When she was in junior high, Jane Kielb planned on becoming an interior designer.
"My family would visit model homes and I would get ideas for our house," she said. "Then in design school, I learned about the commercial design industry and decided to pursue that career path when I completed my BFA in Interior Design."
Kielb's first job after graduation was in the design department for an office furniture dealership near the Merchandise Mart. She loved working with clients on their office projects and learning about the office design industry. After two years, she became a store planner for the Midwest regional office of Hallmark Cards. For the next 11 years, she designed card and gift stores around the Midwest. She then became an independent designer working on both commercial and residential projects.
During her time at Hallmark, Kielb was named the senior store planner and was responsible for hiring and training new designers and interns.
"Some of the student interns told me that I should think about teaching, since I seemed to enjoy working with them so much," she said. "That lead me to COD as a part-time instructor, which I did for seven years. The combination of part-time teaching and being an independent designer worked very well for me. When a full-time teaching position opened up in 2002, I was fortunate to be selected and have never looked back.
"Our students are fantastic. With 30-plus years of completing various types of design projects, I want to share my experiences with students, including actual challenges that they normally wouldn't learn about in a classroom setting."
Kielb wants her students to have design skills, practical knowledge and industry resources to work in the Interior Design field. This means continually updating classes to keep them current by tracking industry trends, like sustainable design and new technology.
She also is active within the industry. For the Illinois Chapter of the International Interior Design Association, she served as Vice President of Student Affairs, President-Elect and then President. In the latter role, she was responsible for providing leadership in support of the organization’s commitment to promoting the highest level of standards in the interior design industry through education, knowledge and networking opportunities. Kielb also spent seven years juried with the National Council for Interior Design Qualifications, an independent, nonprofit organization of credentialing bodies committed to establishing standards of competence for interior design and interior architecture professionals.
She is continually inspired by the people around her and uses this in her classrooms.
"All of our part-time faculty are working designers with great information and experiences to share," she said. "They are willing to collaborate on achieving our program goals. Our students work hard, and they are succeeding in class and after graduation."