The first thing he does when you enter the dean’s office of health and human sciences is offer you a glass of water.
“He’s really friendly, very warm,” said Marri Richardson, senior health and exercise science major who works the front desk at Dean Jeff McCubbin’s office. “He’s very down to earth.”
McCubbin played football and baseball in college, where he studied health and exercise science. He said he decided on that major because his mom was a nurse and his dad was a professor.
When McCubbin talks about himself he speaks slowly, choosing each word before saying them out loud.
“I never did have aspirations to be a dean,” McCubbin said. “I mean, I just wanted to become a professor and be successful there.”
McCubbin earned his masters and Ph.D. specializing in populations with disabilities. When talking about work, McCubbin’s eyes light up, his speech quickens and he adopts a passionate tone.
“I get excited about trying to convince people that the opportunities that our students have in the United States in higher education are pretty remarkable,” McCubbin said. “Sometimes that’s helping through my own expertise helping them understand people with disabilities in exercise and health but I think it’s bigger than that, I think it’s bigger than just my field of study.”
Although McCubbin is dean of Health and Human Sciences, he wants to improve CSU as a whole. According to McCubbin, he is most passionate about bettering the university by having students with disabilities and first generation students as part of the living and learning experience.
“It’s a much richer place if you allow people to contribute and participate,” McCubbin said.
McCubbin tries to create an open atmosphere at work.
It is important to find a balance between solving problems and reaching out to people, according to McCubbin.
“I think (McCubbin) believes in creating a sense of shared leadership for the college,” said Gretchen Gerding, director of communications for the College of Health and Human Sciences.
McCubbin said he does not get to spend much time working with students in his position as dean. Instead, he helps staff and faculty with their projects.
“As a dean, you really are doing other people’s work to help facilitate that,” McCubbin said.
Although McCubbin says he misses spending more time with students, he still enjoys helping his coworkers with their projects.
McCubbin is a leader and a self-described advocate for the college.
“In public, when I go out and give a talk, it’s almost always on behalf of Colorado State University,” McCubbin said.
The College of Health and Human Sciences recently changed its name from the College of Applied Human Sciences. According to Gerding, McCubbin was a huge advocate for this change.
“He really believes in the mission of our college, of helping people improve lives and improve their health and well-being,” Gerding said.
McCubbin says his least favorite part of being dean is dealing with difficult people.
“Cause I can’t manage them, you know what I mean?” McCubbin said. “But that’s like everybody else, whether you’re working at a restaurant dealing with a difficult person.”
McCubbin tries to take time to enjoy life as well. He has been trying to improve his golf game while staying busy as the dean. The screensaver on his office computer points to his life outside of CSU — it plays a slideshow of pictures of a smiling little girl and nature.
“He’s an avid golfer and I’m learning to golf better,” said Debbie McCubbin, who has been married to Jeff for 10 years.
According to Debbie, the couple loves Fort Collins, especially Old Town, because of the lights and atmosphere of downtown.
“This city is so vibrant, we always feel like we’re on holiday,” Debbie said.
McCubbin travels frequently for his job and often his wife tags along. One of their favorite places to travel together is Italy.
According to Debbie, although the trips are for work, there is still room for fun. Sometimes they even extend business trips so that they can travel around and explore.
“It all works out,” Debbie said. “It’s a balance.”
McCubbin strives to bring diversity of thought to the College of Health and Human Sciences.
“Everyone has their share of information to bring to the table,” McCubbin said. “That’s part of the challenge that we have. Not everyone can participate on the same level.”
Collegian Staff Writer Amber Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.