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Kirtland Announces Retirement of Associate Dean

Kirtland Community College is announcing the retirement of Associate Dean Nicholas Holton following more than thirty years of service.  During his tenure, Holton has served the institution in a multitude of capacities to impact the lives of thousands of college students, faculty and staff, and innumerable community partners and professional colleagues.

Retiring Associate Dean Nick Holton proudly shows the 2012 Michigan Campus Compact 2012 Campus-Community Partnership Award, which generated national recognition for Kirtland as an exemplary model of college/community partnerships.

Retiring Associate Dean Nick Holton proudly shows the 2012 Michigan Campus Compact 2012 Campus-Community Partnership Award, which generated national recognition for Kirtland as an exemplary model of college/community partnerships.

Holton joined Kirtland in 1981 as a part-time instructor of Political Science and was instrumental in developing curricular materials for the Introduction to American Government course.  He became a full-time math instructor in 1996 and transitioned to an administrative role in 2011, serving as the institution’s Interim Associate Dean for General Education and Transfer Programs.

In addition, Holton has served as Kirtland’s Service Learning Coordinator since 2002 and is responsible for the development and sustainability of a program designed to encourage students to improve communities through service, teamwork, community involvement and citizenship.  Kirtland’s most notable service learning success is the college’s partnership with the River House Shelter, a domestic abuse shelter located in Crawford County.  This collaborative and ongoing partnership earned Kirtland’s Service Learning Program the Michigan Campus Compact 2012 Campus-Community Partnership Award, generating national recognition as an exemplary model of college/community partnerships.

“The students I’ve been able to impact and the relationships I’ve developed are probably among my most meaningful experiences at Kirtland over the past three decades,” said Holton.  “It is an exceptional feeling of accomplishment to offer truly world class learning and service opportunities to students at a small, rural college like Kirtland.  I’ve been involved with providing learning opportunities that simply are not available at other rural colleges and something of which I am very, very proud.”

Recognized as a national and international conference speaker as well, Holton has presented as an expert on topics including Service Learning, Appreciative Inquiry, Engaging Economics in Rural Areas, Strategic Planning and a variety of curricular, program and teaching improvement technique programs.  “I am part of a great team that has won national and international recognition.  Presenting on these topics to fellow teaching colleagues across the country helps create opportunities for students in rural settings that generally aren’t available at the community college level.”

Holton received his Bachelors of Science (cum laude) from Western Michigan University, completed his Master of Arts in Mathematics at Central Michigan University in 1987, and was awarded a sabbatical leave for the summer semester of 2007 to work toward a Certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of New Hampshire.

By mutual agreement, Holton will complete his tenure as Associate Dean at the conclusion of the fall semester on December 20, 2013, but will continue to work for the institution as needed on special projects through June 30, 2014.

Annually, more than 3,000 students attend a variety of occupational, skilled trades, two-year and transfer degree programs at Kirtland’s locations near Roscommon, Kirtland-Gaylord, Kirtland-West Branch and in Tawas.  Kirtland also offers a wide range of online courses and degrees, all of which can be completed from home.

For additional information, please contact Sarah Madonna, Director of Public Information, at 989-275-5000 extension 242 or


  1. Deborah L. Smith says

    I first met Nick about 10 years ago when I asked him to approve a service learning project I had developed. I was an Americorps member working with Habitat for Humanity and wanted to document all the substandard housing in Roscommon County; and of course wanted college credits for doing so! He discouraged me saying it was too big a project. But he didn’t say no! We met at different times and he gave me wise instruction about how to work on my proposal and we eventually got it approved. The project took me a year to complete and I did get college credit. In addition, the documentation enabled grant money to come into the county to assist with the housing problems.

    Because of this working relationship and community service I was humbled to receive numerous awards that enabled me to complete my college degree without going into debt; many scholarships were awarded due to the community service involvement. Nick played a large part in all of that and was an excellent mentor.

    My final degree was a BSW from Madonna University but KCC was my home base and I am forever grateful to both Nick and KCC for giving me those opportunities. Service learning is vital to success in life and the future of our nation. Nick has always been outstanding in recognizing the importance and making it happen in the lives of students, faculty and the community.

    Thank you Nick Holton for all the years you have poured into your life’s passion. I know it will not end with your retirement. And thank you for the role you played in my life.

    Deborah Smith
    Child Protective Services Supervisor
    Mecosta-Osceola Department of Human Services