Last July, Holy Names University welcomed Dr. Kim Bowers to campus as the new Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Most recently, Dr. Bowers was the Chair of English, History, and Political Science at the University of Saint Francis in Indiana. She holds an MA in Theatre Studies and a PhD in English, and brings a wealth of experience along with great enthusiasm for academic collaboration to campus. After her first month at HNU, we sat down with Dr. Bowers for an interview to introduce her to our campus community.
What are your impressions of our campus and community so far?
There is a real love for this institution and it is palpable. I started in July, and even though it was the middle of the summer, a lot of people came by to meet me. Every person matters here. I’m really impressed by how much work so many staff and faculty members are willing to do to serve each student.
There is a Catholic tradition in education to pursue the truth, ask questions, and listen to a variety of voices. I appreciate the diversity of Oakland and HNU, and I appreciate our social justice mission and inclusivity.
Tell us about your academic interests.
My academic home is in feminist literature and theory. This is the root of all of my knowledge. I am also interested in community-based learning and environmental humanities, which is the study of the environment through the lens of literature and art—in addition to biology. I feel that taking the time to see challenges from a diversity of lenses helps us find solutions.
What do you enjoy about your work as a dean?
I’m learning about the many great things our faculty members are already doing, and I’m excited to support them more. When it comes to the School of Arts and Sciences, I see these disciplines as naturally connected. I worked in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Saint Francis, where I team-taught an environmental sciences course with a scientist. We examined and communicated about the same challenges so differently. The biology majors and literature majors paid attention to different things and brought so many different things to class. I see a lot of potential in this type of collaborative learning.
Do you have any plans for the School of Arts and Sciences that you’d like to share with our community?
I’d like to make more of a connection between my school and the Oakland community. I will also seek opportunities to facilitate learning across disciplines. I love that we have an Interdisciplinary Studies degree for those students who want to shape their education around multiple passions and strengths.