School of Graduate Studies

2024 Graduate Teaching Award Presented to Dr. Gina Martin


May 3, 2024

Written by Kari Borne

On May 2, the 2024 Graduate Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Gina Martin, assistant professor in the Department of Counselor Education at UW-Whitewater. Martin was enthusiastically selected as the nominee from the College of Education and Professional Studies with support from students, colleagues and leaders.

At the core of Martin’s teaching philosophy is her commitment to building relationships with her students in the classroom and in supervisory roles.  “I have to be willing to demonstrate being vulnerable in order to invite students to feel vulnerable, too,” Martin said. “It is a value of mine to be genuine and transparent in the classroom, as I believe that builds credibility and builds relationships. It also models what happens within the counselor client relationship.”

Martin’s students recognize the ways she goes above and beyond for them.  Mason Batman, first-year graduate student in Counselor Education says she is one-of-a-kind. “She is the type of instructor who sticks with you as a student because her teaching goes beyond the textbook and transforms into real-world applications,” he said. Second year graduate student Grant Thompson has worked with Martin through his practicum since applying to the program. “She made me feel welcomed and cared for,” he said. “Two years later Dr. Martin still shows how much she cares for her advisees as she is always willing to help and wants her students to succeed.” Thompson valued Martin’s work ethic and intuition as his practicum supervisor. “Dr. Martin’s direct communication style has been vital in the development of trust as I always know she will tell me what I need to hear.”

Colleagues also identify Martin as a skilled and effective teacher. Jennifer Betters-Bubon, Counselor Education Department Chair, noted that Martin is committed to practicing the art of teaching, including sharing her expertise in online learning. “Gina applies multiple strategies to keep students engaged, including experiential role plays, inviting guest speakers from the field, and sharing relevant current and past counseling experiences,” Betters-Bubon said. During a class visitation, Brenda O’Beirne, Professor Emerita of Counselor Education, observed Martin’s passion for her students’ learning. “When difficult questions were asked regarding the content, Dr. Martin responded genuinely and directly,” O’Beirne wrote. “These are challenging topics for our novice counselors and she did excellent work with helping them know the important of a working knowledge of these ethical dilemmas and their resolution.”

Gina Martin earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and joined UW-Whitewater Faculty the same year. She is a national certified counselor and a licensed professional counselor in Illinois and Wisconsin. She teaches classes in Marriage and Family Counseling, Treatment of Mental Health Disorders, and Professional Practices and Ethics, and supervises students in clinical practicums.  She has found meaning and purpose in her role as an educator. “My teachers have been my mentors and have inspired me to give this gift of education to others,” she said. “My hope is to infuse that same sense of belonging to future counselors as well.”

First awarded in 2019 to Balaji Sankaranarayanan (Information Technology Supply Chain Management), the School of Graduate Studies presents the Graduate Teaching Award to an exceptional member of the graduate faculty who demonstrates innovative teaching approaches and real-life problem-solving techniques. Past recipients also include Carrie Merino (Counselor Education), Cody Marie Busch (Communication Sciences and Disorders), Amal Ibrahim (Communication) and Soroush Aslani (Management).

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