Ask an Antelope: Tami Moore makes Kearney a better place for families

Tami Moore is a professor in the UNK Department of Family Science, where she has taught since 1997. Previously, she was a faculty member in the Department of Modern Languages and she taught graduate courses in the College of Education and College of Business and Technology. She began her higher education career at Northern Arizona University.

A native of Wolbach, Moore earned a master’s degree in human development and family relations from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1989, a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Emporia State University in 1993 and a Doctor of Philosophy in postsecondary leadership from UNL in 1995.

She also serves as a second-term Kearney City Council member.

Why did you decide to become a family science professor?
While teaching at NAU I had a class in the morning for the College of Business – Consumer Behavior. The purpose was to teach future marketing professionals how to manipulate consumers. In the afternoon I taught Consumerism for the Family and Consumer Sciences across campus – teaching students how not to be manipulated. A bit of an ethical dilemma. I realized that I was more comfortable teaching individuals and families how to succeed.

Tell us about the courses you teach and your interest in those areas:
Human Sexual Behavior, at the time I took it over, was an “orphan.” No other faculty members wanted to teach it. Because it is so linked to all my degrees, I agreed to teach it. I’ve published and presented nationally and internationally on topics in that area, so I continued to be the lead teacher.

After teaching Family Resource Management for a few years without a good textbook available on the market, Dr. Sylvia Asay and I decided to write our own. It is now in its fourth edition and is the leading text on that topic in the field. When you write the book, it makes sense that you teach the course, right? I have just resumed teaching two other family science courses – Family Life Education and Professional Development. It has been a few years since I taught either, but I’m excited to teach some “fresh” topics this semester.

How do your courses prepare students for their future careers?
After three decades of teaching at the postsecondary level, I am so proud of my former students as they have stepped up to take on really important positions in Kearney, Nebraska, and nationally. The most important thing a professor can do for students is to make sure they have the knowledge and skills expected by their future employers. You can give them insight into what might be expected of them, but you can’t know exactly where their lives will take them.

One amazing thing about the field of family science is that, regardless of the careers or lives our students choose, they will always be a part of a family. The same information and skills that allow them to help individuals and families professionally are essential to their own personal life satisfaction. About one-third of FAMS grads go on to graduate school. That has increased dramatically since 2000 and we are all very proud of the rigor of our current programs and classes.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
At this stage of my life, I really love the flexibility of my job. I teach a combination of in-person and online courses, so my “workday” is a hodgepodge of daylight and evening hours. My research and publication projects are often most productive during the evenings, breaks and summer, so I can plan accordingly. Earlier in my career the relationships with colleagues was my favorite part of my job. Always, the relationships with students motivate me.

What sets UNK’s Family Science Department apart from other universities?
Our program was one of the first dozen certified by the National Council on Family Relations during the last years of the 1990s. We are the only such certified undergraduate program in the state and our faculty, students and programs are held in high esteem by that national network. Our program’s approach relies on the Family Strengths Model – focusing on what families do well; proactive training to create strong families and communities.

Tell us about your involvement in the Kearney community:
My first community board of directors was Kearney’s Junior Tri-City Hockey organization, when hockey first came to Kearney. I enjoyed that so much that I continued to seek ways to serve the community. I have served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations over the years and recently started a new nonprofit – Kearney Community Sustainable Housing – to address the needs of individuals and families in our community arising from acute homeless situations. This nonprofit directly reflects my academic work in Family Resource Management and my “hobby” of homebuilding. I served on the city of Kearney’s Planning Committee and now am into my second term on the Kearney City Council.

UNK professors have an expectation of service at the university, local, regional and national levels. My administrators have always supported my heavy focus on service, allowing me to have amazing experiences and some impact on making the community a better place for families. As a female, I have often been the only woman at the table. I have always felt a need to model female leadership to my students.

Share a fun fact about yourself:
I love to travel and make that a priority in my life. I have three amazing sons, 36, 40 and 42, and a wonderful daughter-in-law who gave me my two awesome grandchildren. I am currently wrapping up my career as a builder with a large project near Yanney Heritage Park. My 65th birthday is an obvious reminder that retirement is an option and I need to begin focusing on what that might look like.

“Ask an Antelope” is a new Q&A series highlighting UNK faculty and staff and their impact on the campus and community.