The Board of Trustees of Essex County College (ECC) formally appointed Dr. Gale E. Gibson its seventh president and the second woman to lead the College in its 45-year history. A transformative leader in higher education for 20 years, she had been serving as the College’s Interim President since April 1, 2013. During her tenure as Interim President, the College applied for and was awarded over $24 million in grant funds.
“These grants will be used to fund initiatives that will increase student graduation and retention rates, major campus expansion projects, new partnerships promoting urban farming and hydroponics, and a host of initiatives that will contribute to the overall success of Essex County College students,” said Dr. Gibson. “I pledge that Essex County College will continue to be an innovative, data-driven, welcoming, and inclusive student-centered environment.”
Since Dr. Gibson became interim president, the College has initiated major capital projects on all three campuses, launched 100 percent online courses for the first time, and continued to hold tuition at the 2010-2011 rates.
“In addition to the substantive outcomes that Dr. Gibson successfully and strategically accomplished during her term as Interim President such as the Middle States reaffirmation of accreditation, renewal of seven collective bargaining agreements, the introduction of online learning, maintaining tuition at the 2010-2011 levels, and improving the College’s graduation rate, we must also look at the intangibles,” said Board Chair Calvin Souder, Esq. “This is a leader who connects here at Essex County College, who connects with the community and who connects with our statewide partners in higher education.”
Prior to serving as the College’s Interim President, Dr. Gibson previously served as Essex County College’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Chief Academic Officer. As Senior Vice President, Dr. Gibson was charged with providing strategic vision and leadership for the development, implementation, staffing, assessment, and grant funding initiatives for academic programs of the College. She was responsible for establishing and overseeing programs consistent with the College’s long-range strategic goals and objectives. In addition, she provided the College with direction and leadership in curricular affairs, planning, instruction, student and academic assessment, and the overall accreditation process.
A long-time advocate for implementing and integrating data-driven and evidence-based decision-making into an institution’s infrastructure, Dr. Gibson led the charge to bring the College into compliance with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s Standard 14 (Assessment of Student Learning); the compliance led the College to having the Commission reaffirm its accreditation in March 2013. As part of her strategy, she created a General Education Task Force to ensure that “Gen Ed” is properly assessed and integrated at both the course and program levels, and designed a curriculum mapping framework that received special commendation from Middle States.
Dr. Gibson came to Essex after serving as founding Dean of the College of Freshman Studies, and Professor in the Department of Student Affairs and Services, at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. She exemplified a strong student-centered perspective during her 16 years at Medgar Evers, where she oversaw nine departments critical to student retention, progression and graduation. She also worked in academic affairs and student success at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Gibson earned her Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Adult and Community College Education from North Carolina State University. She received a Master of Arts in Social Sciences and Counseling, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Binghamton University – State University of New York. In addition to her love of higher education, Dr. Gibson enjoys spending time with her fiancé and her two young sons, traveling and playing tennis.
“We transform lives, broaden learning and empower students to achieve their full potential,” Dr. Gibson said. “Our College community and graduates are change agents and leaders who contribute to the health, vitality and advancement of society.”