Meet Deborah Beete, MPH, M.Div., who is a certified health education specialist and lecturer in the Department of Public Health Sciences. She also is program director for the Master of Public Health program and a representative of the Honors College Faculty Council. Learn her advice for new students and why she’s passionate about her field.
Describe your role as a faculty member.
As a lecturer in the Department of Public Health Sciences, my primary role is teaching both undergraduate and graduate students in my department. I also mentor, advise (formally and informally) and life coach students.
How long have you been at UNC Charlotte, and what brought you here?
I’ve been at UNC Charlotte for 11 years. I spent my first six years as part-time faculty while I still worked in the field. In 2018, I made the difficult decision to leave public health practice and become full-time faculty. I am what you call a “public health person,” and I cherished the work I did in the community; however, I realized that I could have a greater impact on communities through teaching. Teaching gives me an opportunity to spread my love of public health to others and contribute to the development of its workforce.
What class do you encourage students to take within your discipline?
All students, undergraduate and graduate, should take an introductory public health class. Ideally, undergraduates take HLTH 2101: Foundations of Public Health (or alternatively, LBST 2214: Health and Quality of Life) and graduate students can take HLTH 6200: Case Studies in Public Health. Public health is interdisciplinary by nature so students from other disciplines are absolutely welcome and would find value in learning more about public health.
What is your connection to the Honors College? How long have you been associated with the Honors College and its students?
I have served on multiple University Honors Program capstone committees for students doing projects with a public health focus and have been a member of the Honors Faculty since July 2020. I have co-taught a UHP elective and served on the Honors College course proposal review committee. I currently serve on the Honors Faculty Council as the College of Health and Human Services representative.
I am ecstatic to be part of all the positive changes the Honors College is making right now. Everything from seeking to be more equitable in its approach to the selection of UHP students, to attempting to make the Honors College more inclusive of disciplinary honors programs, to expanding funding and other opportunities for all honors students, to changing the format of UHP capstone projects in acknowledgement of the many ways that intellectual inquiry can occur.
What keeps you coming to work every day?
Students! It’s pretty exciting to contribute to the growth of individuals who are at the beginning of their adult lives or who are taking the brave step to return to school and are choosing to pursue their public health dreams.
What advice would you give to students to encourage their success at UNC Charlotte?
I want students to find their “thing.” I didn’t find public health until I was a senior in college, but that discovery changed my life. I don’t believe success has one definition so I hope students can find in themselves the courage to define it for themselves.
That being said, here’s some advice:
1) If you need help, ask for it. If you don’t ask, you are taking away the opportunity for your instructors (and others) to help you. We will all need help at one point or another, but you have to be willing to ask.
2) Sleep more! It’s critical to your brain’s function and your ability to learn.
3) Read! It doesn’t matter what you read (graphic novels, romance novels, comic books, magazines, bibliographies, etc.). Reading expands your vocabulary (and, therefore, your ability to express yourself), broadens your view of the world and improves your writing.
What's a fun fact about you many people may not know?
I’m a Bravoholic and unashamed.