The Department of Consumer Science was founded in July 1976 from three former departments within the School of Consumer and Family Sciences: Clothing and Textiles, Home Management and Family Economics, and Housing, Equipment, and Environmental Design.


The next 10 years were spent developing new programs and making improvements to the facilities. In 1986, for the first time, all faculty and staff were located in the same building. Previously, the environmental design faculty and a few others were located in an auxiliary building on Russell Street.

Two undergraduate programs, consumer affairs and financial counseling and planning were added. The undergraduate program in clothing and textiles evolved into apparel technology (now called apparel design and technology) and a non-product specific program in retail management. The environmental design program merged with the interior design program in the Department of Creative Arts (now known as the Department of Visual and Performing Arts) resulting in a jointly sponsored interior design program. In July 1992, the interior design program was wholly transferred to the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. In fall 1994, two more undergraduate programs were added: sales and sales management and small business. The sales and sales management program was renamed selling and sales management in 1999 and continues to be one of the fastest growing programs at the University. In 1999, the consumer affairs program was incorporated into several of the other programs within the department. The small business program components were also incorporated into other programs within the department. In the fall of 2003, the family business minor was added to the curriculum.

Department Heads

Fern H. Rennebolm
Holly L. Schrank
Richard Widdows
Richard A. Feinberg
Heikki Rinne
Christine M. Ladisch
Richard A. Feinberg
Richard Widdows
Sugato Chakravarty
Thomas J. Templin

Richard A. Feinberg

July 1976 - June 1982
July 1982 - December 1987
January 1988 - June 1989
July 1989 - July 1997
August 1997 - July 1999
August 1999 - June 2001
July 2001 - July 2002 (Interim)
August 2002 - January 2007
January 2007 - January 2013
January 2013 - July 2015

August 2015 (Interim)

Consumer Science, 812 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-8317

2016 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by CSR

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact CSR at csrwebhelp@purdue.edu.