The College of Charleston has established the Martin Center for Mentorship in Communication, founded with an aim of developing leaders and cultivating relationships among students, educators and professionals.
The center, housed in the Department of Communication in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was made possible by a multi-year founding pledge by Thomas and Wanda Martin, according to a news release. The amount of the pledge was not disclosed.
The Martin Center’s mission is to “inspire and develop a future generation of leaders and mentors among today’s outstanding communication students, and to foster more robust relationships between those who educate and those who practice in the communications field.”
“We are thrilled to launch this new center focused on the critical importance of mentoring,” College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu said in the news release. “Mentors play a vital role in translating knowledge from the classroom into practical applications that help our graduates succeed. The Martin Center will add to this body of knowledge and help build bridges between academia and the communications practice. We appreciate the Martins’ generosity in providing the endowment to make this center an enduring resource at the College of Charleston.”
A longtime mentor at CofC, Tom Martin first became involved with the college when he joined the Department of Communication National Advisory Council in 2004, the news release said. He has served as the communication department’s executive-in-residence since 2007, when he retired from his post as senior vice president of corporate relations at ITT Corp., a global engineering company. In 2016, the Martins launched the Martin Scholars Program, an experiential learning and mentoring program for graduating seniors majoring in communication.
“During my 15 years at the college, I have seen the dramatic and positive impact that mentors have had with our students,” Tom Martin said in the release. “My career and life have been shaped in large part by mentors I had along the way, and I believe this is an area that can be further researched and taught, so that future mentoring efforts here and elsewhere can be even more effective. I’m excited that Wanda and I can help facilitate this important work.”
The Martin Scholars Program has 70 graduates now working in a variety of fields, including communications, marketing and education. It will be one of the signature programs of the new Martin Center. The center also will manage the Department of Communications Mentor-Protégé Program, which matches members of the department’s National Advisory Council and alumni of the college with communication students. In addition, the center will manage and further develop the department’s internship program. In the future, the center plans to develop online modules to help teach mentoring skills for both mentors and mentees. The center also will sponsor research into topics focused on effective mentoring, the release said.
Bethany Goodier, associate professor of communication and internship faculty coordinator for the Department of Communication, has been selected as the Martin Center’s first director. She will work with Tom Martin as well as other faculty and the department’s National Advisory Council to expand the center’s outreach at the college and in the broader field of communication.
“I am honored to be working alongside Mr. Martin, the advisory council and the faculty in the Department of Communication to direct the Martin Center for Mentorship in Communication,” Goodier said in the release. “I’ve seen firsthand how connecting students to the right mentor can change the course of their lives and I am excited to build on the foundation of our existing programs to expand our reach to include more students, alumni and community partners.”
The Martin Center will be officially launched at a dinner on March 29, at the college. The dinner is being held as part of the 20th anniversary of the department’s National Advisory Council, which was founded in 2003.