10th Anniversary

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Office of Faculty Affairs, find a brief introduction to each of the talented team members that make the Office a success. This month, we’re introducing you the group that covers everything from credentialing to events. Stay tuned to future editions of the Faculty Affairs Newsletter and this page to meet the skilled individuals in the Office of Global Health,  Mentoring Programs, and the newest addition to the office, Continuing Education.
One of Dr. Susan Chubinskaya’s favorite leadership philosophies comes from a quote by Colin Powell, “Leadership is all about people. It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people – motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centered.” Dr. Chubinskaya has kept that quote in mind throughout her career and especially as Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs while building a driven team of staff for the department. “While reminiscing recently, it became clear to me that it’s connecting with people who are interested in making a difference that’s been the common theme of motivation through my career, research, and leadership positions,” she says, “I’m proud to work with this talented group of individuals on education and leadership opportunities for faculty.”

“In the past few years that I have been here our office has expanded in size but we’ve built a friendly and comfortable environment to work in,” says Melita Isic, MBA, Director, University Affairs.  “We all support each other on all of our endeavors which makes this department very special.”

Lisa Spagnoli, Credentialing Coordinator, echoes Isic’s statements of team collaboration citing the team’s authenticity with one another and dedication to each other’s success as one of the driving factors for their productivity and high-quality output. “From before day one on the job,” Spagnoli says, “Dr. Chubinskaya asked me about my career goals.” 

Further, the team members each describe their roles as rewarding. “I enjoy the challenge of the position, because it provides opportunity for growth,” Lori Davis, Database Manager, shares, “But I also enjoy the ability to lead a position of service, and to fill that need for the individuals that I work with.”

Meet the Faculty Affairs Team

Susan Chubinskaya, PhD, Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs, The Klaus Kuettner Professor of Osteoarthritis Research, was appointed to lead the office in 2010. In this role Dr. Chubinskaya aims to create a supportive, respectful and inclusive environment for the diverse faculty of Rush University. Her vision is to give faculty the opportunity to continually advance their careers and personal lives, to nurture their creativity and drive for innovation, and improve their resilience to life’s challenges in and outside of work. Dr. Chubinskaya’s proudest accomplishment as Vice Provost is building an office that is nationally recognized for its pioneering work in faculty affairs and faculty development and mentoring, for the opportunities and support it provides to each faculty across Rush system, and a great and professional team, in which each member of the office is dedicated to its mission and is highly appreciated and supported.  She’s excited to lead the office into its next decade of service.

Dr. Chubinskaya emigrated from Kiev, Ukraine in 1992, where she received her PhD at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Prior to her work in the Office of Faculty Affairs, Dr. Chubinskaya began her work at Rush in 1993 as a postdoctoral fellow in cartilage biochemistry, working in the Department of Biochemistry led by Dr. Klaus Kuettner, who would serve as a mentor for her throughout her accomplished career.  

In her career, Dr. Chubinskaya’s research has focused on studying cartilage biology, growth factors and other biologics in cartilage repair in post-traumatic and degenerative osteoarthritis including a National Institutes of Health-sponsored collaborative study in 2018 conducting research on the impact of space travel on astronauts’ bodies the effects of microgravity on cartilage. Following her philosophy of putting people at the center of initiatives, Dr. Chubinskaya has always been an astute collaborator and has a network of researchers, mentors, and benefactors that spans the globe. This year, Dr. Chubinskaya will serve as President of the Orthopedic Research Society, an international professional, scientific, and medical society of more than 4500 members. 
For more information on Dr. Chubinskaya’s honors, publications, and grants, visit her faculty profile.  

Melita Isic, MBA, MHA, Director, University Affairs, has been in her role in the Office of Faculty Affairs for three years, and an employee of Rush for ten. Working in departments from Cardiovascular Surgery to Pediatrics, Isic says all of her experience at Rush have sculpted her into the leader she is today. In her role, Isic oversees the functionality of the Faculty Management System focusing on onboarding, promotion, and annual performance reviews. Serving as the point of contact with the four colleges at Rush University, she manages systems and operations to help determine any system redundancies and streamline all business processes. In addition, she provides overall administration for the office including staff supervision and budget management. Melita was educated in England and the USA and holds dual master’s degrees in Healthcare Administration as well as an MBA from Robert Morris University. She received the Robert Morris University Proclamation for Impeccable Leadership, Innovative Thinking, and Outstanding performance
Dina Rubakha, M. Ed., Academic Program Manager, knows the workings of the Office of Faculty Affairs inside and out. Rubakha oversees all events from inception to completion, facilitating program delivery, addressing office logistical problems, creating and maintaining the Office of Faculty Affairs webpage. She’s constantly poised to troubleshoot any issues that arise day-to-day and serves as the main contact between the Office of Faculty Affairs and its mentoring and global health programs, aiding those teams in program development and delivery. Passionate about all aspects of education, Rubakha has also been a part of the Teaching Excellence program  for four years: as a participant, as a member of a team performing an audit and restructuring of the program, and as a facilitator. 
Lisa Spagnoli, Credentialing Coordinator Lead oversees the process for Faculty appointments at each stage.  The process of credentialing a faculty appointment or promotion as seamlessly as possible means having indirect contact with patients and working across numerous departments. Spagnoli started at Rush in Emergency Medicine where she onboarded new faculty, then moved to Faculty Recruitment. Now in Faculty Affairs, Spagnoli says she’s immersed in the world of credentialing and says her previous experiences have given her an appreciation for the role that each department plays in the process. 
Lori L. Davis, Database Manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Faculty Management Database System (FMS) including implementation, upgrades, data integrity and user support. Prior to joining the Faculty Affairs team at Rush, Davis worked as a data management specialist for thirteen years on a longitudinal study titled “Consequences of Febrile Seizures in Children (FEBSTAT)” at the Data Coordinating Center in the departments of Neurosurgery and Biostatistics at Virginia Commonwealth University.