Elaine P. Maimon, Ph.D., President, Governors State University
The enduring principle that has guided Dr. Elaine P. Maimon's career is her commitment to making higher education accessible to all and advancing the role of the university as a public square – a center for connecting the university with the larger community.
As its fifth president, Dr. Maimon leads Governors State University according to that principle as it continues to reinvent higher education for the twenty-first century. After years of research-based planning and preparation, GSU welcomed its first freshman class to campus in the fall of 2014. Many of these students reside in Prairie Place, the university’s first living-learning community. Three faculty members also live in Prairie Place, ensuring that students also have educational opportunities outside the classroom.
GSU’s Dual Degree Program, designed in partnerships with community colleges and supported by a major grant from the Kresge Foundation, creates a seamless pathway from the associate degree to the bachelor’s degree. These innovations position GSU as a higher education model, integrating students in a four-year undergraduate program with a significant population of transfer students and working adults; opening up opportunities for first-generation students to achieve "success by degrees"; and offering high quality master's programs and professional doctorates.
Dr. Maimon led GSU’s transformation, setting priorities and ensuring that all programs were based on years of research on student success. The result is a campus devoted to serving the student in myriad ways, including the social, financial, and academic advising and mentoring essential to degree completion.
Committed to transparency in the ongoing budget decisions necessary to implementing GSU's strategic plan, Strategy 2015, Dr. Maimon instituted the Planning and Budget Advisory Council, inviting university faculty, staff and students to advise on budget decisions from tuition-setting to revenue-sharing. Inclusive deliberations also mark GSU’s next five-year plan, Vision 2020.
Internationally recognized as an expert in the teaching of writing, Dr. Maimon was a pioneer in the Writing Across the Curriculum movement, which has changed the way instructors teach writing in universities, colleges and schools. Among her many publications, A Writer's Resource (4th edition, 2012) and The McGraw-Hill Handbook (3rd edition, 2012) are helping college students across the country to become independent writers and thinkers.
For three years (2011-14), she served as convener of the Council of Illinois Public University Presidents and Chancellors and is a current member of the Illinois statewide Complete College Task Force.
She is the recipient of numerous academic and community awards and honors, including: the Donna Shavlik Award for Women’s Leadership in Higher Education; the 2014 Chicagoland ATHENA Leadership Award; the 2014 Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Chi Lambda Chapter, Woman of Excellence in Education Award; the Award for Dedication in Educating Women, presented by Alumni of Saker School (Cameroon); an honorary degree from Prairie State College (Chicago Heights); selection as a 2014 Woman of Influence by Today’s Chicago Woman; a 2003 "Woman of Vision" by the Arizona Business Journal; the World Award from the Girls Scouts (Arizona Cactus Pine Council); YWCA Woman of Distinction Award (Metro-Phoenix); and, the Golden Heart of Business Award (Phoenix).
She is a nationally elected Board Member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and a Board Member of the Will County Center for Economic Development and of the Will County Community Foundation. In 2008, she was elected to The Chicago Network, a group of outstanding women leaders in academia, business, the arts, government and politics.
Prior to coming to GSU, she was the Chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage. She previously served as Provost (Chief Campus Officer) at Arizona State University West and Vice President of Arizona State University as a whole. She also held teaching and administrative posts at Haverford College, Arcadia University, Brown University and Queens College (CUNY). Arcadia University has established the Elaine P. Maimon Award in Writing in her honor.
A Philadelphia native, Dr. Maimon earned her bachelor's degree (magna cum laude) in English as a scholarship student at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. (with distinction) in English from the University of Pennsylvania.