2/6/19 ASHLAND, Ohio – Eight Ashland University faculty and administrators were honored during the University’s 33rd annual Academic Mentor Awards recognition ceremony held Feb. 1. The program recognizes faculty whose academic leadership with regard to students extends beyond the classroom. The mentors, each nominated by an Ashland student, were presented an engraved silver plate at the event held in John C. Myers Convocation Center.
This year’s Mentor Awards were presented to the late Roger Beckett, awarded posthumously to his wife Danielle and daughter Sydney; Dr. Patrick Maloney, deputy director of the Ashbrook Program; Dr. James Chapple, professional instructor for field experience and internship placement coordinator and faculty mentor; Dr. Dennis Gruber, chair of Health Sciences Department and clinical assistant professor; Dr. Jackie Owens, associate professor of nursing, director of the RN to BSN track and chair of the CONHS curriculum committee; Dr. Juanita Reese Kline, chair of the nursing department, director of the traditional nursing program and associate professor of nursing; Jill Solis, adjunct clinical education instructor; and Sadie Zegarac, assistant director of Christian Ministry.
Friends, colleagues and family members attended the luncheon, joined by members of Ashland’s administration and Board of Trustees. Interim Provost Dr. Todd Marshall welcomed the guests and presided over the event, while also commending the award recipients and the students who nominated them. The awards were presented by Henry Smith, chairman of the academic affairs committee of the Board of Trustees; and President Dr. Carlos Campo provided remarks.
Students nominated faculty or staff members using the criteria of history of their relationship, how they benefited academically, how their personal development has been enhanced by their mentor and what impact the mentor has had on the student’s progress at the University. Selections were made by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Ashland University Board of Trustees from the information included in the nomination letters.
Students who submitted winning nominations included: Laura Hanna, a graduate of the Master of American History and Government Program from Dover, Ohio, nominating Beckett; Tyler MacQueen, a senior from Loudonville, Ohio, majoring in History, nominating Maloney; Catherine Berardi, a senior from North Olmsted, Ohio, majoring in Education/Intervention Specialist, nominating Chapple; Laura Girgash, a senior from Westlake, Ohio, majoring in Athletic Training, and Molly Rajewski, a senior from Saline, Mo., majoring in Athletic Training, both nominating Gruber; Mary Elizabeth Evans, a nursing graduate who nominated Owens; Alena Holmes, a senior nursing student who nominated Reese-Kline; Emily Cormish, a senior nursing student who nominated Solis; and Hannah Roble, a senior from Streetsboro, Ohio, majoring in Intervention Specialist, nominated Zegarac.
Beckett had served as executive director of the Ashbrook Center at AU since 2013 before passing away suddenly on Sept. 14, 2018. A 1996 graduate of AU and an Ashbrook Scholar, he joined the Ashbrook staff in 1997 and was pivotal in expanding Ashbrook into a national leader in history and civic education. He also led the effort to create Ashbrook’s Master of Arts degree in American History and Government as well as a variety of other programs for middle and high school teachers.
Gruber, chair for the health sciences department, clinical assistant professor and program director for athletic training, joined Ashland University in 2003. His areas of expertise include acute and chronic pain and qualitative research. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Youngstown State University, a Master of Science from Ohio University and an Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies from Georgia Southern University. He is a site visitor and review team member for CAATE and a certified athletic trainer.
Maloney joined the Ashbrook Center as senior director in January 2017, was named chief operating officer in August 2017 and now serves as deputy director. Since joining Ashbrook, he has overseen the day-to-day operations of the organization, managed its major programs and initiatives, developed Ashbrook’s strategic plan and worked to continue the Center’s national growth. A 2007 graduate of Hillsdale College, he is currently completing his thesis in AU’s Master of American History & Government (MAHG) program.
Chapple joined AU in 2003 and was the recipient of the Mentor Award in 2009. His areas of expertise include disabilities, working with children with disabilities and including children with disabilities in the general education classroom, while his primary areas of scholarship include post-secondary prison education and libraries as community centers. He received an Ed.D. in Leadership Studies from Ashland, an M.S. from Bowling Green State University, and B.S. from Miami University.
Solis joined Ashland University in 2017 and currently teaches Advance Simulation and Complex Care Clinicals through the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University and is working to complete her Master of Science in Nursing as a Nurse Practitioner.
Owens joined Ashland University faculty in 2003 and serves as associate professor of Nursing and a mentor for many graduate students pursuing careers in nursing education. She has been a certified nurse educator since 2012 and is experienced in curriculum development. Her research areas include Pedagogical Strategies, Editing/Student Publication, Virtual Worlds and Disaster Response. She has many journal and book publications related to online and face-to-face teaching strategies.
Reese Kline joined AU in 2010 and serves as associate professor of Nursing, chair of the Nursing Department and director of the Traditional Nursing Program. She served as the Academic Dean for MedCentral College of Nursing and was one of several faculty who helped transition the diploma nursing program at MedCentral to a four-year BSN program that became the College of Nursing and Health Sciences for Ashland University. She has been active with the Ohio League of Nursing and serves on their Board of Directors.She just finished a second term serving on the Ohio Board of Nursing's Nursing Education Advisory Council.
Zegarac graduated from Ashland University with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion in 2016. Upon graduation, she transitioned into a staff role and, as assistant director of the Office of Christian Ministry, she oversees The Well worshipping community, leadership development and the short-term missions program. Throughout her time at the university, she has led multiple mission trips to South Africa. She is pursuing a Master of Arts in Historical and Theological Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary.
In nominating the recipients of this year’s Mentor Awards, the students wrote one-page essays about their mentors. Passages from these essays were distributed at the luncheon.
Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###