Full-Time Faculty (English)

Jonathan Brennan

Jonathan Brennan

(408) 855-5313
[email protected]
Office Location: SEC 248M

Dr. Jonathan Brennan has a Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, an EdD in Educational Leadership and Change (Fielding Graduate University), an M.A. in English (UC Berkeley) and an M.S. in Cognitive Psychology (USM). In the last 2 decades, he has focused his research on higher education leadership, best practices in non-cognitive learner competencies and the intersection between race, culture, equity and access to education.

Since 2006, he has served as Chair of the On Course National Conference, and is currently Editor of the On Course student success newsletter which has nearly 200,000 subscribers worldwide. He has facilitated workshops on improving student learning for over 6000 faculty from colleges and universities across North America in the last two decades. He has also delivered dozens of keynote presentations across the country.

Dr. Brennan is a faculty member (and former chair) of the English Department at Mission College in Santa Clara, California. He designed and coordinated an On Course Program at Mission College that significantly improved the retention and academic success rate of students in developmental English, Mathematics, Reading, and ESL. He has chaired the Student Success Committee as well as the Accreditation Committee, served as Vice President of the Academic Senate, Language Arts Division Chair, and teaches composition, African American and Native American literature, and life skills classes. He has served as director of an academic mentoring program for basic skills students, developed the first year seminar Learning Communities project, and directed research grants for the state of California’s Fund for Student Success and Fund for Instructional Improvement programs.

He was voted Faculty of the Year at Mission College in 1999-2000, and was awarded a NISOD Teaching Excellence Award. In 2005 he was awarded the Stanback-Stroud Diversity award from the California State Academic Senate, and in 2008 was awarded the California State Hayward Award for Excellence in Education.

Dr. Brennan has also presented on African-Native American Literature and Black Indian Subjectivity at the Modern Language Association and American Literature Association meetings, and published articles in the African American National Biography, A/B: Auto/Biography Studies and Oxford Companion to African American Literature.

His books include Mixed Race Literature (Stanford Press), When Br’er Rabbit Meets Coyote (African-Native American Literature) (University of Illinois Press), a student success textbook for high school students, Choosing a Good Road, and he is co-author of On Course: Strategies for Success in College, Career and Life. He has written five musicals, including adaptations of Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow.


  • Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley
  • M.A. in English, University of California, Berkeley
  • B.A. in English, University of California, Berkeley