After spending 26 years at CSUN, Maureen Rubin has stepped into her fourth, and probably final, role in the university as the associate dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication.
“I’m getting close to retirement age and it’s nice coming full circle and ending where I started,” Rubin said. “It’s like ‘The Lion King.’ It’s a nice ending.”
Rubin joined the university in 1984 as a journalism professor. In 1997, she formed the Center for Community Service Learning where she helped develop and secure funding for more than 300 new service-learning classes. In 2006, she became the university’s director of undergraduate studies.
“My favorite part so far is the location of my office in Nordhoff Hall,” Rubin said. “I hear people singing and playing the tuba while I walk to my office. You never got that at University Hall.”
Before moving to California and becoming a journalism professor at CSUN, Rubin worked in the public relations field in New York and Boston.
At the age of 28, she was a senior White House staff member. She worked as a director of public information for a member of Congress during the Jimmy Carter administration.
When Carter lost the election in 1981, both Rubin and her husband, who was also a political appointee in the Carter administration, lost their jobs and moved to California.
She received her law degree from Catholic University and an M.A. in public relations from the University of Southern California.
“The fabulous thing about the journalism department and the college itself is that almost all of the professors have worked professionally and can bring a wealth of practical and theoretical experience to their students,” Rubin said.
As a child of the 1960s, Rubin was always interested in social justice, social change and politics. Rubin said she felt her early career fit her perfectly because she could combine journalism and political activism.
Rubin said she hopes her former position as director of the undergraduate studies department can help her the most with her new position as associate dean.
Rubin has experience in helping students with all types of issues, such as understanding the reasons for certain policies and procedures. She said she can help the college effectively deal with budget challenges by recommending good programs that make sense and navigating the university bureaucracy effectively because she understands it well.
“I hope that whatever people need — students, faculty, department chairs, the dean — come to me so I can assist them in ways that benefit everyone,” Rubin said.
Rubin said she feels she understands how the university runs. Her ability to quickly determine whether something will be a problem and to find a quick solution will help her as associate dean.
“Because the policies are very complicated and change so often, it’s helpful having someone in the position to understand how the system works,” Rubin said. “It’s important to know the position of CSUN in relation to the CSU system and the CSU system in relation to the state legislature and their position in relation to the nation.”
Due to her vast experience, Rubin said she has the ability to explain to students and faculty why something can or cannot be done.
Rubin and the dean of the college, Robert Bucker, work very closely with one another.
“Rubin is a very talented and focused administrator,” Bucker said. “We work together every single day and she always tries to make a successful decision and bring a successful outcome.”
Bucker said that as associate dean, some of Rubin’s responsibilities will involve working with the students, the curriculum, undergraduate programs and any issues the students have with grades and programs.
Rubin said she is currently learning about the curriculum and working with the six department chairs to keep their curriculums effective.
“I love working with students and faculty who are creative and in the performing arts and the communication field,” Rubin said. “They’re just great — curious, innovative and energetic. I’ve always loved them.”
Music department chair Elizabeth Sellers describes Rubin as an open, candid and responsive administrator.
“Her experience in undergraduate studies has been a plus for us in the college,” Sellers said. “She had such a successful career in the undergraduate studies that I see no reason why she won’t have another great career in our college.”
Rubin said she is proud to be part of the CSUN family because she highly believes in CSUN’s mission.
“If I didn’t love it here, I wouldn’t have stayed for 27 years,” Rubin said. “CSUN is like no other university. We work miracles here every day because a lot of our students are first-generation students trying to achieve higher education and they face a lot of challenges. My job is to help them overcome those challenges.”
Rubin has already started working on new projects for the college.
She said she wants to work with the six departments to get a university 100 class for incoming freshmen. As a strong believer that art enriches life, Rubin said she wants to form a strong bond with the liberal arts department to have an option for future teachers with the current budget cuts taking place.
“Because the community has given us so much, we need to give back to it,” Rubin said. “I want to make sure we fill in some of the budgetary holes. Every child should go to the theater, play a musical instrument, go to an art museum and understand the art he sees, to watch a movie and understand what it takes to make that film. We need to encourage students to understand they are very special and in turn they need to use their education to enrich the lives of the community.”
Rubin said she hopes with the upcoming opening of the Valley Performing Arts Center that she can perform a lot of the smaller responsibilities that will allow Bucker to deal with the critical work of opening the center.
“It’s such an exciting time to be on campus,” Rubin said. “The center really put CSUN on the map. We don’t have a football team, but we have a performing arts center now.”