Gustie of the Week: Elizabeth Kubek

Amelia Dewberry-

This week’s Gustie of the Week is Professor in English, Elizabeth Kubek. She also serves as Director of Summer Term and Faculty Director of Student Academic Success in the Provost’s Office.

Kubek first came to Gustavus as an academic administrator but came back to full-time teaching two years ago. “I love working so closely with students again. Although I still do admin work, [in which I am] also supporting students,” Kubek said. Before Gustavus, she worked as an administrator and professor, teaching a variety of English and interdisciplinary courses at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.

She regularly teaches a Challenge Seminar in Medical Humanities and the introductory GWSS course, Controversies in Feminism. “I also teach a writing class on life writing that is designed to create a supportive peer community. In all of these classes, I use assignments and exercises that are meant to create a safe space, encourage students to value and share their different insights and experience, and enhance wellbeing,” Kubek said. While Kubek really enjoys teaching Medical Humanities, she said “I’ve found that the energy of the classroom (real or online) matters much more to me than the content,” Kubek said.

Kubek finds that at Gustavus, “students tend to really care about making the world a more just and inclusive place, and about learning both in itself and as a way to get there. My colleagues are incredibly dedicated to teaching, learning, and advising, and I think we share the sense that college should be a safe space for shared intellectual and personal growth.”

One of Kubek’s colleagues, Senior Continuing Assistant Professor in Physics and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, Darsa Donelan also expressed their appreciation for Kubek. “Elizabeth’s dedication to supporting her colleagues shines through in various ways. For instance, she actively engages in problem-solving and provides valuable recommendations, as she did when helping me find a location for my permanent radio telescope on campus,” Donelan said.

Donelan has fond memories with Kubek during their meaningful discussions while on walks. “These moments provided not only a refreshing break from work but also an opportunity for meaningful discussions. Elizabeth’s ability to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where I feel seen and heard has truly enriched my experience as a colleague and friend,” Donelan said.

Gustavus Alum Mikyas Kebede took Medical Humanities and Give Me Information with Kubek and reflected that “she always makes an immense effort to meet students at their level and truly care about their academic and personal success.” He appreciates “her level of compassion and care she shows to her students. I always love hearing what she has to say and will always seek her advice and wisdom when I am feeling stuck! She is truly a kind soul with a brilliant mind!”

Senior Caroline Southworth echoed this: “Her interest in students’ passions, personal lives, and their generational quirks is amazing, and it also indicates just how much she understands that what she teaches is part of a continuum that is slowly changing.” While Southworth has never been in one of Kubek’s classes, she works with her in the Provost’s Office and has learned from her just through conversation. “Elizabeth is always engaging in reciprocal learning and trying to glean insight from her students, which brings a high level of trust into the student-professor relationship,” Southworth said.

Some may be surprised to learn that Kubek has a wide range of music tastes. Southworth’s favorite memory was when Kubek shocked her and recognized Megan Thee Stallion from a sticker on her water bottle.

“You might find me with my earbuds in listening to a Tidal playlist I am building (225 songs and counting) that includes techno, punk (old and new), or anything with a nice heavy beat (in CD or higher quality format). 100 Gecs and Future Islands are current favs,” Kubek said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *