Name: Sheila Martin
Department: Economic Development and Community Engagement
Title: Vice President
Date You Joined APLU: October 1, 2018
What was your first real job? I’m not sure what counts as a real job. I’ve had some kind of job since I was very young, and there was a year in my early 20s when I filed 10 W-2 forms because I had had so many temporary and part-time jobs. After high school I rated auto insurance for the Hartford Insurance Company to save money for college.
What education or work experience had the greatest impact on you? The job that got me interested in research policy was working for Michael Crow, then at the University of Kentucky. I helped him interview laboratory directors about the factors that influenced the direction of their research. It was the first time I thought about how public policy and economic factors influence the problems that researchers focus on, and who pays attention to their results. It led me to a Ph.D. in Economics, with a focus on manufacturing technology and productivity.
What motivates you to work in higher education? As a faculty member at Portland State University, I loved seeing my students’ excitement as they realized that they could actually make a living doing impactful work in their communities. At APLU, I have the honor of working with university leaders that create those opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students in communities all over North America. We have incredible leverage to influence the future of society through the experiences we bring our students and our communities.
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve found about APLU? Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the environment to be so collegial. I was warned that Washington DC is cutthroat, competitive place, and that I’d have to watch my back. But APLU has been incredibly open and welcoming!