Education Dean to Retire after 10 Years at Mercer, Distinguished Career in Higher Education


Dr. Carl R. Martray, dean of the Tift College of Education, will retire at the end of the academic year, capping a 10-year tenure that saw expansion of the College both in enrollment and program offerings. He led the creation of Tift's first Ph.D. programs, as well as accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). He was also named dean emeritus by the University's Board of Trustees.

“As dean of the College, his accomplishments and leadership are unparalleled,” said Dr. Al Stramiello, professor and director of the Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction program in Macon and Savannah. “Dean Martray was instrumental in helping the College become recognized by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and NCATE as a leader among educator preparation institutions. More importantly, the faculty and students are deeply appreciative of the compassion and support that Carl Martray has given us over the past 10 years. In my 37 years of higher education experience, I have never taught under a more effective dean.”

Since Dr. Martray arrived in 2003, the College has greatly expanded its program offerings, including three Ph.D. programs. Under his leadership the College established an educational leadership program, including Doctor of Philosophy and Education Specialist degrees and Master's in educational leadership and higher education leadership. The College was instrumental in designing the state's education standards for birth-through-5 education, while also launching its own degree program in early care and education. In addition, the College instituted a comprehensive tenure, promotion and annual-review process for faculty, including post-tenure evaluations. He also helped nearly double the number of faculty positions and, in the process, helped Mercer become the largest private preparer of teachers in Georgia.

Dr. Penny Elkins, senior vice president for enrollment management, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Dr. Martray since he arrived on campus – when he was simply a candidate. She was chair of teacher education at the time and was wowed by his vision.

“A lot of people don't know this, but prior to Carl's arrival, I was exploring other opportunities outside of Mercer,” Dr. Elkins said. “I changed my mind when I met Carl. I knew he was coming in with strong leadership and a new vision for the college and that is exactly what we were looking for in a new dean.”

Dr. Elkins quickly rose through the ranks of the college and into University leadership and in leadership roles with the state, including chairing the Professional Standards Commission, which oversees educator preparation programs statewide. She credits Dean Martray's arrival as the catalyst for her success.

“He is the epitome of a servant leader. His leadership is steeped in humility, always putting others before himself,” Dr. Elkins said. “He has great vision, bolstered by quiet strength. He used that vision and creativity at a time when Tift had just been renamed and was new in its journey. Though at the time we were known in the state for our teacher preparation, we did not have educational leadership programs or a wide array of advanced degrees. Now we are known throughout the state not only for teacher preparation, but for educational leadership as well.”

Prior to joining Mercer, Dr. Martray served as dean of the College of Education and Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi, a position he held since 1998. Prior to joining USM, he spent 27 years at Western Kentucky University, where he began as assistant professor in 1972. He spent his last eight years at WKU as dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. Both institutions are the largest preparers of professional educators in their respective states.