Matthew Hora

Associate Professor

766 Educational Sciences

1025 W Johnson Street

Madison, WI 53706-1706

Hora, Matthew

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Matthew T. Hora is an Associate Professor of Adult and Higher Education in the Departments of Liberal Arts & Applied Studies (Division of Continuing Studies) and Education Policy Studies (School of Education) and is the Founding and current co-Director of the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT) at UW-Madison. His interdisciplinary work on active learning, organizational change, career development, college internships, and the nature of skills has brought a cultural and critical perspective to debates on two issues that are dominating the higher education landscape around the world – instructional reform and student employability. Courses taught by Dr. Hora include EDPOL202 “Education at Work” and EDPOL600 “Employability Policy and Practice,” and an online non-credit course (available via UW-Madison’s DCS and EdX) for postsecondary faculty and workplace trainers on teaching “21st century skills” from a cultural perspective.

Dr. Hora’s research program is informed by theory and method from cultural anthropology, the learning sciences, and sociology, and has been featured in a wide range of research papers, technical reports, and magazine articles published in outlets such as the Journal of the Learning Sciences, the American Educational Research Journal, Harvard Educational Review, and the Journal of Higher Education. In 2018 his book co-authored with Ross Benbow and Amanda Oleson – “Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work” – won the 2018 AAC&U Frederic W. Ness Award for the best book on liberal education, and this and other work has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Teen Vogue, and USA Today.

To support this research program and help launch the careers of graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and early career scholars, Dr. Hora has secured over $10 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Strada Education Network, and UW-Madison. Dr. Hora also serves as a board member of the National Academies Board on Higher Education and Workforce and is an Editor at the journals CBE-Life Sciences and Innovative Higher Education.


  • PhD Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012
  • MA Applied Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park, 2004
  • BA Literature, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1995

Select Publications

  • Hora, M. T. (2020). Hiring as cultural gatekeeping into occupational communities: implications for higher education and student employability. Higher Education, 79(2), 307-324.
  • Hora, M. T., Chen, Z., Parrott, E., & Her, P. (2020). Problematizing college internships: Exploring issues with access, program design, and developmental outcomes in three U.S. colleges. International Journal of Work Integrated Learning, 21(3), 235-252.
  • Hora, M. T., Newman, R. T., Hemp, R., Brandon, J., & Wu, Y. (2020). Re-framing student employability: From commodifying the self to supporting student, worker and societal well-being. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 52(1), 37-45.
  • Hora, M. T., Smolarek, B., Martin, K. N., & Scrivener, L. (2019). Exploring the situated and cultural aspects of communication in the professions: Implications for teaching, student employability, and equity in higher education. American Educational Research Journal, 56(6), 2221-2261.
  • Hora, M. T., & Blackburn-Cohen, C. (2018). Cultural capital at work: How cognitive and non-cognitive skills are taught, trained, and rewarded in a Chinese technical college. Community College Review, 46(4), 388-416.
  • Benbow, R., & Hora, M. T. (2018). Reconsidering college student employability: A cultural analysis of educator and employer conceptions of workplace skills. Harvard Educational Review, 88(4), 483-515.
  • Hora, M. T., Oleson, A., & Benbow, R. (2016). Beyond the skills gap: Educating college students for life and work. Boston, MA: Harvard Education Press.
  • Hora, M. T. (2016). Navigating the problem space of academic work. AERA Open, 2(1), 1-19.
  • Hora, M. T., & Ferrare, J. (2013). Instructional systems of practice: A multi-dimensional analysis of math and science undergraduate course planning and classroom teaching. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 22(2), 212-257.
  • Hora, M. T., & Millar, S. (2011). Building education partnerships: Navigating diverse cultural contexts to turn challenge into promise. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publications.

Select Presentations

  • Hora, M. T. (2020, March). Improving access to internship opportunities: Insights from a study on obstacles to internship participation. presented at the 36th Annual – Wisconsin Technical College Information Technology Faculty and Administrators Conference, Madison, WI.
  • Hora, M. T. (2020, January). Why culture and the disciplines are essential for teaching “soft” skills to college students. presented at the Career Pathways Initiative.
  • Hora, M. T. (2019, December). Building and sustaining stakeholder partnerships in Wisconsin: Lessons from the New Skills for Youth grant. presented at the ACP/Pathways Education-Business Partnerships Conference.
  • Hora, M. T. (2019, October). Why culture and the disciplines are essential for teaching “soft” skills to college students. presented at the The Ohio State University Sesquicentennial Academic Summit Reimagining Teaching and Learning, Columbus, OH.
  • Hora, M. T. (2019, April). What do we know about college internships? Insights from researchers and practitioners on challenges, opportunities, and implications for equity. presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON.
  • Hora, M. T., Benbow, R., Zwickl, K., & Martin, K. (2018, November). Exploring the cultural and situational features of communication skills in the nursing profession: Implications for higher education. presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA.
  • Hora, M. T., & Blackburn Cohen, C. (2018, April). Cultural capital at work: How cognitive and non-cognitive skills are taught, trained and rewarded in a Chinese technical college. presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
  • Hora, M. T., & Benbow, R. (2018, January). How educator-employer social networks and cross-sector partnerships impact the teaching and training of non-cognitive skills. presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Hora, M. T., Berret, D., Van Noy, M., & Zwickl, B. (2016, November). Exploring the role of public higher education in a career-minded world: Three descriptive studies of higher education – workforce relations that unpack the “Skills Gap” narrative. presented at the Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Meeting, Columbus. OH.
  • Hora, M. T., & Benbow, R. (2016, November). Postsecondary education and the ‘Skills Gap’ in Wisconsin: An investigation of the cultural nature of valued workforce skills. presented at the Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Meeting, Columbus. OH.

Select Awards and Honors

  • Frederic W. Ness Book Award, Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2018
  • Excellence in Professional-Scholarly Publication, Jerome L. Neuner Award, 2016
  • Emerging Interfaces Award, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 2012