Joel W. Martin, President

Joel Martin wearing blue suit and tie, in front of Main HallJoel W. Martin, Ph.D., is the 19th president of Wagner College. He also holds the rank of professor of religious studies.

Dr. Martin has a distinguished record of teaching, service, and leadership at colleges and universities large and small. He has a particular interest in connecting scholarly work with current social problems and needs. Most recently, he had served as provost and dean of the faculty at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., from 2014 until 2019.

Martin earned his bachelor’s degree at a liberal arts college, Birmingham-Southern. He holds a master’s in theological studies from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in the history of religions from Duke University. He began his academic career at Franklin and Marshall in 1988 as a professor and, later, chair of the religious studies department.

A noted expert on Native American religions, he is the author and editor of several books in this field, including Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World (Beacon Press, 1991), The Land Looks After Us: A History of Native American Religion (Oxford University Press, 2001), and Native Americans, Christianity, and the Reshaping of the American Religious Landscape, co-edited with Mark A. Nicholas (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

In 2000, he was named the Costo Endowed Chairholder in American Indian Affairs and professor at the University of California Riverside, one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation. He served as interim dean of UC Riverside’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences from 2004 to 2006, where he led successful efforts to recruit diverse faculty and improve student retention.

From 2006 to 2014, he held academic leadership positions at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a flagship research university. He served as dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, then as vice provost for academic personnel and dean of the faculty for the university. His accomplishments included improving the gender balance and diversity of the faculty, and strengthening the finances of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

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