Kathleen Moberg retires from Gavilan College after five-year tenureby Jan Janes on Jun 14, 2019
Kathleen Moberg, Vice President of Student Services at Gavilan College since 2014, will retire the end of June.
She arrived at Gavilan College after a long vacancy following the unexpected death of Vice President John Pruitt.
“I wasn’t intending to retire. But SERP, available just this year as an opportunity, was presented to us,” said Moberg. A week after receiving the early retirement offer, her husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer.
“Retirement first looked like one thing,” she said. “And now it looks entirely differently.”
Dr. Kathleen Rose shares a moment with Kathleen Moberg during her
Moberg was attracted to Gavilan College by its reputation as a well-managed district. She had not met Dr. Kathleen Rose (at that time the Executive Vice President and Chief Instructional Officer) before applying but had heard great things about her, and that she was easy to work with. The position also offered her the chance to grow professionally.
“The favorite part of this job was to grow other people,” said Moberg. “To give them the opportunity to do what they want to do for the college. And to reduce barriers so they could do what they think best.”
She described the challenges often experienced at other colleges, where people felt not heard and stifled, or people who had dreams but no resources. “We had people with dreams, and we had the resources,” she said.
Moberg highlighted a number of Gavilan programs that are innovating, growing or launching.
"Counseling is taking off with innovations,” she said. The college is applying technology in programs such as Cranium Café, online orientations, meta major and mapping work for Guided Pathways.
Equity conversations are exploring needs of the underserved. “The equity work has started the deeper conversations,” Moberg said, “And I have every hope it will flourish.”
She sees student life activities being resurrected. “The work of Ryan Shook, Student Life Coordinator, growing the Peer Mentor program and its students is very exciting.”
“We have expanded the foster youth, Dreamer services, CalWORKS, Fresh Success and the Food Pantry,” said Moberg. These were programs with demonstrated need, developed by Susan Sweeney and Annette Gutierrez.
The most recent successful program is the Just in Time monthly Mobile Food Pantry. “They knew students and their families had that need, but they received lots of pushback,” she said. “Don’t stifle new things out of fear, but let’s try it and then evaluate.”
Moberg noted that her previous district, De Anza College, had advocacy-oriented students who were vocal about social justice issues and assertive about asking for things. Arriving at Gavilan, she wasn’t sure students understood the charge of student government.
“With the guidance of Blanca Arteaga, as ASGC advisor, students at Gavilan found that voice,” she said. “In the past two years, students have a clearer idea of their roles, and when to push to gain reception of their ideas.”
She noted in particular flying the Pride Flag in October 2018. “ASCG President Nolan Golden really wanted it to happen,” Moberg said. Gavilan had taken a different role in community college activism, with concerns about setting precedents. “Dr. Rose and Golden were brave to do that.”
She noted the behavior intervention team, in its second year, and mental health support services established during her tenure. “These were many ideas staff had, waiting for their opportunity,” said Moberg. Equity funding can support contract Discovery Services, Maxient, student conduct and other concerning issues.
“The campus looks at how we can help students stay and succeed here,” she said. “We want to find solutions so they can overcome problems.” Some students have bigger issues, and Moberg suggested a holistic approach, using on- and off-campus programs, to avoid punishment for those working through issues.
Moberg is also completing her term as president of CSSO with the State of California Chancellor’s Office. Most recently she worked to organize the CSSO annual conference in March. A critical area of discussion was how to deal with challenges. “There is always the fear an emergency is going to happen, are we prepared?”
As the month draws to a close, Moberg is working with Denée Pescarmona, Vice President of Academic Affairs, on approaches to support student services. “I know my position will not be replaced,” she said.
“I have always worked, since high school, and am very task oriented,” said Moberg. “So to not have a job is going to be really weird.”
“All my children are entrepreneurs, all three have their own businesses,” said Moberg. “Young people encouraged not to create their own boundaries. I really value that about them.”
She will return to her established fruit trees, extensive vegetable garden and bee tending. And then look beyond.
“Consulting is a possibility, or something completely new,” she said.