Faculty Stories: Jane Ostergaard

Jane Ostergaard

Program: Architecture

As a high school student, Jane Ostergaard was looking for a career field with specific problems and goals.

"Architecture gave me that situation; it is both very technical and very creative," she said. "It is one of the few fields that is equally left- and right-brained."

But Ostergaard didn't begin her career as a teacher. Instead, she spent 25 years as an architect, both as the principal of her own firm and as an employee of various architectural firms in Chicago and in Albuquerque, N.M. She worked on many different kinds of projects -- residences, condos and apartments, schools, churches, and even prisons.

It was during graduate school that she began teaching.

"To my surprise, I found that I enjoyed it," she said.

When she moved to the Chicago area from New Mexico, Ostergaard applied for part-time positions at a number of different community colleges in the area. She taught for a number of years at both Oakton and COD before being hired as a full-time faculty member here. And the move into the classroom has been worth it.

"I enjoy watching students get excited by architecture and their projects," Ostargaard said. "I especially enjoy working with students during their introduction to the field when they first learn to think and see as an architect."

Ostargaard is inspired by exciting architecture -- for example, the Olympics in Beijing showcased the "Bird's Nest" stadium by Herzog and de Meuron and the CCTV Building by Rem Koolhaas, both of which she considers dramatic forms that incorporate innovative technology. But she's also inspired by her students.

"Virtually all of them work while taking a full load of classes," she said. "Their commitment inspires me to make our program the best it can be so that they can fulfill their goals.

"I hope that all students leave my classes with an appreciation for architecture. For the students that complete our program, I hope they leave with a strong base to continue their growth and education whether it is in school or working in architecture or construction management."

More about the Architecture program