Beth Rubin named dean of Adult and Online Education

Current assistant provost at Miami (Ohio) University will assume new role on July 1

To Beth Rubin, there is nothing “non-traditional” about online or distance education. Outstanding online educational experiences come about the same way as outstanding classroom experiences — from active professors who guide students through well-designed curriculums. From cognitive presence and high-order thinking. Through
doing rather than simply watching or hearing.

“What I see is the opportunity to bring some of those best practices that may or may not be part of the process into the process here,” said Rubin, who will assume the role of Campbell University’s new Dean of Adult and Online Education this summer. “I want to help create systems that help our faculty develop outstanding online learning and help students achieve mastery of whatever their competencies are.”

Rubin comes to Campbell with a proven record of just that. A graduate of Cornell University, she earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in industrial/organization psychology from Michigan State University. For the past three years, she has been assistant provost for eLearning at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

At Miami, she led the school’s development of online courses and degree and certificate programs, and she developed a strategic plan to guide online, hybrid and face-to-face teaching with technology. She also developed metrics to track progress. In three years, she helped increase online and hybrid enrollments at Miami by 300 percent and developed and implemented faculty workshops and an annual faculty conference on teaching with technology.

Rubin also served as assistant professor and director of the online school at DePaul University in Chicago from 2006 to 2013. As director, she increased online course enrollments at DePaul from 35 to 58 percent and oversaw the transfer of online learning software to DePaul servers. She also initiated social media outreach at a time when few programs had caught on to that form of marketing.

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Mark Hammond said he’s both delighted and honored to welcome Rubin to Campbell.

“She brings a perfect combination of experience and enthusiasm, having established academic programs and learning processes that are considered to be best practices in online education with a continued passion for student learning that is independent of location or delivery mode,” Hammond said. “She is certain to enhance and expand upon the solid foundation laid by the first dean, Dr. John Roberson.”

Rubin said she chose to join Campbell because of the school’s emphasis on values and its desire to make the world a better place and help students achieve their potential. “That’s the same emphasis we’ll have in adult and online education at Campbell,” she said. “It’s about reaching people and giving them access to a phenomenal education. Our students want very high quality, regardless of place and time. I’m excited to help give them that.”

Although it offered its first online courses in the late 1990s, Campbell University officially launched its online degree programs in fall 2014. Today, Campbell Adult & Online Education (which includes distance learning at satellite campuses in Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and RTP) enrolls more than 1,200 students, and 500 of those students are enrolled in one of the University’s 20-plus online degree programs.

Rubin said more and more “traditional” students — those previously defined as 18-to-24-year-old college students who recently graduated high school and have yet to enter the workforce — have looked to online programs in recent years. While convenience still ranks high on the list of reasons students choose online, Rubin said there are a number of other important reasons students opt out of the classroom environment and choose their laptops or desktops.

“It’s wonderful for students who are shy or introverted. It’s wonderful for students for whom English is a second language,” Rubin said. “There are other students who need more time to process information. With online, that work that took three hours in a classroom on a single day can spread out across an entire week.”

She also said online education builds a “community of inquiry,” a term she’s published several articles on in her career. That model identifies and measures three principle elements — social, cognitive and teaching presences.

“Nobody ever developed a skill from watching a video or listening to a lecture,” Rubin said. “It’s all about taking information and practicing it. Providing feedback. Learning facts and adding that together. What I love is the opportunity in helping faculty create those kinds of learning experiences for students.”

Rubin’s appointment to dean of Adult and Online Education at Campbell is effective July 1.