Women in Higher Education Highlight: Beth Kubitskey
By Rachel Renou | Published January 28, 2020
YPSILANTI - Chemistry is not always the most common background of a university educator and College of Education administrator, but the path to a leadership role in education became clear to Dr. Beth Kubitskey because of this unique background. Dr. Kubitskey, Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education current Associate Dean for Students and Curriculum, started her career with a pharmaceutical company but shortly after realized her passion was in teaching. Determined to start her new career, Dr. Kubitskey went on to receive her Masters of Physics Education at Eastern Michigan University. After graduation, she became a high school physics, math, and chemistry teacher until realizing her education journey was not over yet. Earning her Ph.D. in Teacher Education with a focus on professional development for science teachers from the University of Michigan allowed Dr. Kubitskey to return to EMU in her first faculty role in the Physics department. While in that role she specialized in the preparation of future science teachers. When the position of Associate Dean in the College of Education became available she realized her service experiences within the college, scholarship, and school work gave her skills that met the needs of the position.
Dr. Kubitskey has always felt good about her career transitions because instead of looking at the changes as just another statistic, the experiences helped her understand her passions.
“Except for my 5 years in secondary teaching, I have always pursued opportunities in areas where women are often under-represented. I was a chemistry major in my undergraduate program, an engineer, and a master’s student in physics. When I left my engineering position with the pharmaceutical company I became a statistics - an under-represented woman leaving a predominantly male field. But I didn’t leave engineering - I went to teaching. Then when I was teaching and decided to leave the classroom to raise my children I became the person who left teaching after 5 years. Again, I didn’t leave teaching, I went to raise my children. This made me realize that we have to be careful when generalizing choices. I feel my past experiences have primed me for a position of leadership.”
After playing a role in so many facets of education, Dr. Kubitskey has made it her mission to use her experience and share her skills with others. Past Chair of Michigan’s Deans/Directors and Representatives of Teacher Education Programs (DARTEP), current Chair-Elect and treasurer for the Michigan Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (MACTE), and current Chair for the American Association of Teacher Education (AACTE) Women in Leadership are just a few of the many organizations Dr. Kubitskey holds a significant role in. She aims to learn from other great leaders within these organizations to bring back valuable knowledge to the faculty and staff she works with at EMU. “A good leader in higher education is someone who can inspire, codify vision, and promote faculty and their work in scholarship, service, and, most importantly, teaching” (Kubitskey).
Dr. Kubitskey also believes that in her role, a higher education leader must inspire trust and be the visible presence both within and outside the institution. She can confidently say she has gained this trust amongst her colleagues because of the respect she feels at the COE and the immense amount of support and motivation they give her. “My office brings me professional joy. The staff in my office do amazing work and I hope my support and guidance contribute to their success” (Kubitskey).
Dr. Kubitskey continues her higher education career within the College of Education at EMU. As of January, 2020, she is the new acting Department Head of Leadership and Counseling. She will be working with faculty and staff as she continues to expand her leadership capabilities. Dr. Kubitskey looks at this position as an opportunity to gain experience with the everyday management of a department. She aims to develop a greater and deeper understanding of the work and research of professors, build the commitment to students in the department, and contribute to the program’s activities in a meaningful way.
Dr. Kubitskey and other physics teachers representing the Detroit Metropolitan Physics Teachers Association at the American Association of Physics Teachers at the 2009 summer conference.
Dr. Kubitskey is a great example of leadership at EMU who has risen above just another statistic. After notable accomplishments such as when her dissertation won the 2009 AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award and when Dean Polite invited me to be the keynote speaker at the COE Fall Conference, Dr. Kubitskey felt most proud that she was a woman in higher education making a way for other women to do so as well.
Another way Dr. Kubitskey is inspiring other women in her field is through the MI-ACE program. The MI-ACE organization matches individuals as a shadow mentee with mentor members also in the field of higher education. Currently, Dr. Kubitskey has been placed with her mentor, Dean Anita Welch, from Wayne State University’s College of Education. Dean Welch has played an active role in demonstrating leadership qualities and representing how to best support a team. Dr. Kubitskey looks forward to one day sharing the same advice and experience with a mentee of her own.
Dr. Mike Sayler, Dean of the College of Education at EMU said, “Beth is a tireless and dedicated educator and leader. Her wide network of contacts and experiences provide a unique service to the future teachers being prepared at EMU. She guides and supports the faculty as they move in new directions such as our re-envisioned elementary education program and the paraprofessional to special education teacher experimental program with the Washtenaw ISD. We could not do what we do in the college without her.”
The College of Education at Eastern Michigan provides a lifelong journey of learning, leadership development, and support that has helped over 41,000 alumni since it was founded. Similar to Dr. Kubitskey, the wealth of support given helps those who enter the COE’s doors strive to be their best, and find the career path perfectly fit for their passions.
About The College of Education at Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, The College of Education (COE) at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) continues to be one of the largest producers of educational personnel in the nation. The COE includes a comprehensive variety of programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral program level. Non-degree and certifications are also offered through the COE as well. The COE includes departments for teacher education, special education, and leadership & counseling. All of the professional education programs offered by EMU’s COE are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and are also approved by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). The graduates the EMU produces are highly desired in the field, due to the strong reputation the COE has earned throughout their many established years. The COE has been recognized for its strong success rate by U.S. News and World Report’s: America’s Best Colleges.