By Andy Goodell
Grinnell College Dean of Students Sarah Reshetar Moschenross attributes much of her success as a leader to her experiences at the University of Iowa College of Education.
Reshetar Moschenross, of Saint Ansgar, Iowa, earned what was known then as a master’s in Student Development in Postsecondary Education in 2005. This program later combined with the Higher Education master’s degree. The newly created program was renamed Higher Education and Student Affairs.
Over the last two years, Reshetar Moschenross has used the insights, knowledge, and skills gained at the UI to navigate the challenges – and embrace opportunities - to help students succeed in higher education.
Reshetar Moschenross demonstrates her leadership skills by being thoughtful and intentional in her work.
“I put a focus on including others at all levels in the decision-making process whenever possible,” she says. “Staying connected to students at Grinnell College by listening to their views is also a priority for me. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, I lead by being transparent about the fact that I am a lifelong learner.”
Her experience at the UI College of Education was the most exciting and challenging formal education experience of her life, says Reshetar Moschenross.
“My professors gently and expertly helped me to seek my full potential as a scholar and early career practitioner,” she says. “While being busy and accomplished scholars themselves, they taught me about research and applied knowledge – about how to use theory and best practices to work on behalf of students and institutions to improve the academic experience.”
She says her professors provided mentorship, helped her connect with others in the field, and have continued to guide her work. She specifically credits professors Debora Liddell and Sherry Watt with unlocking her passion for social justice work. On top of that, Reshetar Moschenross’ experience with her cohort made a lasting positive impression.
“Their willingness to be open and vulnerable in the classroom helped me to appreciate other ways of being and to learn about diversity of thought,” says Reshetar Moschenross. “Their intellect kept me feeling challenged and inspired. Their friendship kept me feeling supported and gave me a sense of belonging.
I still seek their counsel and collaboration as I work to navigate the tough issues in higher education; they have never let me down.”
Reshetar Moschenross hopes her work as dean of student creates an environment where students at Grinnell College experience a seamless learning environment, where they are empowered to have a voice in governance at the institution and play a vital role in creating a culture of belonging. As the person who oversees the student experience, she hopes that students will thrive in the educational and supportive culture at Grinnell College. In particular, she strives to see students themselves grow as leaders.
“I hope that my work helps students to grow in their leadership development, their understanding of citizenship, their confidence and personal identity development, and in their ethical decision-making skills,” says Reshetar Moschenross.