Governors State University - President

IL, University Park

Governors State University (GSU) is in many ways a model for public universities in today’s challenging higher education environment. Founded as an upper-division institution 50 years ago, in the current decade the University has converted to a full-fledged university that provides transformative undergraduate and graduate education to both traditional and adult learners. 

As the University celebrates 50 years of contributions to its students and the communities it serves, GSU seeks a president to build upon its record of success and to catalyze GSU’s ongoing evolution. 

Governors State’s mission and service territory are compelling. Serving a local and regional population that spans from Chicago’s South Side, to its south suburbs, to rural communities far beyond the city, GSU has throughout its history played a seminal role in improving the lives of its students. The University has long partnered with the region’s robust community colleges, and its innovative Dual Degree Program encourages students who start in the community college system to persist to attainment of a bachelor’s degree at GSU; 60% of GSU students transfer from community colleges. Fully 54% of GSU students are Pell eligible, and 27.5% are adults (age 30+) returning to complete a degree. The average age of a GSU student is 29. 

With local communities, nonprofit organizations and corporations enthusiastically engaged to provide experiential and service learning opportunities and employment, and with the City of Chicago and its robust philanthropic community literally on the University’s horizon, Governors State is exceptionally well positioned to thrive in the evolving environment of higher education. Building on this compelling base, to realize GSU’s full potential requires a president with a comprehensive understanding of higher education and the current circumstances of the sector. The successful president will galvanize the University community around a vision and a plan for its future, and will have the ability to lead the execution of that plan. The candidate of choice will focus unrelentingly on and will motivate both the University and external communities to contribute to student success. 

The University seeks a leader with intelligence, strategic acumen and a demonstrated commitment to inclusive excellence, who must possess the ability to engage and inspire internal and external stakeholders in such a manner that will ensure its success. To this end, GSU seeks a leader who will marshal the contributions of the entire community and will successfully engage partners and investors in current and innovative emerging programs and pedagogy to secure that success. An earned terminal degree and a record of teaching, scholarship and service commensurate with an appointment to the GSU faculty at the rank of professor is preferred. Leaders from within and outside higher education demonstrating a notable track record of success will also be considered. 

Throughout its history, Governors State University has responded to the needs of its students and communities with innovative approaches and the ability to evolve with the times. The new president will have the opportunity to build upon this enviable record and thus to thrive in the current competitive environment. 

GSU’s service territory includes some of the region’s most affluent communities as well as some of the most economically challenged. The student body reflects the area’s economic diversity, providing opportunities for the new president to engage in the local community and develop relationships and opportunities that benefit students and the region. The University’s new and still developing athletics program provides even more ways to attract and engage students and community members. 

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. For formal consideration, applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, names and contact information for at least five references and a cover letter in response to the opportunities and expectations described within the Leadership Profile to Confidentiality will be respected and references will not be contacted without informing the candidate. For optimal consideration, application materials should be received by February 3, 2020. 

Material that must be mailed may be sent to:

Governors State University
c/o WittKieffer
Attention: Dennis M. Barden, Sheila Murphy and Jeff Compher
2015 Spring Road, Suite 510
Oak Brook, IL 60523 

Confidential inquiries and questions may be directed to the WittKieffer consultants supporting this search at 630-575-6152. 

Governors State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer who complies with applicable federal and states and GSU policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. GSU prohibits discrimination or harassment which violates the law or which constitutes inappropriate or unprofessional limitation of employment opportunity or participation in University activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, veteran status, or marital status.