Martha Kruse retires after 32 years; Will miss being surrounded by books, students

Martha Kruse

“I’d consider myself successful if students, the department, and the campus are better off – even to a tiny degree – for my having been here.”
– Martha Kruse

Name: Martha Kruse

Job Title: Associate Professor of English

Years at UNK: 32 years total. I began as a graduate assistant, then taught as an adjunct while attending UNL as a doctoral student. Then I joined the full-time lecturer ranks for a few years before moving onto the tenure track. So I’ve taught 26 years full-time.

Career Path: Graduate assistant, adjunct instructor, full-time lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor

Family: Husband, John Kruse; Son, Brian Kruse, and daughter, Bonnie Kruse, who are both UNK graduates. Two grandchildren and a third on the way.

Hobbies/Interests: Sewing, reading (especially children’s literature of the American frontier), making and collecting Christmas ornaments

Three words that describe your personality? Hard-working. Nice. Sensible

Share something about yourself that few people know? I’m interested in casino architecture and culture.

What do you like most about your job?  Helping students put together a course schedule, untangling any snags in their program. I also like being surrounded by books every day.

Biggest change you’ve seen at UNK since you started?  Kearney State College joined the NU system while I was in the Ph.D. program, so that change, of course, was huge. For me personally, a big change was moving many of my courses online.

What mentor has helped you the most in your career? All my colleagues have unwittingly served as mentors. I have learned something from every one of my colleagues in the English department and from great people across campus.

What is your favorite thing about UNK? The fact that I can walk to any building on campus within 15 minutes.

Where is your favorite place to visit on campus? The library!

Biggest challenge you faced in your time at UNK? Right now, I’m tempted to say my biggest challenge is cleaning out my office (files, books) while finishing the semester.

What qualities make someone successful in your position? The ability to set priorities. What absolutely needs to be done today? What can wait until tomorrow?

How do you measure success, in terms of your career? I’d consider myself successful if students, the department, and the campus are better off – even to a tiny degree – for my having been here.

Tell me about the time in your life at UNK when you worked the hardest? Every semester, I find myself thinking, “I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard.” Then that semester passes and a new one begins. So my answer (for now) would be Spring 2019.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently? I can’t think of anything. I was fortunate to be accepted into UNL’s doctoral program, then incredibly fortunate to be hired onto the tenure track. If I had changed anything, I might not be where I am today.

What is your fondest memory of UNK? Not to toot my own horn, but I’ll always remember getting the Pratt-Heins Award for service.