Member Spotlight: Beth Kubitskey
AACTE’s Member Spotlight features an individual from a member institution, highlighting how their work makes a difference in classrooms across the country. Nominate yourself or another member by providing a response to the following questions and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Beth Kubitskey …
Current Position: Dean, School of Education and Human Services, University of Michigan-Flint
Number of years in your position: 3 months
Alma Mater(s): Ph.D. educational studies – teacher education, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; M.S. physics education, Eastern Michigan University; B.S. chemistry, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Hometown: Milford, MI
- How long have you been a member of AACTE?
I have been an active member of AACTE since 2007.
- Why did you join AACTE?
In 2007, I submitted my dissertation for the AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award and was fortunate enough to win. That was my first AACTE Conference. I was impressed with how the presentations represented high quality research that was applicable to the work I was doing in preparing teachers. It was where scholarship and practice met, and I loved it.
- Why did you decide to enter the field of educator preparation?
Paths are complicated. I have a B.S. in Chemistry and went to work for a pharmaceutical company. Less than 6 months in, I knew it wasn’t for me and I wanted to be a teacher. I enrolled in the master’s in physics education program with a teaching graduate assistantship at Eastern Michigan University that allowed me to earn my teaching certificate. One of my responsibilities was teaching lab for the rising elementary teachers. After teaching high school physics, mathematics, and physical science, I took maternity leave and decided to teach part time at EMU where I fell in love with teacher preparation. At the encouragement of my department head, I applied to the University of Michigan’s Ph.D. program in educational foundations. A faculty member read my application and my narrative and decided it better described someone interested in teacher education. I was then recruited for that program. When invited to a research meeting, I knew I was home. The lesson here is sometimes paths are not straight and you can have a variety of interests that coalesce eventually. Enjoy the journey.
- What’s been your favorite or most memorable moment of your career so far?
My most memorable moment is being welcomed as the dean of the School of Education and Human Services at the University of Michigan-Flint, where the colleagues including faculty, staff, and fellow administrators work together with a commitment to student learning and community.
- What’s one thing – educator preparation-related or not – you learned in the last month?
I have learned that these professional relationships we develop through AACTE and state affiliates is more than business. We are a community and we can depend on each other for personal as well as professional support.
- What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
I began working as dean at the School of Education and Human Services at the University of Michigan-Flint. I have amazing new colleagues. I would say a challenge is getting to know new people, but they made that easy. The challenge is learning how to support their endeavors while managing constraints on the school. I look forward to this challenge because I have amazing faculty doing great work to support community through developing teachers, school leaders and social workers and their projects, service, and scholarships.
- What advice would you give someone who is interested in working in this field?
Don’t be afraid of the little thing in the corner that is interesting to you. It might take you in an exciting direction. AACTE provides a great place for you to find those interests. Make sure and keep your eyes open. One colleague gave me good advice: if you go to a conference and see the same person in three or more sessions you go to, go up and introduce yourself. You probably have the same interests.
- Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by community; The faculty I have and do work with, the students I had, and the children and family we work with; the state partners in MACTE; and national partners in AACTE. Community is greater than the sum of its parts.
- What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My first job was as an engineer.
- What is your favorite part about being a member of AACTE?
AACTE members as well as AACTE staff have turned into colleagues and friends. In addition, these relationships can result in partnerships working toward a common goal. For example, when I was at Eastern Michigan University, I participated in the AACTE’s Network Improvement Community (NIC). I look forward to continued work with AACTE and the University of Michigan-Flint.