by Susan Moore
All great things must come to an end, but for retiring WVU Parkersburg professor, Martha McGovern, great things have yet to come.
Dr. McGovern is teaching her last classes during the spring semester at WVU Parkersburg campus.
Dr. McGovern has touched the lives of many students, faculty and staff members of the college over the last ten and a half years. McGovern began her career at the college during the 2001 spring semester. Many of her fellow faculty members gathered on April 20 to wish her a fond farewell and to express their gratitude and admiration for such a great teacher.
Professor of Social Sciences, Robert Cordell said, “My dictionary has her picture beside the word lady.” Many others added that Dr. McGovern is a profound and ethical person and all are proud to have been her colleague.
“Your retirement has left a great mark on the college,” added Dr. Cindy Gissy, Education and Humanities division chair.
Dr. David Lancaster said of the departing professor, "She will be sadly missed. Dr. McGovern is a credit to our profession."
Dr. Gissy also praised McGovern for her teaching and the amount of her students that continue their education in graduate school.
"All was due to the foundation she laid through her teaching," Gissy said.
Life after retirement for Dr. McGovern will not be one of rest and relaxation. She has many goals that she would like to accomplish. Starting with cleaning out her office and organizing all the memories created over the years.
Another passion for the professor is writing poetry. She developed a love for writing from her grandmother.
“It is a way to know someone, to read their poetry,” McGovern said.
McGovern does not write for the general public, she does so for her family. Her poems are inspired by her family experiences and her poetry will help future generations to know her through reading her poetry.
Weaving will also play a major role in her retirement time. Dr. McGovern recently purchased a large loom and wants to learn the craft.
Retirement is “uncharted territory” for this busy teacher. She began her career in 1966 in a newly integrated East Cleveland.
“They were idealistic,” McGovern said, “They hoped to be a model integrated community.”
After leaving Cleveland, she realized that teaching others how to teach reading was where she felt her interest laid McGovern started her university teaching career at Georgia Southern University. Even though she loved the school, the heat was something she could stand. After attending a conference years prior in Marietta, Oh., McGovern decided that was where she wanted to live.
McGovern reviewed The Chronicle of Higher Education, looking for a job away from the heat of Georgia and what lie in front of her, was the job of her dreams. The job she wanted was available at WVU Parkersburg mixing both reading development education and teacher education. The rest is history. McGovern moved to the area and made it her home.
During her career, Dr. McGovern has worked with many students and thrived by empowering those she taught.
“I was able to empower them to do what they wanted,” McGovern said. “I was able to empower them to be the best teachers they could be.”
In advice given to her first year students, “Be reliable and do your assignments, have a good attitude by bettering yourself and have a sense of where you are.” McGovern said, “Time management is always an issue for new students, so be in control of your time. Lastly, take initiative. Truly want to show what you know and truly learn what you can.”
McGovern feels that not all students are able to learn in the form that material is presented and some should seek alternative methods.
“Go the extra mile to make it your own,” McGovern said, “Success takes grit and you want to weave into yourself.”
From all of the staff at The Chronicle, best wishes to Dr. Mcgovern.