VP of Student Affairs has arrived

The Fall 2006 semester rolled in with a new Vice President of Student Affairs. Former Dean and Director of Counseling at Grambling State University (’96-’99) and Hurricane Katrina evacuee, Dr. Karen Martin, who has such a love for HBCUs, seized the opportunity to return to GSU and plans to shape things up. “I am a student center/advocate who wishes for a person who attends a HBCU,” Martin said. “I think it is a blessing for me to attend a HBCU. My experience was so good because I had great mentors and I want students to have an enriching and caring environment, but most important, I want them to graduate. I LOVE STUDENTS. Students keep you alive and on your toes. Their concerns are my concerns.” Martin was born in Chicago and lived in New Orleans. She attended and graduated from St. Joseph High School and then enrolled at Xavier, where she obtained a B.S. in Speech Pathology. Being eager for more knowledge, she then went on earn her masters in Audiology at Louisiana State University Medical Center. After graduation, Martin worked in the Kansas Higher Education Administration Department and the Cognate Student Personal Services. She then went on to work in the Kansas State University Minority Engineering Program. “Education is important, it can leave you from poor to well off,” she said. “Everyone needs some sort of schooling. We can all choose to go other places but HBCUs are needed and this is what I love.” The V.P. of Student Affairs is responsible for 13 units (Student Life): the band, career services, cheerleaders, student union, heath center, financial aid, intramural, judicial affairs, student government association, clubs and organizations, campus dining services, Foster- Johnson Health center, campus security, and the library. She will use her first three to six months to access all the units and determine what needs to be enhanced and revamped in its entirety. “Access is important because one needs to know what needs to be implemented and it provides a holistic environment where students can maximize opportunities for their educational experience,” Martin said. “We need to understand the broader impact at GSU and access the strategic plan.” Martin feels that there are certain attributes that students personnel professionals should have: Service oriented, honesty in all dealings, accountable, performance oriented, and to do everything with excellence. She calls them “Shape Up,” and they should guide you to do what’s right, instead of the “right” thing. “What’s in it is your job and you should want to do what everyone else wants to do for your child,” she said. “With out students there is no job, do it for the students.” Ever since Martin arrived she has had long days, some weekends and wanted a mentoring environment. She wants bigger and better things for the students at GSU. “People don’t mentor students,” Martin said. “Its not about us, we had our turn. On August 26, 2005, Martin was trying to get home from Kansas State University and was told that her flight was cancelled. She thought something was wrong and called home and found out about Hurricane Katrina. She convinced her mother to leave but her brother stayed and ended up being missing. “I just dropped to my knees,” said Martin. “I envisioned my brother going to sleep and waking up. September 4th, the day of her brother’s birthday, I prayed that God will find him.” People then raised money for Dr. Martin for her to have a car so she could drive to Atlanta to find her family. Her brother was found and he managed to save two out of the three of her dogs. Elmer Martin lost his eye and Atlas died. “1300 or more people died,” she said. “My heart bleeds for them.”