Matt Toles ’97 - "Together, we find how best to navigate through the work, while I strive to show them how they can learn and grow.”

This article appeared in The Magazine of Dominican University (November 2019)

Adjunct instructors give back to their alma mater
Alumni continue relationship with Dominican by connecting with a new generation of students.

Dominican, like most universities, engages adjunct instructors with specific expertise and knowledge to complement the work of full-time faculty. Most adjunct instructors teach one or two classes per semester while maintaining full-time careers in the public or private sector. For those adjunct instructors who are Dominican alumni, returning to their alma mater is a way of continuing their relationship with the institution and carrying forward the traditions and values they were taught by the Dominican Sisters and faculty.

Matt Toles ’97 has juggled several roles over the past decade at Dominican, while working full time as a vice president at several Chicago area banks. With a degree from John Marshall Law School, he has taught a wide range of upper-level courses, including constitutional law and international law, as well as Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) seminars. He also has worked closely with David Dolenz, assistant professor of political science, to build and strengthen Dominican’s pre-law program and curriculum.

Toles helps students prepare for their LSAT exams, advises undergraduates interested in pre-law as a major, organizes visits to Illinois’ Appellate Court, and coordinates panel discussions with retired judges.

He can be a tough taskmaster. “Dominican’s culture of caring has remained remarkably consistent,” he says about his three decades of experience with the university. But he also insists on preparing his students for the rigor required of prospective legal careers.“

"The first few weeks of class are often tough, when they are learning to read the cases and write more effectively,” he said. But by week five, Toles enjoys seeing his students formulating thoughts and articulating persuasive arguments.

“Together, we find how best to navigate through the work, while I strive to show them how they can learn and grow,” Toles says. “I challenge and help them through some hard choices.”