Meet the Director

Colleagues, Students, Alumni, and Staff,

Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson

Sheldon Ekland-Olson

When I agreed to become director, I did so with the firm belief that the School of Human Ecology possessed the strong potential to become one of the most innovative educational and research enterprises on campus. Our faculty are talented and in pursuit of important problems. They include some of the most innovative and effective teachers to be found on campus. Our students are bold and have bright plans for the future. We are supported by marvelous alumni.

What are the next steps? After numerous conversations I have had with many of you, I offer the basic outline below. These steps are organized around three questions: How do we prepare students with broad perspective and core skill sets? How do we build on existing strengths to advance research programs and a curriculum that is science based and human focused? How do we design innovative curricular offerings that yield demanding, innovative programs and expanded life opportunities.
I offer these ideas as a starting point. As always, the devil is in the details. I seek your advice. For those of you with a stake in the future of the School of Human Ecology, for those of you who like to engage such program building endeavors, I ask, “What have I missed?”

We strive to be conscientious stewards of our many gifts and strengths. We will use the “Next Steps” outlined below, modified with your input, as the standard for decision-making. If you have additions, deletions, or other suggestions, please send them to me at

With continuing thanks, your comments are welcome and hereby solicited.

Sheldon Ekland-Olson,
Director, School of Human Ecology

Next Steps for the School of Human Ecology

Preparing students with broad perspective and core skill sets

  • Science and math
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative application of basic knowledge
  • Entrepreneurial mind set
  • Global awareness

Building on strength — Science based, human focused

  • Nutrition and health
  • Family and child development
  • Creative design
  • Merchandising and business planning
  • Conserving heritage
  • Innovative materials
  • Sustainable energy
  • Internships
  • International Experience

Designing innovative programs

  • Honors programs to attract and educate the best and brightest
  • Early exposure to core endeavors
  • Broaden and strengthen internships
  • Broaden and strengthen study-abroad
  • Launch campus-wide interdisciplinary degrees