Nineteen years ago, Jane Hegland accepted a job as head of the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design at South Dakota State University because she thought she could make a difference.
As she now retires from that evolved position, she is confident she has. “The primary goal when I became a department head was to really help the faculty be as engaged as they can be—I’m proud of that,” said Hegland, whose final day as head of the Department of Consumer Sciences within the College of Education and Human Sciences was June 21.
The department has a $2.1 million budget with 235 undergraduates, eight graduate students and 10 faculty plus SDSU Extension and aviation staff.
“I enjoyed working with the faculty. I hired everybody except one person. It was a very good group connection despite the diversity of programs,” said Hegland. “As department head, I proudly led the most diverse department on campus. Consumer sciences includes apparel merchandising, aviation education, consumer affairs and hospitality management as well as four stand-alone minors—events and facilities administration, financial counseling, leadership, and leadership and management of nonprofit organizations.
“In 2015, I helped transition a very successful and accredited interior design program into the newly formed School of Design.”
The School of Design is within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Other programs in the school are architecture, studio art, graphic design and landscape architecture.
Jill Thorngren, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, said, “Jane Hegland is a colleague and friend who will be dearly missed. Always up for a challenge, Jane brought together and led one of the most diverse units on campus. She oversaw first-time and continuing accreditations in aviation education, hospitality management and interior design.
“Jane’s research in textiles education and development spanned several continents and saw her travel the world to promote economic and environmental sustainability. Her commitment to excellence, student success and faculty development will have a lasting impact. I wish Jane all the best in her retirement.”
A world traveler
Hegland has also been heavily involved in international work. She made 23 trips to 16 countries between 1996 and 2015. While “they were all great,” there is one that goes into a special category, Hegland said.
She was contracted to conduct a program review in the Department of Consumer Sciences at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. When she arrived in October 2015, there was unrest on campus. “We were in lockdown for a few days … That was a little bit strange, but interesting. Nobody got hurt. The visit went fine,” she said.
Other trips include visiting Mayan weavers in Guatemala, researching small apparel and textile businesses in India, Thailand, South Africa and Russia, mapping out a travel study opportunity for SDSU students to visit Norway, taking a faculty-led trip to Indonesia and joining a professional travel study experience to Uzbekistan.
Making a better world
Stepping outside of her academic interests, Hegland also became involved in the sustainability movement.
“In September 2007, an informal group was formed at SDSU: Project Sustainability @ SDSU. I brought together a group of faculty, students, administrators and community members interested in promoting wide-ranging sustainable and socially responsible practices at SDSU.
“There were scientists conducting exciting research on sustainability, building systems, local food systems, water use, landscape design and interior design as well as changes in purchasing practices, curriculum development, waste management and alternative forms of energy.
“This group, and its specific goals and recommendations, stimulated campus conversations and guided decision-making, resource use and future action in all parts of the university.
“It took some time for these efforts to gain traction, but because a small group of people showed up for a conversation in 2007, the SDSU campus, the city of Brookings and the state of South Dakota are remarkably different environments today than in 2007,” Hegland said.
Kattelmann’s duties expand
The willingness of colleagues to work hard and commit to making a difference are impressions Hegland will carry with her.
She is being joined in retirement by her husband, Steve, a fee-only financial planner. They plan to stay in Brookings and look for areas to volunteer.
The Department of Consumer Sciences will be integrated with the Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences, which is headed by Kendra Kattelmann.