Dr. Green’s formal investiture as GSU president to be Friday

Ceremony follows an initial year hindered by COVID

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Dr. Cheryl Green (Photo Courtesy of GSU)

Nuha Abdessalam, Phoenix Staff Writer

After an initial, COVID-curtailed year as president, Dr. Cheryl Green will receive her formal investiture as the 6th president of Governor State University on this Friday, Sept. 17.  

All GSU students and staff are invited to attend the ceremony at the Center for Performing Arts which begins at 10 a.m. A reception will follow the ceremony.  

In addition to the ceremony and reception, an Investiture Gala will be held Friday evening at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $100, with dinner to follow at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please view the Gala invitation. 

Dr. Greene met with the Phoenix and discussed both her first year’s accomplishments under the pandemic restrictions and her vision of what the future has in store for GSU, accentuating her joy at being back on campus   

“Being on campus this year, seeing the community, engaging with them, sharing this historical moment with them, is something I’m terribly excited for, she said. “I delayed the ceremony to a time where I thought we could come together, and so that’s what we are preparing for.”  

Dr. Green said the lineup of dignitaries planning to participate at the ceremony is sure to bring greater attention to GSU. While reluctant to disclose details or the names of those participating, she said, “I am very excited about our speakers, some of the announcements, and some of the broadcasts that we will be sharing at that event.  

“It’s just an important time, because leadership means nothing without the body, and so who are you leading if you don’t have your intended respondents and participants, employees, and students involved.” 

The return of in-person learning for the Fall 2021 term sparked great excitement from Dr. Green when she arrived on campus for the start of the term. 

“There was a tremendous amount of anticipation,” she said, “because one of the things that I have been saying to people is, many people on my cabinet, leaderships on campus, chairs, deans, people who have been here for years, they know each other they have established relationships, I had to form those relationships, I was eager to come campus. 

“If you know anything about me, I like engaging with people, I like to talking to people, I like meeting people, I like getting to know all of the members of the campus community.”  

After 2.5 semesters of the development of effective, practical ways of implementing online learning and hybrid options for students, Dr. Green was asked if she believed online or hybrid education will continue to be an option for the future in all programs/concentrations at GSU? 

“I think that hybrid learning allows both to materialize, both to be productive,” she responded. “It’s actually an ideal strategy, because students can come to the traditional classroom, see their professors, see their fellow classmates, engage in discussion, but also they’re afforded the opportunity to be online, and benefit from all the conveniences of what online offers, because our students at GSU work full or part-time – an overwhelming number of them – they have family, they have other commitments that they’re juggling in addition to college because the average student is 29 years old.”  

While the benefits of hybrid learning are not going unnoticed, Dr. Green said that the amount of online learning that will be available to GSU students in the future is going to be determined after a careful study of the data gathered from the previous semesters.  

“It has to be connected to the learning goals of that particular class,” she said. “Some of our clinical internships have to have an in-person lab component, we have to continue have to have in-person or face-to-face opportunities for students, but at the same time, I think we learned that we can do more online instruction than we have ever done before and that it would still be valuable, still be productive, still be effective.”  

Asked if the easing of travel restrictions meant that global opportunities for students with possible sister universities might still be in the works for GSU, Dr. Green responded: “Pandemic shifted travels for the campus community, but now that travel restrictions are easing, that has to be back on the forefront of where we focus at the university.  

“It’s critical to our mission, if we are preparing students to be competitive in the job market place, then we have to have an international or global reference, because I want students leaving GSU to be able to compete in any arena, not just the Chicago market, not just Illinois, not just the Midwest, but anywhere they aspire to work and live.”   

The pandemic hindered Dr. Green’s push to change GSU from a “hidden gem” to the “Jewel of the Southland.” She wants to get that drive back on track.  

“One of things I want to continue is the Jaguar Gems (started last year),” she said. “They highlight all the reasons why we should be proud of GSU, so not only is it something we can give  prospective students, and prospective employees. What I love about this it highlights our students, our athletes, our faculty, our accreditation, distinctions, and everything that makes GSU.”   

The Jaguar Gems booklet is available in the Marketing and Admissions departments, and also available to view here at Jaguar Gems, adding “this  provides another opportunity to share our successes and why we are such a great university.” 

 Dr. Green also pointed to a decision from the strategic enrollment planning committee that called for a complete redesign of the university’s website, “ensuring a way to distinguish ourselves in the market place and visibility.”  

That increased exposure should bring invitations for Dr. Green to speak to legislators, to elected officials, to school districts, alumni, various groups off campus.   

GSU has “great things to share and (it is) why we are the Jewel of the Southland,” she said, “and it’s been very well received in radio ads, TV ads, newspaper articles, all over the Southland, ads in Crain’s Chicago Business, and GSU is talked about and that will not change because we are all ambassadors of the university.”  

And Dr. Green wants to see a GSU Day at the Capitol.   

“Some departments have had their students by occupation go, but I would like the entire university to go,” she said. “I’m aware other universities in Illinois have a day at a Capitol, why isn’t GSU? 

“We have several distinguished alumni who work at the Capitol, and so that is an opportunity to interface with them, and I’ve asked government relations to be the point person to create that opportunity when we can all go.”