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Administrative/Professional Spotlight: Ron Gifford

man standing next to canoe

Ron Gifford, A/P Council chair and assistant chair for the Department of History, enjoying time on the water.

Every month the Administrative/Professional (A/P) Council hopes to highlight an A/P staff member through a series of questions as another way for the Illinois State community to connect. This month readers can get to know Ron Gifford, A/P Council chair and assistant chair for the Department of History.

As assistant chair for the Department of History, what are your job responsibilities?
I have three distinct but interrelated jobs. I teach 19th-century U.S. history courses, mostly concerning slavery, abolition, and the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction. I advise students in the history and history-social sciences teacher education majors, the African studies minor, the African-American studies minor, and the European studies minor. I also perform a variety of administrative duties related to the scheduling of classes, enrollment management, registration, curriculum development, and departmental awards.

How long have you been an employee at Illinois State?
I started working at Illinois State as an adjunct faculty member in 1997. I was here for two years before leaving for a year to finish my doctorate. I returned in 2000 as an instructional assistant professor and have been in my current role since 2005.

What do you love the most about working at Illinois State?
What I love most about ISU is the camaraderie I have found on the A/P Council. ISU’s A/Ps are a very supportive group!

What is one fact about yourself that might surprise other people?
I am learning how to play guitar, which is not an easy thing for a 50-year-old.

When you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
I spend time with my family, love to read, and love being outdoors.

What is your favorite spot on Illinois State’s campus?
I love that the Quad is an arboretum with every kind of tree native to Illinois.

What would you like other A/Ps to know about A/P Council?
A/P Council provides a unique way to break down some of the barriers we often run into on campus. When you work with people from every division, you truly understand we are all rowing together and regardless we do such different jobs, no one is more important than another. We succeed or fail together.

And just for fun, what is your favorite quote and why?
My favorite quotation comes from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” After four years of a bloody Civil War, Lincoln understood that conflict, while sometimes necessary, should always be pursued with peace, equity, and justice in mind if it was to ultimately benefit humanity.