CSU Service 1973 to 2001
Faculty, Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Husband, Leigh E. Towill
I had a very interesting childhood growing up on a number of Native American reservations in both Colorado and South Dakota, as well as a suburb of Washington D.C. I am proud to be the third of four generations of native born Coloradoans.
My first experiences at CSU, then “Aggies”, were in the 1950s when my family gathered in Fort Collins for Homecoming. This resulted in my becoming the third of four generations to receive degrees from CSU. Our campus has always been a part of my experience. While it has changed and grown in many ways, the Oval stands as a special place. Whether in the filtered sunlight of the quiet early mornings, the gray-lavender shadows on snowy days, or the deep gold of busy autumn afternoons, it represents CSU in my mind. I still walk my dog there on early weekend mornings. It is a special place.
Ph.D.- Colorado State University (1991) Vocational Education-Career Development & Counseling. Dissertation: Social Support and School Completion of Pregnant and Parenting Teenagers
M.S.- Northern State University of South Dakota (1970) Guidance & School Counseling, Secondary School Teaching Certification, Thesis: Attitudes Toward Marijuana Use by High School Students.
B.S-Colorado State University (1969) Child Development and Family Relationships (with coursework in art, history, & sciences)
- Head Start-Assistant Teacher – South Dakota
- Middle School Counselor – Wisconsin
- Assistant Training Director – Man Power Studies (US Labor Department/CSU Grant)- Denver, Colorado
Through these experiences I gained a deeper appreciation for how the contexts in which people live profoundly influence their development, choices, transitions, and opportunities. Each experience assisted in helping me gain a better understanding of the need to know more about human development as a philosophical and disciplinary foundation for what I believe and practice. This continued to grow throughout my career at CSU and plays a role in the current phase of my life.
CSU Work History
My work at CSU-HDFS was focused on facilitating and advocating for undergraduate students and the quality of their experiences. I taught undergraduate and graduate courses related to adolescent and young adult development, professional skill development, and sequenced courses. I supervised off-campus interns and worked with community agencies. Advising undergraduates was at the heart of what was important to my professional experience. Recognizing that the undergraduate years are times of significant development and change, challenging transitions and decisions, and ever increasing options and pressures was central to my engagement with students, colleagues, and the university community.
My many roles within the Department of Human Development & Family Studies included all positions from instructor to associate professor, a Key Adviser, Off-Campus Internship/Experiential Learning Coordinator, and I supervised HDFS Peer Advisers. I also enjoyed working as a Preview CSU Adviser and participated in extensive College and University committee work related to undergraduate student development.
Throughout my career, I was able to work directly and often closely with most of our undergraduate students as they moved through their degree requirements, program options, and experiential learning opportunities. Over the years, I developed a deep and abiding passion and advocacy for the undergraduate experience and its importance in the development of individuals and the roles they will play in their communities. Thus, being an ongoing part of their undergraduate experiences and attending their graduations were important ways for me to recognize their achievements, challenges, and commitment to the future.
Honors and Awards
- Advising: CSU Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising (1982); CSU Jack E. Cermack Advising Award (2000-2001); AHS Outstanding Adviser Award (2001)
- Teaching: State of Agriculture Board Award for Excellence in Teaching (1995?); AHS Outstanding Teacher Award (1995); CSU Alumni Association Best Teacher Award (2001)
- AHS Undergraduate Commencement Speaker –December, 1995, Speech: “It’s More Than A Piece of Paper”
- A significant experience in my career at CSU was being honored upon earning my PH.D.in December, 1991 at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony by Dr. Ellie Gilfoyle, CSU Vice Provost, who “hooded” me and spoke of my commitment to undergraduate students, as well as my decision to go through the undergraduate ceremony rather than that of the Graduate School. I was honored to a part of this significant “rite of passage” for our college’s undergraduates and their families.
I established the HDFS Key Advising program, established the HDFS undergraduate off campus internship/experiential education program (based on student’s individual goals as integrated with their academic backgrounds and areas of specialization), and incorporated peer advisers within the HDFS Undergraduate Advising Office. These still stand as components of the HDFS Undergraduate program and have served as models or influences for programs across campus.
Philosophy of Teaching and Advising
HDFS is a unique discipline and philosophical grounding for individuals entering fields of education and human/ family services or those going on in allied health or business areas. Thus, it is important that students progressing through their undergraduate studies have opportunities to explore how their values, interests, and aptitudes are integrated with their academic and experiential backgrounds while framing their goals and directions. I was fortunate to be able to work with students individually and in classes as they moved through this, exploring and refining their ideas, and moving toward their futures.
Mentors and Valued Colleagues
My roles and responsibilities in HDFS and at CSU grew over the course of my career at CSU; however, none of these would have been possible without the support of four different department heads and the faculty’s commitment to a strong and growing undergraduate program.
Some of the individuals who played instrumental roles in helping me do this include:
- Margaret Hazaleus, Associate Dean College of Applied Human Sciences
She helped me learn to be a strongly committed advisor, willing to stick with an issue, work within as well as challenge the system, and have a voice.
- Margaret Hanson, Assistant Professor HDFS
She helped me learn to be a creative teacher, using theory and research foundations to build solid and enjoyable (most of the time) learning experiences for large groups of students. She taught me to believe in myself and my ideas.
- Janet Fritz – Professor HDFS
She is a friend and colleague with whom I could discuss ideas and challenges. We shared a deep commitment to undergraduate students and our program.
- Clif Barber – Department Head HDFS, Professor
He is a friend, leader, and colleague whose integrity and strength of character stood as a model for me throughout my career, as I made decisions and met challenges.
What is Jill doing today?
Since retiring I have become more involved with my lifetime interest in art (primarily water media), participating in a range of classes and workshops. For several years I have met weekly with an experimental group of painters who do a great deal of playing with art, solving the problems of the world, and occasionally coming up with good pieces of work. Being a history buff continues to be one of my passions. Choosing new eras to read and study about is an ongoing area of entertainment and learning. Electronic reading now lets me combine historical fiction with what one can learn about real events and people via the internet, more easily giving me the best of both worlds. My husband, Leigh Towill, and I still live in our home in north Ft. Collins with our cats, Welsh corgi, and many gardens. Serving on the Ft. Collins City Council Board for Art in Public Places and working in a range of ways with the new Ft. Collins Museum of Discovery have been ways I now give back to the community that has been my home for most of my life.