Don Maas

As you can tell by looking at my photo, I'm in love with my wife Cheryl. We've now been married forty-three years which I tell my students is a record for California. Presently, I'm in my thirty-fifth year teaching at Cal Poly. I love my students and they seem to love what I teach them. While I tell my students to "never forget what I say," clearly they will. What they probably will never forget is how I treated them. Therefore, I try to create an environment in my classes that fosters a positive attitude and perception about learning. I try to do this using music, movement, humor, and cooperative learning activities. You'll have to ask my students if I'm successful. Since my father was a naval officer, we (mom, dad, and three brothers) moved around the country while I was growing up. I finished secondary school at Arcadia High School in California and then did my undergraduate work at UCLA. I initially majored in Engineering as math and science seemed easy for me in school. After a year and a half of engineering, I realized that I really wanted to pursue a career in which I could interact with people more. Therefore, I switched majors to Psychology and Sociology. One of the psych classes had us involved with the UCLA Psychology Clinic School. The school is primarily composed of students who are experiencing reading problems. Upon graduation from UCLA, I was asked to become a demonstration teacher for the school. As I look back, I'm not sure what I was demonstrating for observers looking behind the one-way mirrors. Wanting to learn more information about reading, I worked on my master's degree at USC while teaching at UCLA. One of my professors from USC called me one evening and asked if I'd like to get my doctorate? My response was "Are they giving those out?" I applied and received the NDEA Title IV Fellowship. I then married the love of my life, Cheryl, and we traveled to New York where I completed my doctorate in Reading Education. Upon graduation, I accepted a two-year Assistant Professor position to teach at the University of Guam. If you are not familiar with Guam's location, it is 1500 miles south of Japan. During the five years we ended up staying on Guam, our two eldest children, Nathan and Erika, were born. It was during this time I got very interested in scuba diving. Upon leaving Guam, I accepted a position to teach at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) where I have been ever since. Our third (and final) child Lee was born in San Luis Obispo. All three of our children are now married and have children of their own. Our oldest two live in town and attend Grace Church where we also worship. My grandchildren call me Daddygrand (which I love) and my wife Grammie. No doubt you now know more about me than you've ever wanted to know.

My Life

Favorite Quote

"That I might walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10

Friends describe me

patient, kind, encouraging, loyal, warm, good sense of humor

My hobbies

golf, scuba diving, and playing with grandkids

Fantasy dinner guests

Jesus, Paul, Joseph, and David (from Biblical times)

Best advice I ever received

Think more highly of others than yourself.

My undergrad alma mater


My worst subject in school


In college I drove

Ford Falcon

If I weren't a professor, I would

Be a marine biologist

Favorite books

Where the Sidewalk Ends; A Light in the Attic; In the Twinkling of an Eye

Favorite movies

A Man for All Seasons; It's a Wonderful Life; Goodbye Mr. Chips

Favorite city


Favorite coffee

I'm not a coffee drinker. I prefer tea.

Nobody knows I

love to sing

My latest accomplishment

Learned I'd be a grandparent for the eighth time.