New College’s first dean sees bright future

Since June, Jill Thorngren has been the first permanent dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. Here she answers a few questions about her expectations for viagra cialis for sale SDSU’s newest college. The College you’re leading is still new, started in the 2009-2010 academic year when the College of Education and Counseling, the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation came together. Is the College still in a state of transition? The College of Education and Human Sciences is still transitioning, but the transitions have more to do with “what are we going to do next” and “what kind of “opportunities are there for us to work together” versus “how should we structure ourselves” or “what programs should reside where?” We are busy becoming more of who we are. I think there are two primary reasons the College is transitioning so well. First, we are built on very strong foundations, and second, we have very talented people. When SDSU was still South Dakota State College, it was one of the first five land-grant institutions to have a formal Department of Home Economics, started in 1885. Domestic Economy, as it was then called, expanded and grew from a traditional base of classes in food, nutrition, clothing, and design to encompass home management and nursery school by the late 1920s. Domestic Economy became Home Economics which became Family and Consumer Sciences, which had such a strong influence that it is now spread throughout our four departments. We also have a rich pedagogical history. The first Department of Education at SDSU was created in 1913, though teacher preparation had been in effect since 1904 in the Department of Latin and Pedagogy! This department, too, evolved through the decades always dedicated to meeting the current needs of the state. In 1989, the College of Education and Counseling was formed as a coordinating unit for all professional education programs at SDSU. The third leg of our college, physical education has always been included in the curriculum at SDSU. Though the courses took many different forms and were housed in various departments over the years, Health, Physical Education, and Recreation has always embodied the objective of “educating the total person.” (SDSU Archives) These three entities: Home Economics, Education and Counseling, and Health, Physical Education and Recreation create a foundation rich in compelling research, pedagogy, and outreach. The content in each is brought to life by our richest resource: great people. Our graduates have succeeded all over the world and have generously given back to the next generations who keep moving forward our mission of enhancing human potential. And as any alumni will tell you, a great deal of the college experience has to do with faculty. EHS boasts outstanding scholars, educators and staff who are passionate about making people’s lives better. So yes, EHS is still going through a transition, and we have a long history of transitioning and evolving to better meet the needs of our constituents. You’re going through a bit of a transition yourself by becoming a full-time administrator. How is that going? I’ve been a full-time administrator for several years, but moving from associate dean to dean is a definitely a transition. It’s my signature, not my boss’s on the bottom line! I’m really enjoying the challenges of being a dean and especially dean of this college. Every day is different and I’m constantly learning. One adjustment I’m making is learning to accept that I’ll never be caught up or “finished” and that’s actually a good thing. Because I want EHS to constantly evolve, I have to accept that my in-box will never be empty and my desk never free of the clutter that represents ongoing projects. I have a tendency to want to put off hobbies or personal plans till my work is done. Instead, I’m learning that I, and this role, are a “work in progress” and that is as it should be. I firmly believe in working and playing hard and so at some point I pursue that balance by leaving the office, turning off my phone and trusting that I can pick up wherever I left off. I also have a terrific support team both on and off campus. My colleagues are willing to answer everything from “where is that building” to “what do you wear to a high tea?” They truly practice the adage that there are no dumb questions. I’ve felt comfortable here since my first interview almost a year ago and continue to feel like I’ve entered into a new family. My family and friends off campus have also been terrific. Being a dean is almost a new lifestyle. There is something to do almost every night and weekend, and my husband and I are really enjoying making new friends and having new experiences through university activities. As the College’s first permanent dean, what are your short-term goals? This year I want to focus on moving forward the work that has already begun and not lose momentum. I have one general and two specific goals for the year. Overall, I want to continue fostering strong, collegial relationships across the college and between Education and Human Sciences and our external friends and constituents. A fun thing that I get to do is host meetings and provide opportunities for faculty to share what they are doing and strike up potential collaborations. This sounds simple, but we are all very busy, so an effort has to be made to actually stop, look up and around, and dialogue with others about what it is we are doing and where we want to go. So relationship building is an overarching goal for me. Specifically, I have two projects in mind. First, we are working on developing a center of excellence in the College. We are still discussing what the areas of focus will be, but it will have something

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to do with our mission of enhancing human potential. A center will allow us to create infrastructure to support transdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach related to well-being and transformational learning. Secondly, I want to showcase the breadth and depth of research, scholarship, and innovative teaching methods in which faculty, staff, and students across the college are engaged. To that end, we plan to have a spring conference that highlights our work. It will be an opportunity for faculty to see each other’s work and to potentially form new collaborations. As this concept grows, we will open it up and share it with alumni, colleagues, stakeholders, and additional partners. What are your long-term goals for the College? EHS has the capacity to make a difference nation and worldwide. Problems in health care and education are pressing concerns for everyone. We are uniquely structured and poised to address some of these difficulties. We focus on preventing, versus curing and on education that actually transforms lives. Long term, I want Education and Human Sciences to be recognized for our expertise and I want us to be partners in national dialogues and policy setting, while still maintaining our local relevance and roots. There are four signature areas that we are emphasizing and that I believe will keep us moving forward: 1) Internationalization of our curriculum, which will underscore the importance of both diversity and inclusion and the ability to think globally and with wide perspective; 2) Prevention and well-being, which emphasizes healthy living and proactive choices; 3) Sustainability, which pushes us to consider ways that we can live sustainably every

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day and includes an acknowledgement of ways those before us practiced this concept and changes we can make in today’s environment; 4) Transformational learning, or that which has the ability to change how we view ourselves and the world in which we live. It is not simply an accumulation of facts and information, but experience that has the power to transform us. Our strategic planning will center around these signatures and inform our decisions long term. With fifteen undergraduate majors, twenty-two minors, and twelve graduate programs teaching everything from aviation to apparel merchandising, your College’s offerings are extremely diverse. What sort of challenges do you face from leading such a diverse organization? It’s a fun challenge. I get to be involved in a nitrates viagra wide range of really interesting teaching, research, and outreach projects. One of our associate deans describes us as “researching everything from molecules to communities” and he is right. The work of our faculty in Education and Human Sciences spans a breadth of natural and social sciences. The exciting element is promoting and developing connections between the programs. From aviation to teacher preparation and everything in between, our commonality is enhancing human potential. We strive to enhance our students’ potential and at the same time we are training them to engage in careers that enrich the lives of others. Sure there are challenges in representing such diverse programs, but mostly those are time and organizational issues. We are in several different buildings across campus so I have to make sure that I’m getting out and spending time with faculty and students in all programs, not just the ones that are nearby. Are there ways in which the College’s diversity of viagra to last longer offerings makes it stronger? Definitely! We are uniquely positioned to address multiple issues related to individual, family, and community health and education. All aspects of health and well-being are interconnected. For example, it is hard for a teacher to educate a student who is suffering from poor nutrition or stressful family dynamics. In our college, we can prepare students to perceive people and situations holistically and in context. Our teacher education candidates can seek information from our dietetics faculty and students. Our counseling students learn to view client issues developmentally and from a lifespan model. Our consumer science students learn about the interplay between individuals and their environments. The examples are endless. That is what makes this College so exciting–the diversity in backgrounds and experiences makes a richer learning environment for all. How does your background as a counselor help you in your work as a dean? It helps me a great deal. One of my very favorite things to do is relationship counseling, and this role is all about relationships and communication. My work with couples and families taught me that people usually want the same basic things, though trust me there are many and varied ways to achieve those same goals! Leading a college is very similar. Everyone here wants to be successful and wants to participate in shaping successful students. Part of my job is to help us set common goals and facilitate using individual strengths to get us there. One of the biggest pieces is clear communication. We all have different ways of “hearing” things based on our backgrounds and experiences. Miscommunication, and all the ensuing problems that brings, can occur when people make assumptions about what others are saying or refuse to listen to another’s perspective.

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My counseling experience has taught me how to listen to and appreciate multiple perspectives and help others communicate their points in a way that can be heard. I think I get to do that in this job, too! One of the College’s first initiatives was an emphasis on outreach to the state’s nine Native American reservations. What’s happening in that area? Collaboration with Native American colleagues and communities is still one of our key priorities. This work will be a central focus as we develop the Center of Excellence referenced earlier. We will continue consulting with tribal members as well as Native American students on how to further develop true collaborations with each reservation. It is very important to us that we not make assumptions or impose ideas that are not jointly created. One idea that I’m cv pharmacy template excited about is a proposed faculty exchange between Education and Human Sciences faculty and tribal college faculty. Through these kinds of initiatives, I believe price viagra philippines we can truly engage in outreach and also be informed by what I’ll call “inreach” or learning from our external stakeholders and communities. The Native American Outreach Committee is a very strong and active group in the college. They have developed a Web page describing several of their projects and initiatives at www.sdstate.edu/ehs/nao. I support them 100 percent and look forward to joining their work. What’s your vision of what the College will be like in ten years? In twenty years? I believe that we will continue becoming more of who we are. That’s not to say that we won’t change or look different ten or twenty years out, but we will still be focused on enhancing human potential. As has been the tradition in those programs that preceded the formation of the College of Education and Human Sciences, we will continue being responsive to current needs of the day and our constituents. In the future, Education and Human Sciences will be known and recognized as a leader in educating and enhancing human potential through creating, analyzing, disseminating, and applying knowledge.

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2 Comments

  1. Jan B. Larson at

    Congratulations Jill! As an alumn I am very happy to see that the future of the College of Education and Human Sciences is vitally strong. Having received my MS degree through your program, I feel I was well-prepared to do the work I’ve enjoyed for 16 years now in a culturally diverse and very challenging school district. Being a high school counselor is to enjoy the best of all aspects of public education–teaching, mentoring, guiding, inspiring, consulting, and consoling. I work with parents, educators, students, and the public—what could be more exciting? I look to SDSU to advocate for the profession of school counseling as an indispensable component of our education system. I appreciate the preparation I received to do my job well. I applaud the CEHS for its continuing growth and success. The future health of our country depends on well-prepared educators for our youth.

    Jan Larson, class of 1995
    Worthington High school
    Worthington, MN

  2. Merry Ann Sauls at

    Enjoyed the update.

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