Faculty Member Jean Munn Retires
This spring, Associate Professor Dr. Jean Munn took a picture with her Introduction to the Profession class, the last she would teach as a faculty member of the College of Social Work before her retirement. She evoked, enjoying pizza and farewells," We met in the same classroom, room 1704, where I taught my first social work class at FSU. I loved teaching this class."
Joining the faculty of the FSU College of Social Work in 2006, Dr. Munn has taught courses and conducted research in social work, specializing in gerontology, for seventeen years. She recalls how much she enjoyed social work research, which allowed her to advocate for countless vulnerable populations by influencing and promoting evidence-based practice.
She looks back on her time at FSU and sees the significance most in the relationships she forged with fellow researchers and students. "Those relationships allowed me to participate in research projects, have superb guest speakers, and develop a model for interdisciplinary education.”
One such project was a five-year project examining long-term care facilities for Medicaid recipients with the help of a doctoral student at the time, Margaret Holland, who is now an assistant professor of social work at the University of Wyoming. "We were able to use data to assure that enrollees, often medically complex and financially strained, received quality services," Munn explained. "We insisted on looking at characteristics like gender and racial/ethnic background to determine whether the quality of care was equivalent across populations."
She also worked with colleagues at the FSU College of Medicine to develop an ongoing interprofessional immersion event bringing together students from social work, nursing, pharmacy, and medicine that now brings together more than 400 students each year.
Specializing in qualitative research, Dr. Munn described how satisfying it was to utilize interviewing skills and focus groups, which incorporate many social work skills, to improve outcomes for senior citizens further.
Dr. Munn was also a Hartford Gerontology Social Work Faculty Scholar, receiving a $100K grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation and Gerontological Association of America to investigate social worker involvement at the end of life for residents of long-term care.
In 2016, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study aging in the Czech Republic while teaching and mentoring doctoral students at Charles University. Her work allowed for a comparison of end-of-life experiences for older adults in nursing homes in the Czech Republic compared to those in the United States, identifying barriers and social worker experiences and interactions.
What brought her the most joy, though, was imparting these qualitative research skills and her passion for advocating for seniors to her social work students. "The most satisfying part of teaching is interacting with students committed to helping others," she said.
She oversaw the Aging/Gerontology Certificate, available for students and professionals at the College of Social Work. She celebrated the learning process with students as they became more adept at working with older adults and incorporating social work principles into practice.
With her transition to retirement, Dr. Munn will relocate to North Carolina to pursue a new vocation as a true-crime writer. "It will involve a lot of research, which I am looking forward to," she shared. "But I will miss that feeling of belonging to a respected university. Part of retirement involves changing one's identity. I always felt proud to say that I was on faculty at the FSU College of Social Work."
But it is not in her research or publications she wishes to be remembered. "I hope my legacy will not be here at FSU. I hope it will live in the hearts and minds of students I have been privileged to teach," she concluded.
To honor Dr. Jean Munn's work in aging/gerontology studies to support programs and students, donations can be made to the:
Gerontology Fund (F08614)
Donate Online: give.fsu.edu/gerontology
Donate by Mail:
325 West College Avenue, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Memo Line: F08614