Godfrey Gibbison joined Cal State San Marcos as the new dean of Extended Learning and Global Programs on Jan. 18, 2021. Most recently, he served as the interim dean of the Graduate School at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
Born and raised in Jamaica, Gibbison is a first-generation college graduate. He earned a bachelor’s in economics from the University of the West Indies, a master’s in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Tech.
His career in education has included numerous faculty and administrative roles, including dean of the School of Professional Studies at the College of Charleston and director of the School of Economic Development at Georgia Southern University.
Gibbison is a Fulbright Scholar and co-author of the book “Crime and Development: The Jamaican Experience.”
How does access to education change the trajectory for an individual?
Education has multiple generational impacts. I was the first person in my entire family who went to college. But the generations in my family after me who have gone on to a college education — and graduate degrees — has been extraordinary. Among my nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, I have a high school principal, a well-regarded journalist in Jamaica, a pharmacy tech, a medical doctor and so on. I met that grandniece four years ago and she said to me, “I’m a doctor because once you went to university my mom would never let up on me. She would always say, ‘Godfrey did it; everybody can do it.’ ”
What about the impact of education on the community?
If you look at the broader society, there are so many decisions that require an educated populace — issues that affect the day-to-day lives of people. You need to be able to think critically about them, evaluate them and make the conscious decision to participate. We know that economic development is directly linked to the quality of the labor force. When you have an educated talent pool, companies perform better, are more profitable and hire more people. The cycle is an upward spiral.
You earned your Ph.D. a little over 20 years ago. How do you continue to feed your curiosity?
I’ve been involved in leadership development over the last few years and I’m a big reader. Right now, I’m also trying to learn Portuguese. My husband, David, and I went to Portugal a couple of years ago, and we absolutely fell in love with everything about the place. We want to retire there, so I thought I would take the challenge and start to learn some Portuguese.
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