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Meet Professor Sheila Martin
Meet Professor Sheila Martin


Director, Institute of Metropolitan Studies
Director, Population Research Center
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning

Sheila Martin implements the ideal: Let Knowledge Serve the City

B.A., Economics and Political Science, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, 1983 
M.A., International Studies, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1985 
Ph.D., Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 1992



  •  Director, Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies and Planning and Population Research Center
  • Professor, Urban Studies and Planning


Measurement in sustainable economic development; Role of human capital and innovation in regional economic development; Impact of growth on quality of life and sustainability; Importance of industry cluster connections in cluster performance; Impact of technology on productivity and regional economies; Methods for improving the use of data in public policy   


  • USP 517 Urban Economic Development Policy

Dissertation: The Effectiveness of State Technology Incentives: Evidence from the Machine Tool Industry. Advisor: Stanley R. Johnson



Office: Urban Center, room 780B 
Phone: 503-725-5170 
Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies web site 

Professor Sheila Martin is the Director of the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies and the Population Research Center, a service and research Institute in the College of Urban and Public Affairs at PSU. As IMS director, she serves as a portal to the University's knowledge resources for the community. Her research and teaching interests include economic development and technology economics and policy.

Dr. Martin’s work emphasizes regional partnerships and data-driven decision-making. In 2011, she helped launch Greater Portland Pulse, which enables organizations, residents, and local governments in the Portland region to measure and track social, environmental, and economic outcomes and create a regional conversation about how we can achieve desirable outcomes. In collaboration with university faculty around the state, Dr. Martin wrote two chapters for Toward One Oregon, which explores Oregon’s urban and rural history and assesses the current situation through political, economic, and demographic lenses. Dr. Martin’s chapters examined rural-urban interconnections in food and forestry clusters.

Martin has led two projects relating to the regional foodshed. The first was Planting Prosperity and Harvesting Health to evaluate the trends of the region's food system using data indicators to measure progress toward the region’s vision over time. The second was Growing Sustainable Portland Metropolitan Foodshed project to create an assessment of the Portland region’s sustainable agriculture system and provide tools and strategies for growers and local governments.

 Prior to joining PSU in 2004, Dr. Martin served as Governor Gary Locke's economic development advisor and worked as a Senior Economist at the Research Triangle Institute (RTI). While at RTI, Dr. Martin built a research program in technology economics and policy and researched the value of new innovation and the impact of technology in industry.

Dr. Martin serves on a number of committees related to economic development and urban planning. She is on the Strengthening Communities committee for the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, Metro’s Flexible Funds Task Force, and Oregon Innovation Council’s Audit Committee. She is also an Economic Development Quarterly Reviewer and is involved with the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership. Dr. Martin served as a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia during 2012-2013.

Recent Projects

BEST PART OF JOB: Partnering with community members and community organizations to bring information to policy makers and the public about important policy issues. 

FIVE WORDS TO DESCRIBE TEACHING: Practical, problem-solving, engaging, the need to see both sides of an issue, grounded 

VISION FOR URBAN AREAS: The benefits of urban areas are better distributed so that more people share in the benefits that cities bring. 

FAVORITE CITIES: Chicago, especially Michigan Avenue, because of the raw energy of the place. Eastside Industrial District because of the diversity of the work being done there. 

ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Differentiate yourself and identify a technical skill to focus on. 


INFLUENTIAL EXPERIENCE: As a research assistant, I traveled around the U.S interviewing laboratory directors about the factors that influence creativity and innovation. 

WHEN NOT TEACHING I... cook, bike, hike, read, travel, and spend time with my family.

HOPE TO MEET SOMEDAY: Joseph Schumpeter, who coined the term “Creative destruction” to describe market forces and the role of entrepreneurs.

NEXT VACATION: Glacier National Park.