Bailey House will be getting a new resident this summer when Professor of History Jeff Bowman begins his four-year tenure as the College’s new Associate Provost on July 1.
It was announced on Monday that Bowman will replace Associate Professor of English and current Associate Provost Ivonne García, who has worked for three years in the Office of the Provost — two in her current position and one as Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
This year marks Bowman’s 20th at Kenyon, during which time he has served as Faculty Chair and Chair of the Department of History. In 2016, Bowman led the search committee for a new dean of students after Hank Toutain retired last year.
In his new role, Bowman will trade a full teaching schedule for administrative duties, serving as a member of President Sean Decatur’s Senior Staff and working with faculty departments and other faculty programs.
Provost Joseph Klesner selected Bowman from a pool of faculty nominees. Klesner said Bowman will bring a lot of experience to this administrative position, given his experience chairing committees. Bowman’s primary duties will include supporting the projects of the Office of the Provost, and Bowman said he foresees interesting challenges. García served with Bowman on the Dean of Students Search Committee and also nominated him as
Faculty Chair. “His experience is just right for this position,” she said. García cited Bowman’s experience as Faculty Chair, a published scholar and a beloved professor as important qualities. “He acts in different groups of people and then has an effect on different groups of people in really positive ways so that he can navigate different audiences or constituencies,” she said.
In his praise for Bowman, Klesner highlighted his devotion to the liberal arts. “He’s very articulate about the power of liberal education,” Klesner said. Bowman earned his undergraduate degree from Carleton College. He also holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in medieval studies from Yale University.
Though he is looking forward to the new position, Bowman said he will miss teaching. The associate provost is a full-time administrative position, and those in the role are typically unable to teach or only teach one course a year. García, meanwhile, said she is very excited about returning to the classroom. She will be on sabbatical for the 2017-2018 academic year to focus on academic projects, including a book about Gothic representations of Cuba by 19th-century U.S. authors, before returning to resume her position on the faculty. Klesner praised García for her time in the position. “She’s somebody whose passion for making Kenyon the most inclusive liberal arts college it can be is just unparalleled,” he said.
García said her time in the position taught her a lot about academic administration, and she is open to exploring administrative leadership positions in the future. As for her accomplishments, she said she is proud of her ability to help clarify academic policy and make it work for students, such as making reading days consecutive instead of broken up.
Bowman is looking forward to the new position and the challenges of the administrative role, especially in light of developing programs at Kenyon like President Decatur’s 2020 Plan. “I’m very excited about it,” Bowman said. “I’m looking forward to working with the other people in that office.”