New VPAA sees growth, camaraderie at Washburn

Fresh Face Robin Bowen, VPAA, sees much growth and potential already taking place on campus and is excited to be a part of it.

Travis Perry

Robin Bowen isn’t the type of person to stay cooped up in her office. As the new vice president of academic affairs for Washburn University, she thinks it is very important she connect with the campus.

“I get the best sense of what’s going on around campus when I walk around,” said Bowen, who added that she will periodically pop in on faculty or students to talk with them.

After being at Washburn for just less than a month, Bowen believes that while she has learned much about the university, she still has a long road ahead of her.

“Every day I’m on a learning curve,” said Bowen. “I feel a little bit like I’m drinking out of a fire hose.”

Previously dean of the school of graduate and professional studies at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., Bowen has been with Washburn since July 30. Bowen applied for the position of VPAA after being encouraged by friends and colleagues and believed she was ready for the challenge. In part, Bowen believed the administrative knowledge and unique outlook on leadership she acquired while at Rockhurst will help her as she begins her new position.

“Leadership isn’t in the title,” said Bowen. “Everybody every day in almost every action that they make chooses to be a leader or not to be a leader by the way that they respond.”

From the work being done on Stoffer Science Hall to the Business School renovations, Bowen was very excited by all the growth happening on campus, saying it would produce more opportunities for both current and future students as well as alumni.

At Rockhurst since 1992, Bowen said after only four days on campus, she was surprised to feel she had already become attached to Washburn, citing the people she has met as the factor making her feel so comfortable.

“The reason that I felt so welcome was more global,” said Bowen. “Everyone was calling me by name very early, I’ve not run into anyone yet who’s been mean.”

Bowen earned a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Kansas in 1982 and a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Arkansas in 1983. Bowen received her doctorate in higher education administration from Texas Tech University in 1988.