Thorngren named dean of SDSU College of Education and Human Sciences

The College of Education and Human Sciences at South Dakota State University named Jill M. Thorngren as its new dean. She began her duties June 22. Thorngren comes to SDSU from Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. where she spent twelve years as a member of the MSU faculty.

Thorngren replaced David Hilderbrand who had served as interim dean since July 2009. The College of Education and Human Sciences combined the Colleges of Education and Counseling and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, effective with the 2009-2010 academic year. The new college also added the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, creating a college that serves approximately 2,100 students in fifteen undergraduate majors and twelve graduate degree tracks.

Thorngren has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education, a Master of Counseling in mental health counseling and a Ph.D. in counselor education and counseling, all from Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. She also holds professional licenses as a clinical counselor and marriage and family therapist and has fifteen years of clinical practice. Thorngren came to MSU in 1999. She became an interim assistant dean in 2005 before assuming the administrative post of associate dean in 2007.

Overseeing centralized functions of the MSU college gave her experience in budget management, hiring, staff supervision, and professional development opportunities, she says, including working with faculty and administers through planning for a current potential cut in state appropriations for FY2012. She also worked with numerous state education, counseling, and social work agencies.

She says her experience collaborating with a variety of groups will pave the way for the EHS college to serve the University’s land-grant mission to teach, research, and work with statewide agencies like Extension offices and Native American reservations.

“Working with couples and families has taught me the importance of good communication and finding common ground,” says Thorngren.

“I use the same philosophy in higher education. As an administrator, it is my job to communicate the objectives of higher education and to help build the connections that make it successful.”

Thorngren grew up on a farm and ranch in Rigby, Idaho. She is married to Greg Holdeman, a builder and general contractor.

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