UHV professor nurtures passion for posterity of city

Marie Stern Plemons always puts children first.

As a University of Houston-Victoria professor of early childhood education, Plemons spearheaded efforts within the university and community to open the Children’s Discovery Museum and teamed up with students to create educational camps and summer programs, all while training the next generation of educators to carry forward her love of teaching to the classroom and beyond.

Marie Stern Plemons

Now on the heels of retirement, Plemons reflects on the past 29 years she has spent at UHV and her plans to continue giving children and their teachers opportunities to excel. In a student-centered environment, Plemons knows future educators must do their best to provide positive surroundings where learning is exciting and adventuresome.

“One of the lasting impressions I would like to leave with future educators is to strive earnestly to demonstrate the joy of learning,” Plemons said. “Children must come first in everything they do in the classroom.”

Plemons, originally from Rosenberg, joined UHV’s faculty in 1985 after stints teaching in the Victoria public school system and Victoria College. She completed her Master of Education at UHV and her doctorate at UH. She first taught at UHV as an adjunct instructor and later was offered a full-time position. Since then, she has built a reputation as a strong leader, volunteer and advocate for the community’s youngest and most precious residents.

She has served as an associate dean, academic chair and director of student teaching for the School of Education & Human Development. In 2000, Plemons won the university’s Enron Teaching Excellence Award.

“I feel as an educator I have the expertise to give back to the community – especially to the children – something that would be of value to them, strengthen their growth and development, and also lead to more age-appropriate learning,” Plemons said.

Over time, she has noticed an increase in educational opportunities and more value placed on education, especially for postsecondary students. With the increased interest from the state and the addition of freshmen and sophomores at UHV starting in fall 2010, postsecondary students have many options for learning.

Her former students include college instructors, principals, assistant principals, counselors, teachers from school districts in and around Victoria and the director of Golden Crescent Head Start.

“It’s so thrilling to see these professionals become leaders in their communities and provide the best opportunities for students to learn at every level in multiple settings,” she said.

The Faculty Feature is an online feature highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s four schools. To nominate a faculty member, email Paula Cobler , UHV director of marketing and communications, or call her at 361-570-4350

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.