Students, faculty, staff, and others who wrote to business school dean Karen Bowerman of California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) this week learned that Bowerman will be stepping down from her position at the university’s College of Business and Public Administration.
In an automatically-generated email sent from Bowerman’s university email address titled “Unavailable at this address,” she wrote, “Because I am separating from the university at the end of the 2010 academic year, I no longer have access to university computers.” An earlier article published on October 8th by CSUSB clarified that indeed Bowerman’s resignation would be effective December 31st of this year.
While the mid-year retirement might lead one to speculate that Bowerman was being forced out, she received ample praise from CSUSB President Albert Karnig. “Karen has been an outstanding dean,” Karnig said. “She’s been an exceptional leader, with extraordinary energy, excellent organizational skills and a clear vision for the future of the college. Her accomplishments range from valuable reaccreditations, thoughtful program development, key personnel recruitment, and the development of vital regional and international linkages.”
In announcing her retirement in October, Bowerman acknowledged that her service to the California State University had been long. “This quarter marks the beginning of my 32nd year in the CSU system, and my seventh year as dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at CSUSB,” said Bowerman. Her remarks did not, however, suggest that she would be uninvolved in other areas of her life. If anything, she suggested that she had projects equally worthy of her attention on the horizon. “I’m very excited to move on,” she said, “to another revitalizing chapter in my life.” Whether this change would mean more time with family or a venture in the private sector was not clear.
Bowerman, a native of Kansas, received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in educational administration, being named the 1979 Distinguished Doctoral Student for Academics, Research, and Service largely for her dissertation entitled “Conflict-Handling by Department Heads in Higher Educational Administration.” She had earlier received a double-major bachelor’s degree in political science and speech from Wichita State University and a master’s degree in communications from the University of Kansas.
Instrumental to the resurgence of the CSUSB business school, Bowerman retires with the MBA program one of the 18 most innovative in the world by European CEO Magazine. As recently as 2006, Entrepreneur Magazine and Princeton Review ranked the MBA entrepreneurship program, which is home to the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship and includes faculty from the Harvard Business School, fourth in the nation.
While the MBA program was beset by concerns over skyrocketing tuition in the last year of Bowerman’s tenure, which culminated in several MBA students filing a class-action lawsuit over allegedly illegal fee increases, the undergraduate programs in business and public administration and the master’s public administration program remain among the most affordable in the nation.
Because heavy rains closed the CSUSB campus on Tuesday, the College of Business and Public Administration was not available for comment. With Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Lee Hanson scheduled to retire in June of next year, it is not immediately apparently who will serve as the interim dean of the College of Business and Public Administration. Among the possibilities is Associate Dean of Graduate and International Programs Frank Lin, who is also a popular professor of information management at the school.