Six faculty members awarded promotions


Submitted by: Diane Bonfiglio

Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Professor of Psychology

Alayna Ross

Ashland University recently promoted six faculty members and offered Dr. Gwen Hullman tenure as well as a promotion to professor. 

During the most recent meeting of the Ashland University Board of Trustees, Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Dr. Nicholas Johnson, Dr. Amy Klinger, Dr. Jill Matthes-Baxter, Dr. Jackie Owens, in addition to Dr. Gwen Hullman, received promotions. 

Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, an Ashland native and AU Alumna, received a promotion from associate professor to professor of psychology. Bonfiglio has been a part of the Ashland University faculty since 2009 and currently teaches courses in introductory psychology, adolescence and health psychology.

Bonfligio is appreciative of the AU Board of Trustees for the promotion and the opportunity to stay in her hometown.

“I graduated from Ashland High School, Ashland University, and I am able to be near family,” Bonfiglio said. “A lot of the values of Ashland University align with my values, and it feels like home.”

Dr. Nicholas Johnson, who joined the Ashland faculty in 2015, received a promotion from assistant professor to associate professor of chemistry. Johnson credits his achievement to his department and his passion for teaching. 

“I have a great department that has supported me throughout my time here at AU,” he said. “I am excited to be promoted and continue to do what I love to do, which is teach students.”

Dr. Amy Klinger, director of the Educational Leadership Program and chair of the Doctoral Studies and Advanced Programs, was promoted from associate professor to professor. Klinger is one of the country’s foremost experts in school safety and security and serves as director of programs for the Educator’s School Safety Network, a national non-profit organization that specializes in education-based training and resources for violence prevention and crisis response in schools.

Dr. Jill Matthes-Baxter, serves as assessment coordinator and teaches courses on Pediatrics, Genetics and Nursing Concepts. Matthes-Baxter’s was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor of Nursing. When deciding to come to AU, Matthes-Baxter took into account the motto, “Accent on the Individual.”

“I love the small, community feel that Ashland has to offer,” Matthes-Baxter said. “A lot of hard work has gone into this and it is wonderful to celebrate with other faculty that feel like family.”

Dr. Jackie Owens was promoted from associate professor to professor. Owens is the director of AU’s RN-to-BSN program, and has given international, national and regional presentations on topics related to nursing education. Owens is also the Editor-in-Chief of OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing; scholarly journal of the American Nurses Association.

Owens came to Ashland as a professional instructor of nursing in 2003, long before AU had a College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She graduated in 2001 from the AU post licensure RN-to-BSN program and her experiences as a non-traditional student changed her life. When she was offered a position at AU, she was excited to work with the nursing faculty and teach nurses who shared many of the same challenges she faced, such as balancing work, studies and family.

“I was beyond thrilled for the opportunity to begin my career in nursing education at Ashland University because I knew firsthand the quality of the faculty and the post licensure nursing program,” Owens said. “I also appreciated the difference that the accent on the individual made in my decision to earn a BSN, and go on to graduate school for an MSN and eventually a PhD.” 

Dr. Gwen Hullman currently serves as chair of the Department of Communication Studies. Hullman was promoted from associate professor to professor and received tenure. She has received multiple teaching awards and nominations from the National Communication Association, the University of Nevada, Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University.