By: LESLIE LESTISNKY
Upon entering Professor Tami Martinez’s office, you will notice black-and-white pictures of her four children she shares with husband, Jose. An inviting rug and many other decorative touches offer a warm welcome while also highlighting her professional nature.
Martinez majored in communications then began her career working as director of marketing for the Center for Intercultura lRelations. Martinez said through this role she, “learned a lot about cultural diversity.” She then became director of public relations at Andrews University. Martinez dealt with a lot of crisis communication, “the good, the bad and the ugly,” she said. While in that role, she found herself expecting twins. She wanted to utilize her education while continuing to build her career, but also wanted the flexibility to be a dedicated parent. She learned there was an opening to teach in the department of communications at Andrews University and that is how 12 years ago she “fell into teaching.”
Martinez started as an adjunct professor at IU South Bend in spring 2010. Shortly after, she was offered a position as coordinator of the public speaking course and has been in that role while teaching for the past two years.
Last spring, Professor Alec Hosterman was offered a tenure track just after completing his PhD and decided to pursue that opportunity. Martinez was asked by the dean if she would like to fill Hosterman’s position to serve as chair, which is how she arrived at her new position in the department. Martinez described her new role as “liaison between administration and faculty within the department.”
“I am here as a leadership role but very much as a supportive role,” Martinez said. “I am here to understand and listen to my faculty, to the students and what their needs are and also be aware of what the administration is working toward and bridge that gap if there is one.”
Martinez stated that her biggest challenge in this new position “will most likely be time and task management, trying not to get too caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the big picture.”
Martinez touched on the shaping of a new masters program within the communications department. She could not give a concrete start date, however, they hope to roll it out in fall 2015.
Martinez said what she enjoys most about working at IU South Bend is the people. The faculty, students are consistently helpful and friendly. She states, “the people at IUSB just seem to really like their jobs!” She goes on to say that what sets IU South Bend apart is there are so many non-traditional students that are balancing jobs, relationships and kids while caring for aging parents and grandchildren. She would like to offer this advice to those students, “Don’t give up, keep going, invest in yourself, just plow through and you will get it done!” She finds inspiration in these students.