CSU’s Department of Design and Merchandising has a new face.
Mary Littrell took over as the head of the department earlier
this year after being recruited by CSU.
“The faculty was very active in recruiting me,” Littrell said.
“I was looking for something different and challenging.”
Littrell came to CSU from Iowa State University, where she was a
professor for 24 years.
“I’m not teaching, but I’ve enjoyed the students I’ve met,”
Littrell said. “I like the mountains because I’m from the flatlands
Littrell’s work for global fair trade has been recognized
“I work with five of the biggest companies in the U.S. and we
just finished up doing a market survey of their customers. They had
never done one before,” Littrell said. “I’m also writing a book
about a group of artisans in India.”
One of Littrell’s proudest moments came when she was named the
Mary B. Welch Distinguished Professor in 2003, ISU’s highest
“There were (only) three women in the group before me,” Littrell
said. “I was really honored and pleased to add to the gender
Now Littrell is taking that passion and transferring it to CSU
and the faculty in the Department of Design and Merchandising are
excited to have her on board.
“She’ll help focus on our research efforts and help secure more
grant money,” said Craig Birdsong, a professor in interior design.
“She’ll also provide vision for the department.”
As head of the department, Littrell will do administrative work
as well as work on programs.
“Right now is a period of listening,” she said. “I’m getting to
know the faculty, programs and budget.”
However, Littrell has many plans for the department, including
giving students different opportunities.
“I want to broaden our collaboration, particularly with
businesses and the industry. I’d like to bring more people here, so
students can network,” Littrell said.
Still, her goals are not simply focused on campus
“I want to expand the international opportunities for students
and start an advisory board that would come to campus and advise on
programs and interact with students,” Littrell said.
Besides helping students, Littrell would also like to expand
faculty research, one of the main reasons faculty members are happy
to have her fill the position.
“She’s well-recognized in our field in terms of research and
leadership,” said Karen Hyllegard, an associate professor in the
department. “We’re very lucky to have her as department head.”