Gloria Gibson, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Morgan State University (MSU), is ending her time as provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at the end of May and will assume her position as president of Northeastern Illinois University (NIU) effective June 1, 2018.
She explained how higher education allowed her to be transformative and has influenced her stay over the years.
“I love higher education; I believe that it is certainly my passion and calling… it’s what I love to do,” said Gibson.
She also said higher education gave her the opportunity to give back and plant seeds in students’ lives. Thus, representing a way to make a difference through academia and creating a pivotal change.
“Higher education makes a way for me to give back, encourage and empower,” said Gibson. “I absolutely love to see the transition of students from freshmen to hopefully four or five or six years later and to see them walk across the stage as different people,” she added.
Gibson got her start in education as a public-school music teacher after obtaining a bachelors and master’s degree in music education. After serving five years as public-school music teacher, Gibson wanted to learn more about African American music and culture.
She then got her doctorate in ethnomusicology in the black diaspora, with a minor in African studies at Indiana University. Gibson wanted to gain a better understanding of her own identity after not having this experience in undergrad.
After receiving her doctorate at Indiana University, Gibson became a faculty member serving in numerous administrative positions then served as associate vice chancellor for multicultural affairs. In this position, Gibson was responsible for providing diversity in education.
Leaving her 14-year position as associate vice chancellor for multicultural affairs, she transitioned to Arkansas University as dean of humanities. Five years later, Gibson became provost at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) for another five years. While at UNI, she was responsible for recruiting the highest number of African American faculty.
With eagerness to continue in higher education but with a new experience, Gibson became provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Morgan in Jan, 2015.
“Morgan was my first HBCU (historically black college and university) and it was exciting to see African American students and see African American students in majors like engineering or architecture,” said Gibson.
She explained that the leadership of David Wilson, president of MSU, further drawn her to accept the position at Morgan.
While at Morgan, Gibson provided numerous initiatives, such as, more of online degree programs for the Master of Business Administration, Master of Social Work and other certificate programs.
She also aided in creating a bachelor’s of science in liberal studies program, which was developed for returning undergraduate students to finish and get their degree while using credits from previous years. This program is offered online or in a classroom setting.
Gibson also oversaw the establishment of the center for excellence in teaching and learning. It opened in May 2017, for faculty to enhance their teaching styles and gain new techniques to help students learn.
Other initiatives include an appointment promotion and tenure policy. This policy hires and promotes tenure, which allows professors of practice to achieve a higher level status in a profession or apply for higher positions of experience.
“This is for our students to interact and learn from professionals, who are doing the job that students ultimately want,” said Gibson.
The renovation of the office of student disability support services now located in the library and professional development fund for faculty to get money for conferences and other aspects for progression in their field of study.
During her three years and many effective initiatives, Gibson is happy to return to her home and be closer to her family in Illinois. She will serve as the first African American female president at NIU.
“This is a different opportunity to have [in] a leadership position as a presidency because I feel that it is important for women to have those type of positions,” said Gibson. “I can make a difference and it’s a challenge that I am ready for,” she added.