Director of New Student and Family Programs to leave Eastern

Kimberlie+Moock.+director+of+New+Student+and+Family+Programs+and+director+of+the+Military+Student+Assistance+Center%2C+laughs+with+student+workers+in+her+office+Friday.+Moock%2C+who+has+worked+at+Eastern+for+16+years%2C+is+leaving+to+pursure+her+doctorate%27s+at+the+University+of+Minnesota-Twin+Cities.

Cassie Buchman

Kimberlie Moock. director of New Student and Family Programs and director of the Military Student Assistance Center, laughs with student workers in her office Friday. Moock, who has worked at Eastern for 16 years, is leaving to pursure her doctorate’s at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Cassie Buchman, Staff Reporter

Even though it was 10 years ago, Kimberlie Moock can still remember the first PROWL Check-In event to happen at Eastern.

The idea of PROWL, or a series of activities to help acclimate freshmen and transfer students to campus, was still new at the time.

Students were supposed to meet at Lantz Arena for the first day.

“Everyone (was)  like, are (students) going to come? They’re not going to come,” Moock, the director of New Student and Family Programs and director of the Military Student Assistance Center, said. “There was skepticism.”

However, the first day of PROWL, Moock said Lantz was packed.

“I can remember standing there, going ‘I knew it was going to happen,’” she said. “I can remember thinking ‘they didn’t think this was going to happen, but they’re here.’”

For Moock, this first PROWL event was a “milestone moment.”

“It was a change in culture, how we interact with students in a really significant way,” she said.

Since then, PROWL has moved through several iterations, but there are still some cornerstone elements to the events.

“You know you’re going to go to convocation, you know there’s going to be a picnic photo, Jumpstart (2 G.I.V.E,” she said. “PROWL helps students understand what does this institution expect from me, what can I rely on it for?”

Like PROWL, many aspects of Moock’s 16-year career have changed throughout the years.

Her biggest change is perhaps yet to come, as she leaves July 28 to pursue her doctorate at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Moock will study higher education and integrative leadership. 

At Eastern, Moock was originally just the director of orientation. She then became the director of New Student Programs before becoming the director of New Student Programs and the Military Student Assistance Center.  It was with a final office name change that she became the director of New Student and Family Programs as well as still being director of MSAC.

When she first started, Moock said there was only her, a graduate assistant and one work-study student working. She would be in an office in McAfee while the students were in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Now, New Student and Family Programs is in the Union, with about 100 undergraduate students who participate in the office in some capacity every year, as well as graduate assistants. A core staff of 25 students help during the year.

Still, throughout these position and office changes, Moock said the focus has always been on helping students successfully transition to Eastern, whether they are new or military students.

“We’re making sure they feel this is the right place to be,” she said. “Part of our responsibility is moving a student from ‘OK, I made this decision to come,’ to this point where (the student is) like, ‘Yes, this was the right decision,’ to (them going) ‘I am part of this community.’”

Kimberley Kuspa, a senior program specialist in the office, said working in New Student and Family Programs helped her decide that she wanted to go to graduate school for College Student Affairs.

“ I had a conversation with (Moock) and she said, you know you can do this for a living, right?”

Originally terrified of speaking in her Freshman speech class, she got to the point where it is now her job to give two presentations a day.

“Having this job makes you able to grow a lot,” she said.

Along with Moock’s regular work, she has also been concentrating on is making sure the office is ready for when she leaves.

Echarial Gaines, assistant director of New Student and Family Programs, and Beth Gillespie, interim director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, with assume responsibility for the office while a replacement for Moock is found.

Lynette Drake, interim vice president for student affairs, said there is not a specific date set for a search for a new director.

The university is in the process of determining where different communication pieces will take place until a new director is found, she said.

They are also in the process of trying to figure out how to best move the MSAC forward as well.

“(This area) is one that we fully intend to continue to support,” Drake said.

Drake said students who need assistance in these areas will still be able to work out of the Office of New Student and Family Programs.

Gaines, assistant director for New Student and Family Programs, has had a close relationship with Moock as both a friend and professional mentor.

Though she knows managing the Office of New Student and Family Programs with Gillespie will be more responsibility, there are also a team of undergraduates and a graduate assistant to help out.

“All of us are going to have to step up,” Gaines said.

Moock said she is excited for her future, though admits good-byes are always hard, especially with the staff she has grown close too.

“We’ll see where this journey takes me,” she said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]