The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Second dean candidate visits to hilltop

Jose Bowen, the second of three Meadows School of the Arts dean finalist candidates, concluded his two-day visit on campus in separate group sessions with students and faculty.

During his opening remarks to the faculty, Bowen presented four topics that matter to him in an arts school: diversity, technology, entrepreneurship and community.

He defined diversity in the context of an arts school. “This should be the place on campus with the most open minds in thoughts, ideas, artistic expression, etc,” he said.

Technology should facilitate dialogue, not stifle it, Bowen said, adding that it’s for this reason that professors choose to post their PowerPoint presentations online before class. He said when technology is used in this way students can come to class prepared to discuss the material, instead of the professor wasting time regurgitating the slides.

Bowen said entrepreneur skills should be taught to students as a part of their undergraduate requirements. He believes students should leave school with an understanding not only of their majors, but also how they can apply them in the real world.

“Knowledge by itself is useless,” Bowen said, transitioning into his fourth and final value: community.

As his last point, Bowen stressed community “really matters in a school like this [an arts school].”

Bowen, who currently deans the School of Fine Arts at the University of Miami (OH), said he likes the complexity of the Meadows school, which he defined by the variety of majors and degrees offered. He also is impressed with the dedication demonstrated by students and faculty.

When asked what he would like to see change, Bowen said Meadows needs a renovation, especially the dance studios, he added.

Asked how he would bridge the gap between the communications and arts divisions, he suggested on the spot opening an additional office in Umphrey Lee to use once per week.

Similar concerns were brought up during his meeting with students. Some students thought Bowen talked a lot about the fine and performing arts and not as much about the communication side of Meadows.

Art, as he defined, is his shorthand for communication.

“It’s all about communicating a message and looking for commonalities in an audience,” he said, adding that when he used the word art, he was referring to all Meadows majors.

As for Bowen’s experience in fundraising, he said he allocates about 20 percent of his time to fundraising for Miami. In order to properly fundraise, Bowen said, you must find the overlay between what you want and need for your school and what those who can provide the money want – their passions.

“I’ll be your chief cheerleader,” Bowen said to students.

And once Bowen has raised the money, how does he decide to spend it?

“By knowing that it was the best decision I could make based on the information and resources I had – that helps me sleep at night,” he said.

A failure for Bowen would be accepting the position, if he were offered it, knowing that there wasn’t enough money to meet his goals for the school.

“I would need to know if what’s being asked can happen,” he said.

He then joked, “Sadly, all of you are here. I have a choice.”

Touching on politics, Bowen said higher education faculty is heavily criticized as leaning left. But, this doesn’t mean that faculty cannot separate politics from classroom discussion. “You have to show students that you are tolerant and open enough to hear all ideas,” he said.

Politics aside, Bowen sees the $33 million Algur H. Meadows Foundation grant to Meadows as not only good for the university monetarily, but also for its national exposure. “Everybody is talking it,” adding that SMU as a prospect for the George W. Bush library attracts similar attention.

In closing, one student asked, “If you were a food, what type would you be?”

“Some sort of pepper,” Bowen said, “one that spices you up and makes you sort of uncomfortable.”

Bowen has a Ph,D. in musicology and humanities, a master’s in music composition and humanities, and a bachelor’s in chemistry, all from Stanford University.

Before he arrived at Miami in 2004, Bowen taught at Stanford, University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and Georgetown University. Miami is the first school in which he has held the position of dean.

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