Dr. Bretton Kent, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Entomology will be retiring this semester.
Dr. Kent has a long and impressive history with UMD. Dr. Kent received his B.S. degree in 1973 from Oregon State University, a M.S. degree in Zoology from Oregon State, and his Ph.D. in 1981 from University of Maryland, College Park. The focus of his education was Zoology, a field he has continued to pursue throughout his career. After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Kent worked as a Research Affiliate here at the University of Maryland, while simultaneously initiating his role as Instructor. Initially appointed in the Department of Zoology, Dr. Kent was recruited to the Entomology Department in 1997, where he was appointed as Instructor and Director of Undergraduate Studies. In addition, since 2005, Dr. Kent has been actively involved in the Master of Chemical & Life Science Program, serving as Associate Director and Director of this online Masters Program.
Choose "Read More" to find out more about Dr. Kent's exceptional career.
Throughout the years, Dr. Kent has demonstrated excellence in teaching, advising, program development and in research. In addition to teaching required courses in the BSCI curriculum, Dr. Kent developed and became well known for his Biology of Extinct Animals (BSCI392) and Biology of Extinct Animals Laboratory (BSCI393) classes. These classes developed as a result of Dr. Kent's long-standing interest and expertise in paleobiology and the evolution of sharks and rays. His research has taken several directions and resulted in multiple research publications. One major line of investigation is carried out with a group of researchers through the Smithsonian investigating vertebrate fossils of Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. This research recently led to a monumental chapter authored by Dr. Kent in the Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology. Actually, this chapter was most of the entire issue, at more than 100 pages long, with high quality photography and text, this was essentially a Ph.D. Thesis on the topic of cartilaginous fishes of Calvert Cliffs.
Dr. Kent also works with a citizen-science project for high school students in a project known as PaleoQuest that involves students from different locations sorting fossils, which are then sent to Dr. Kent for analysis, engaging multiple undergraduate students who work with Dr. Kent to identify species. Dr. Kent further broadens the impact of his research through a number of outreach activities. He has given multiple invited lectures on his shark fossil work and is part of a Paleo Camp in Virginia and worked with the design team for production of a giant shark reconstruction for the National Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Kent is a dedicated advisor and administrator. He advises >70 undergraduate students per year in the BSCI program and Directs the Master of Chemical & Life Sciences Program (MCLFS), an online program designed for a feasible educational opportunity for biology and chemistry teachers who work full time. He organizes many facets of Entomology's participation in the large BSCI undergraduate program, including working with other members of the BSCI leadership group to oversee the curriculum and staffing of BSCI classes, representing our department at Undergraduate recruitment events, assisting with summer orientation, overseeing student teaching awards, coordinating and participating in the review of undergraduate students for departmental Cory Awards each semester, and more.
Dr. Kent will be missed. We expect and hope that he will apply for Emeritus status and continue to contribute to our department, college and university in the years to come. Please join me in wishing Dr. Kent all the best in the future. We will have an in-person celebration when we are able.