Apr 12, 2021
Elaine Maimon has been an executive leader at three public universities, including Governors State University, south of Chicago, where she served as president from 2007 until 2020. She’s a forceful advocate for the educational needs of “new majority” students: working adults, veterans, students from low-income backgrounds and communities of color. But unlike some other thought-leaders, she insists that these students—like all undergraduates—need and deserve an education that integrates the arts and humanities, civic engagement, and meaningful preparation for work. At Governors State, Maimon led a series of curricular and institutional changes that modeled this vision, even as the university faced the Great Recession, a budget-cutting debacle in the Illinois higher-ed system, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this conversation, we talk about the needs of new-majority students, the imperative of melding liberal and career-oriented learning, and how to move “from triage to transformation,” as Maimon puts it, in the face of crisis.
Elaine Maimon’s book, Leading Academic Change: Vision, Strategy, Transformation, offers a rich account of her experience and values as an academic change-maker. Her recent essay, “Higher Ed Will Never Be the Same Again,” touches on many of the themes of our conversation.
The Way Forward is a production of Bringing Theory to Practice; to learn more about our work, visit us at www.bttop.org. Send us your thoughts—and suggestions for future episodes—at email@example.com. The podcast is produced by Jabari Butler, and Dan Rudin composed our music.