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The Scarlet & Black

Dining Services chooses Jeanette Moser as Director

Jeanette Moser intends to bring more local foods to the Dining Hall and address hiring issues that have arisen during her time at the College. Photo by Mai Phuong Vu.

Following a 22-year career as the assistant director of dining services at the College, Jeanette Moser will fill the position of director of dining services. Dick Williams, former head of dining, retired this spring, leaving Moser in his place.

“Dick was here eighteen years, and they put out a national search [for his position], so I put in my application. I felt really … blessed that I got an interview and then selected for the job,” Moser said. In her position as assistant director of dining services, Moser worked to develop some of the less visible aspects of dining services, including “student employment, student employment training, [questions about] medical diets … and cashiering procedures.”

In her new position as director of dining services, Moser will assume responsibility for implementing longer-term initiatives in the department. She says that her responsibilities will include developing “a vision for dining services,” and articulating “the mission and values, so that we have a direction, [asking], What’s our space? How can we utilize our space better?”

Jeanette Moser intends to bring more local foods to the Dining Hall and address hiring issues that have arisen during her time at the College. Photo by Mai Phuong Vu.

Among others, Moser will work to address the ways in which the College chooses to source its food. Recent efforts by members of the College community have culminated in the College Garden initiative, which, spearheaded by Professor Jon Andelson, anthropology, provides the dining hall with fresh vegetables during the summer and fall seasons. In her new position, Moser will also work to address “the needs of the overall population, or specific groups, [people with] medical diets, vegan, religious diets.”

Just a month into her tenure as director of dining services, Moser says that she is currently working on the “information-gathering stage” of the job. Before implementing new policies and programs, she is committed to weighing the dining desires of students and employees of the College.

“We hired a consultant to come in and review dining services, and they’ve done their review. And there’s been a dining services survey that went out, and I’m making observations [about] how we operate. … With that information, this summer we want to look at our mission and our vision and the future incorporating this information,” Moser said.

Looking forward, Moser is optimistic about her new role at the College, and says that she is prepared for the challenges inherent to the position. One of them, she says, is the problem of labor: employers in Iowa are reporting a shortage of qualified applicants throughout the state, with the College’s dining services no exception.

“Grinnell College’s dining services has focused on quality and service. And service requires a labor force, and labor is tough right now. In Iowa, pretty much the people who want to work are working, and we have a real shortage of staffing, and we need to overcome that,” Moser said.

A persistent shortage of student workers has affected dining services for as long as the dining hall has hired students. And the general labor shortage has compounded the problem, forcing dining services to close food stations and change the functioning of others, such as the “eggs to order” station, which, previously run by dining employees, is now operated by diners who fry and scramble their own eggs to-go.

For anyone with ideas or questions about dining services, Moser will continue to hold weekly office hours, listed in upcoming campus memos.

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