Dr. Matthew Jackson Hired as Dean of the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics

January 27, 2022 Mary Burke

Dr. Matthew Jackson has been hired as the Dean of the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics at Hardin-Simmons University. His appointment will begin in June 2022.

Dr. Matthew Jackson

Dr. Jackson comes to HSU from West Texas A&M University where he currently serves as the Associate Dean of Engineering and is the Bell Helicopter Professor of Mechanical Engineering. On what drew him to HSU, Dr. Jackson said, “I am truly excited by the prospect of joining a faith-based institution that holds firmly to a Christian mission. I have always viewed my calling in higher education as a ministry.”

Dr. Jackson will also serve as the inaugural Director of Engineering at HSU. Launching in the fall of 2023, this new program will focus on mechanical engineering and engineering technology. “Matt brings with him a stellar teaching record. He is already working closely with our construction team regarding the renovation of Abilene Hall and the construction of the engineering lab,” noted Dr. Chris McNair, Provost and Chief Academic Officer.

Originally built in 1948, Abilene Hall has been the powerhouse of the campus for classroom space. At present, however, Abilene Hall is a construction site. Under the guidance of Dr. Jackson, Abilene Hall is being retrofitted to house HSU’s future engineering program. An additional 7,000 square feet will be added to the building’s southern elevation, resulting in approximately 2,200 square feet per floor. The building will boast three distinct labs—a fabrication lab, a materials lab, and a thermal/fluids lab—to be used in study and research, by students and faculty alike.

Abilene Hall will provide the industry standard in all machinery and spaces. The building itself has been designed as a learning tool. Its industrial design will showcase exposed utilities and ceilings so students can see practical engineering encountered in everyday life. Lecture halls, classrooms, and makerspaces will be made adaptable to allow the building to evolve with technology.

Over the next few months, Dr. Jackson will be busy overseeing recruiting students and faculty for the engineering program and developing curriculum. “The mission of the program will be to provide an intimate and hands-on engineering education that is both technically proficient and socially minded. We will endeavor to go beyond making our students competent professionals, but to also make them responsible global citizens,” shared Dr. Jackson.

Matt, Jill, Audrey, Judah, Corbin, and Titus Jackson

When asked about his goals upon arriving, Dr. Jackson looks forward to building relationships and getting to know the people connected with HSU and the surrounding community. “The addition and development of an engineering program is challenging, but one with which I am intimately familiar and was also strongly drawn toward,” he said. “I believe that HSU is uniquely positioned both within Abilene and the surrounding region, as well as within the context of smaller faith-based institutions to see strong growth and make a significant impact.”

Abilene’s population will grow by six this summer, as Dr. Jackson will be joined by his wife, Jill, and their four children, Audrey, who will play tennis for HSU this fall, Judah, Corbin, and Titus.