Honoring Our 2020 Retirees
The Kent State Ashtabula community honors and celebrates the distinguished careers of Senior Lecturer Michael Brennan, RN, M.Ed., and Academic Services Coordinator Carol Jones, M.S., two valuable members of the campus who have each impacted student success for over three decades in education. They are honored for not only their years of service to the campus and its students, but as friends, colleagues and family.
Michael Brennan, RN, M.Ed.
First joining the Ashtabula Campus as an adjunct in 2004 before joining the staff full-time in 2007, Michael Brennan is retiring after nearly 50 years teaching science.
After earning both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Edinboro University, Brennan started his career teaching junior high science in Shaker Heights before joining the staff at Geneva High School where he taught high school science for 28 years. After serving as an adjunct faculty member for several years, he became a full-time lecturer at the start of the 2007-08 academic year. He was promoted to Associate Lecturer in 2012 and to Senior Lecturer in 2015.
His primary focus in recent years was Anatomy and Physiology, guiding students through the rigors and challenges of coursework with a substantial amount of medical and scientific terminology and vocabulary. His work with the students through this initial science course has been critical in the success of Kent State Ashtabula’s Allied Health Degree programs.
“Mike was extremely dedicated to his position and passionate about teaching, and will be difficult to replace,” said Senior Program Director for Nursing and Allied Health Julie Senita, Ph.D., MSN, RN. “He was also a nurse and had insight into the importance of anatomy and physiology and the role that it played in health care for nursing and allied health students. Mike was able to see the potential in each student that was in his classroom and found ways to challenge them to become their best. “
Brennan has also been actively involved in the campus’s school visit programs, conducting presentations in the cadaver lab to high school students and basic biology lessons to elementary students.
"Mike was a dedicated faculty member and he taught one of the most important classes (Anatomy and Physiology) our Nursing students take," said Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D. "Mike was instrumental in getting the cadaver lab up and running. Mike is also a registered nurse which helped him connect with our Nursing students - he knew first hand what they needed to know to be successful. Mike was also a good campus citizen, serving on a number of committees over the years. I want to thank Mike for his years of service and wish him all the best in retirement."
“After retiring from teaching high school in 2001, I missed it and jumped at the chance to join the faculty at Kent State Ashtabula,” Brennan said. “I’m so glad I did. I’ve enjoyed the Kent State Ashtabula family so much and will miss the students, staff, faculty - and the cadavers!”
Brennan is looking forward to spending more time with his four grandchildren and reading for pleasure in retirement, while also catching up on a few home improvement projects.
Carol Jones, M.S.
Carol Jones, who joined the Ashtabula campus as the Academic Services Coordinator in December of 2012, is wrapping up a 33-year career in higher education. Prior to spending the last seven-and-a-half years at Kent State Ashtabula, she spent 25 years at her alma mater, Thiel College, working in advising and academic support.
Jones brought several new initiatives to the university, including Supplemental Instruction and Boot Camps while also working on committees to develop the Wellness and International Fairs.
"Carol made a significant difference on the campus. She really improved the services we are providing to our students, which in turn helped to improve our retention rates," said Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D. "She is respected throughout the regional campus system—especially for her expertise in Supplemental Instruction. Carol is going to be missed by all, but especially by students and faculty. I want to thank Carol for making a difference and I wish Carol and Randy much happiness, good health and great adventures."
She was always passionate about working with young adults and helping them succeed. Jones worked with a wide spectrum of students toward academic success and graduation and developed a robust group of tutors and supplemental instruction leaders over the years. Many of those students have gone on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees, some becoming college professors and medical doctors.
“Carol's commitment to student success was unwavering and her passion to help students was contagious. She elevated the Academic Success Center to be a model of best practices in student support and she was often praised for her expertise,” added Amanda Avery Dolan, Ph.D., Director of Enrollment Management and Student Services. “She was also loved by her colleagues for her warmth and kindness. We were lucky to have Carol, and she will be greatly missed.”
Jones’s retirement plans include bike riding, gardening, kayaking, ukele and travel, including spending time with her two children, siblings and close friends. She and her husband are planning a cross-country bike trip from Florida to Alaska – or an international one from Sweden to Morocco – once the Covid-19 pandemic ends.
“Kent State Ashtabula is an incredibly special place,” Jones said. “No other place I’ve worked for has the open communication, the number of exception individuals and the strong relationships across the entire staff. I will miss our fabulous Student Services staff immensely. This is an amazing group of people, each with their individual talents working together to make magic happen on this campus. I will also miss the friends I’ve made at Kent State Ashtabula and colleagues at campuses throughout the Kent State system I’ve gotten to know. “