Discover Your Island

Dr. Martin Ward

Outstanding Islanders

Photo of Dr. Martin Ward

Educator, Leader and Student Advocate

Dr. Martin “Marty” Ward knows the importance of looking for the good in others; not just for students, but for faculty as well. Ward, a Professor of Education in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is in his second stint as the Department Chair of Teacher Education. He is described by his peers as an inclusive leader, with a great sense of humor, who is complementary when a job is well done. He is also known for prioritizing the balance between a happy work and home life.

“If you want to have positive relationships with your co-workers or students, you need to feel good about yourself and be truly interested in other people,” said Ward.

Ward has always had a strong admiration for the teaching profession. He grew up in Kansas in a home where his father was a university professor and his mother was a high school teacher.

“When it came time to declare a college major, the choice was an easy one,” said Ward.

Ward began his teaching career at Nickerson High School in Kansas, where he spent seven years as a special education teacher and counselor, and coached tennis and basketball. He then worked at Bethel College in central Kansas for 14 years before finally coming to the Island University in 1999.

“Moving to Texas has been a life enriching adventure,” said Ward. “When my wife and I came to Corpus Christi 17 years ago, we had been teaching at the high school and college level for more than 20 years, and it was a great life. But we always had the idea that we wanted a broader and bigger life experience, and in order to get that, you often have to step away, even from good stuff.”

Ward has been married to his wife, Carol, a local high school German and French teacher, for 33 years, and they have two adult sons, Jared and Ryan.

“We have dearly missed the family that we moved away from, but we see them often,” said Ward. “During our 17 years here, we are nearing 100 trips back to Kansas.”

Ward has won multiple awards and distinguished honors for his work, not only as an educator, but as a member of the community. He received a Habitat for Humanity service award, numerous A&M-Corpus Christi teaching and service awards, a TAMU System Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence, and was named the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference “Coach of the Year” an impressive 20 times. In 2010, the newly-built Bethel College tennis courts were named the “Ward Tennis Center.”

Ward is also a nationally ranked tennis player. Among his most treasured experiences as a player are the six times he competed with his two sons in the United States Tennis Association Father & Son Clay Court National Championships held in Cincinnati.

“I’ve learned that whatever honors or recognition may come my way, it is best to focus on what lies ahead,” said Ward. “Dwelling in the past has limited value in meeting the challenges of each new day.”

Ward says that accepting a position at A&M-Corpus Christi was a great decision, both personally and professionally. He says his happiness and success on campus has much to do with his fulfilling relationships with his co-workers. When he’s not working, Ward enjoys playing tennis, travelling with Carol, hanging out with his dogs and cats, reading and being outside on a beautiful day.

“The decision to move from Kansas to South Texas has been a blessing,” he said. “We have had so many great opportunities and experiences in Corpus Christi.”