On November 30, Mario Martinez was installed as the Robert A. and Mildred Peronia Naslund School of Education Dean after arriving at the University of Redlands in July 2020. The ceremony included remarks from U of R Provost Kathy Ogren; Martinez's mentor, Scott L. Thomas, the John P. “Jack” Ellbogen Dean of the University of Wyoming’s College of Education; Director of the Office of Student Success Yessenia Yorgesen; and three School of Education students.
Here are some of Martinez's reflections, which were shared as part of his remarks and in the event's program.
Societies, governments, philosophers, and each one of us has struggled with an ancient tension: How do we achieve both individual and collective fulfillment? Plato and Socrates positioned this as addressing the tension between the individual and society. Martin Luther King Jr., informed by his comprehensive study of religious texts and secular philosophers, concluded that we must practice a daily death to self to selflessly serve others.
Professor Douglas Rushkoff, award-winning author and broadcaster, has a similar answer to resolve the tension between self and others that applies to the School of Education (SOE) at the University of Redlands: find the others. As we find others to serve, we find fulfillment within ourselves.
We endeavor to meet individual (School of Education) and collective (community) needs as an organization that is part of a larger whole. In fact, the School of Education’s raison d’etre is to find the others. This is why I came to Redlands. Finding the others—serving others, with a focus on justice—is part of who we are. Service to others is inherent in all our programs: leadership and higher education, teaching and learning, and counseling and human services. It is the motivation of our students, faculty, and staff to find the others.
The common guideposts we use in the School of Education are our vision, mission, and social and educational justice principles, which we collaboratively reconstructed during my first year as dean. These guideposts, which we refer to as our strategic framework, help assure we are all on the same playing field. Our framework starts with our vision, which is to inspire more justice-related dialogue and action. Living the vision starts with how we operate internally—how we interact with each other and handle conflict among ourselves.
Our journey is to learn and live together in a constantly changing world. Heraclitus once said, “You cannot step in the same river twice,” and indeed, the landscapes of the Inland Empire, the State of California, and the world are increasingly diverse and complex. Just when we arrive at answers, we are confronted with new and sometimes uncomfortable realities.
The value of belonging to the School of Education is that our collective endeavor to find the others informs my own journey as the person entrusted with leadership responsibility. It is through serving others that I hopefully learn through my individual failures and successes. Under my deanship, we will continue our 97-year history of finding the others, of learning and growing together, of owning the times we fall short, and amplifying even the smallest of victories. As we find the others, we internalize and acknowledge the value and worth of all people.