gross likes to tour breweries.

“I plan road trips and vacations around visiting breweries,” he said.

Social Sciences

Contact Info:

Degree and School:
Ph.D., Political Science, University of Tennessee

- Legislative politics and parties at both national and state levels

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