Adjunct faculty reach milestone years

The construction on campus canceled the faculty summer meeting, which usually recognizes the adjunct faculty who reached milestone years teaching at MCCC.

Brenda Kraus said a friend called her and told her about a French teaching position at MCCC. She said the job was hers if she wanted it, and they would work around her schedule.

“So here I am 25 years later,” Kraus said.

When Kraus was in fourth grade, she had a French substitute teacher. The teacher taught the class French in addition to the other subjects.

Kraus said her fourth grade experience made her love French, and she knew she was going to include it in her career.

She double majored in French language and literature and European history.

She taught at high schools and private schools before MCCC.

Kraus said she has her students write down their goals for the class on the first day. During the semester, she helps them meet their goals.

“I here because I care about people. I want to help people not just teach them French but be available if they need someone to talk to,” Kraus said.

She said when she runs into her students who have continued in French at universities or other colleges they have also said they loved her class and said it was the foundation for their French career.

She also loves books, music, church, and traveling.

“I play the violin but not well,” Kraus said.

She teaches Sunday school at her church and advised a Christian group on campus called Oasis for many years, but now the group is inactive.

She has traveled to several French-speaking countries.

She has taken high school students to Quebec and Montreal, but she has never able to travel with the study abroad groups at MCCC.

She promotes the Global Studies degree since her class counts towards the degree.

 “I have my dream job and I still have family, friends, and church too,” Kraus said.

Daniel Stewart has taught art at MCCC for 25 years.

He teaches to a majority of students who are not pursuing art as a career.

He said many students come in nervous about art because they think it is not their thing.

“The main goal in my class is to make sure that everyone understands that art is not magic,” he said.

Art is for anyone who is willing to try. It is not only for the people who are naturally artistic, Stewart said.

Stewart was trained in school as a painter. He shows his paintings in galleries and sells them.

He started at MCCC right after grad school. He applied for an adjunct position and MCCC responded first. He was interviewed by Ted Vasser and has been teaching at the college ever since.

“I’ve been there long enough that it feels like home,” Stewart said.

Jenifer Miller has been teaching a criminal law class at MCCC for ten years.

In addition to teaching, she was also an attorney for 17 years and runs her own law office in Carleton, Michigan.

“I am proud of the fact that I have my own business, and I have been able to do that for ten years too,” Miller said.

She graduated from MCCC in 1992 with an Associate degree and then transferred to University of Toledo to get a Bachelors and law degree.

“I always wanted to come back to MCCC to teach, so when the criminal law class needed an instructor I applied right away,” Miller said.

Miller said she wants to give her students the same experience she had at the college.

“I enjoyed my two years here so much that I’m just hoping that I can be a role model for my students like my teachers were when I was here.”

She aims to get students excited about school and career goals.

In the past, she has offered students internships at her law office and a chance to work on real cases.

“I try to help them with the real world stuff,” Miller said. “I really enjoy it too because it helps me as well as them, so it’s a win-win.”

She also co advises the Criminal Justice Club on campus.

Miller is getting married soon, and she is proud to watch her future daughter follow in her footsteps by attending MCCC.

Tinola Mayfield has taught several Sociology classes, and she currently teaches online.

She graduated from University of Toledo with degrees in Sociology and Philosophy, and in August she obtained an MBA from The Ohio State University.

“Students are able to obtain a world class education here. I am committed to the notion of community colleges because I truly believe that community colleges allow students to explore academic possibilities and to gain access to the world of higher education without needing take our private loans and to go into insane amounts of debt,” Mayfield said.

She hopes she can teach her students to be critical thinkers by encouraging them to explore the relationship of self in the social world and understand how to apply the things they learned in class to real world events and circumstances.

She also wants to inspire curiosity, academic ownership and instill in students a love of learning.

“Community colleges really support learners at all levels. That is the beauty of the community college, there is a real sense of community,” Mayfield said.

In addition to teaching, she is an artist, cellist, and the mother of two sons. She also collects toy robots.

As an artist, she works in mixed media encaustic and does what is known as altered Barbie Art.

She started playing the cello as an adult, and she is determined to learn the Bach Cello Suites.

Gina Baker has taught several speech classes at MCCC for ten years.

She is not teaching this semester.

Diane Rosenthal has also taught at the college for ten years.