William Allen Martin went to Southern Methodist University on the Max Clark Academic Scholarship and graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1970. After graduating in 1970, he went to Texas Christian University on the sociology department's fellowship, then in fall 1971, he began his doctoral work at UT Austin. Here he taught sociology but mainly worked as a research assistant and then research associate. He then worked for Arkansas State University from 1975 to 1977. In 1977, Martin began working at Texas Eastern University, what would become The University of Texas at Tyler, as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. He was the discipline coordinator for sociology (1978-2009), geography, and social work, and developed and gained approval for all the courses in geography and social works, as well as most of the sociology courses. Martin founded the Master of Science in Public Planning and Administration in 1981 and directed it until it became the Master of Public Administration in the mid-1990s. He headed the geography program, teaching World Regional Geography for 12 years and North American Geography for six years. He also created the Office of Sponsored Projects and ran that from 1984-1987. Martin taught at UT Tyler until his retirement in 2011 and was named Professor Emeritus of Sociology. During his time at UT Tyler Martin was active several professional organizations: The Texas Association of College Teachers, The American Association of University Professors, the UT Tyler Faculty Senate, the University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council, the American Sociological Association, the Population Association of America, and the Southwestern Sociological Association.
He has written many publications, mainly articles, including his American Journal of Sociology article in 1982 that analyzed immigrant enclaves, a new concept. Martin served as a manuscript reviewer for professional articles and books. Martin served as president of UT Tyler’s chapter of Texas Association of College Teachers for years, and was the state president of TACT. He became a senior fellow at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board where he first drafted his stance in opposition to broad use of distance education. By discussing this at many meetings, his ideas about intellectual property jelled and became well-known. Martin spent years successfully reforming the UT System’s intellectual property policy. Starting with his summer fellowship at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in 1991, Martin endeavored to bring distance education issues affecting faculty to the national stage. Beginning in his own backyard he worked with UT System lawyer Georgia Harper to revise the UT System policy on intellectual property allowing for complete ownership of instructor intellectual property. This policy spread throughout the nation and was adopted by a many universities and colleges. Martin gave presentations across the country at AAUP and TACT conferences and workshops and published articles educating his colleagues on the repercussions of distance education programs at the university level. Through presentations and workshops at the AAUP and in other venues, Martin’s policy was eventually adopted by perhaps all universities in the United States. He has long referred to this long process as a sociogram, an old term describing how word of mouth circulates.
In addition to teaching and serving in professional organizations Martin worked in the field of Sociology focusing on ethnic minorities and business development and urban communities. Martin published his textbook The Urban Community in 2004. He is also credited with creating two terms that are widely used, "urbanicity" and "ethnic enclaves". W. Allen Martin worked tirelessly to improve higher education for both students and faculty. In addition to his work with intellectual property rights he was a guardian of faculty tenure and worked to raise Texas public university faculty salaries.