Flexible Plans to Re-Open Underway
Dear Members of the GSU Campus Community,
2020 has been a year like no other. Thanks to all for your Jaguar characteristics of resilience and adaptability.
It has been inspiring to see the photos and videos of the many virtual graduation celebrations. We may have to respect physical distances, but GSU faculty, staff, and students have established new forms of closeness.
All of us are proud of the Student Senate’s constructive response to local and national issues of social justice. Clean-up efforts, talking circles, and an educated and comprehensive commitment to reform have defined Governors State University’s principled stand.
Now that the summer term is underway, please be assured that administration and faculty are making plans for fall—flexible plans because pandemic conditions change daily. Our first priority is the health and safety of GSU students and employees. You can also count on the highest quality instruction and advising, no matter what the delivery platform.
We expect to begin the fall semester as scheduled. GSU faculty and administration have done a course by course analysis to determine multiple ways of achieving academic goals. For those courses that specifically require face-to-face interactions, we are exploring ways to safely provide those experiences. We are also investigating blended formats that will integrate some face-to-face and some remote instruction. The courses that we offer online will demonstrate the creativity and research of the faculty and staff, who are working over the summer to make these courses robust and engaging.
We are expecting direction from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Governor’s Office, and the Illinois Department of Public Health on safety protocols for public universities. As soon as we have that information, we will inform the GSU community.
GSU will continue to provide opportunities for student employment. We are also committed to the fair, prompt distribution of federal funds designed to help students cope with pandemic challenges. Special recognition to Dean Corey Williams and to all those who got the CARES funding into students’ hands in record time.
For our students and prospective students, I’d like to offer some reasons to stay in school or to begin your university career during the next academic year. 2020-21 is exactly the wrong time to take a gap year. Governors State University will be providing a structured environment in the coming months when uncertainty and ambiguity will be dominating the world picture.
GSU faculty and staff are working hard to ensure that next year's educational experiences will be of the highest quality--whether face-to-face, blended, or remote. In all disciplines we will be continuing education in the necessities of the COVID and post-COVID world: living with ambiguity, working to address problems before they have clear definitions, and transforming what is learned in one context to situations that look very different. The world is not taking a gap year. On the contrary, next year is a time to prepare for an unpredictable future.
In closing, I wish to express my personal admiration for the Governors State University community. I’m proud to be a life-long Jaguar and know that the coming academic year will be characterized by commitment to principle and continuity.
Elaine P. Maimon, Ph.D.