University Park, IL,
15:40 PM

GSU President Maimon Responds to Pandemic-Inspired Gap Year

Governors State University President Elaine P. Maimon recently commended Illinois Board of Higher Education Chair John Atkinson on his recent Chicago Tribune opinion piece,encouraging students not to take a so-called academic gap year. In his piece, Atkinson discussed how the pandemic is causing students to consider gap years in their education, a move he and President Maimon consider a misstep.  

"John Atkinson is right on target in arguing that 2020-21 is exactly the wrong time for students to take a gap year. In addition to the points he makes, I'd like to suggest another significant reason for starting or continuing college study next year. It's important for students to be in a structured environment in the coming months when uncertainty and ambiguity will be dominating the world picture.

"Governors State University faculty and staff, along with our colleagues at other Illinois colleges and universities, are working 24/7 to ensure that next year's educational experiences will be of the highest quality--whether face-to-face, hybrid, remote--or some combination of the three. We are offering instruction in high demand skills--computer coding and cybersecurity, for example. Most important, 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. This is no time to rest on the couch.

"The world is not taking a gap year. On the contrary, next year is a time to prepare for a very different future."

John Atkinson's commentary, "The pandemic has new, current college students rethinking their plans. But beware of the gap year trap." can be read here.