Barbara E. Martinson

Professor, Design, Housing & Apparel

Barbara E. Martinson, with straight hair and glasses, smiles to the camera.

A three-time director of graduate studies and a popular advisor, Barbara Martinson has resculpted the landscape of her department, especially in the area of her specialty, graphic design.

Recognizing a. Ph.D. in graphic design as the wave of the future, she spearheaded the development of the degree, both in her own department and nationally.

"Dr. Martinson's deep understanding of the role of doctoral education within a field heavily focused on practice is an asset to the profession of graphic design and has positioned the University as a leader in this respect," says a former advisee.

An essential lesson passed on to me was the importance of acknowledgement. Acknowledging the important of students' work helps to propel creative thinking, and fosters a sense of ownership and freedom of thought.

Martinson and her colleagues established an MFA option as well. She also led the way for different disciplines to become formal tracks under the broader departmental graduate program. Because they now include the tracks, transcripts more accurately reflect students' preparation and increase their visibility.

After co-chairing a 2003 U of M conference, Martinson worked with the American Institute of Graphic Arts to found the Design Educators Community, a thriving national organization in support of design and designers.

Her leadership ability is rooted solidly in confidence, wisdom, and a calm nature.

"I owe Barbara a great deal for being prepared to take me on as a student, for her gentle guidance, and, perhaps most importantly, for letting me find my own voice in my research," notes a successful former sutdent.