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KAFCS turns the spotlight on individuals, their experiences, and how they have benefited from KAFCS membership and/or family and consumer science programs. It offers an opportunity for you to share your story with your colleagues and the greater FCS community, inspire future FCS professionals, and strengthen awareness of the profession and association.

Isn’t it your turn to grab the spotlight? Download a submission form here!


Duane Whitbeck

Member Spotlight Duane Whitbeck

My professional career has always revolved around being a teacher educator. I taught in lab schools training early childhood teachers at five universities for a total of 14 years working with college students, infants, toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary ages. To me the best job was always to have one foot in the programs serving children and families and one foot in the training of teachers. Over the past 16 years I have traded the time with children for the administrative roles of first director of the PSU Early Childhood Preschool and then for the past 13 years as the department chairperson for Family & Consumer Sciences.

A typical day now involves meetings, teaching, appointments with students, working on projects such as recruitment for the department and working with faculty.

What prompted you to join KAFCS…how long have you been a member? Describe your volunteer activities at the state and national levels.

I joined KAFCS shortly after arriving on campus based on the encouragement of our then chair Dr. Lynette Olson. I have been a member since 1999. Prior to that I was very involved with NAEYC and KAEYC. Over the past 14 years I have served on a variety of committees at the national level and chaired the Family Relations and Human Development Community for three years. I have served as the 1st Vice Chair of the Assembly of Higher Education, the treasurer and board member of the Council of Administrators of Family & Consumer Sciences, the treasurer of KAFCS and the KAFCS foundation. I was recently elected and installed on the national board of directors this June in St. Louis.

What is the best part about belonging to a professional organization such as KAFCS?

The best thing about professional organizations is the people that you associate with and the ability to make a difference. It takes some of your time but we need people being wiling to serve at all levels or else they forfeit their right to complain. You truly do not understand an organization by only being a member. You need to get involved at any level that you can. Every one of us makes a difference every day by both what we do as well as by what we don't do.

What is the best part of working in an FCS professional setting? What is the greatest source of job satisfaction for you?

What I like the most is working with people who see the vision and know they are making a difference. My greatest thrill comes in seeing others succeed. That means more to me than any personal accomplishments or recognition, knowing that I helped them to be successful.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an FCS professional? How did you handle that situation?

My biggest challenge is overcoming my natural tendency to want to stay in the background. Everyone influences countless others who take their lead by watching us. If we want people with a family & consumer sciences background to be in positions of decision making then guess what, we might need to be that person and not expect someone else to do it. I have a good friend that has been a mentor throughout my professional career and I often find myself when faced with a difficult decision thinking, What would Marjorie do?, then I do it. It has never let me down. Take the lead from others and do something.

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