Education law scholar named associate dean for academic, student affairs

August 26, 2019

Kristine L. Bowman, a leading scholar of education law, has been appointed associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Education at Michigan State University.

Bowman stepped into the role, overseeing matters of curriculum, advising and accreditation for undergraduate and graduate students, on August 26, 2019 for a five-year term.

Kristine L. Bowman

Since 2007, Bowman has been a faculty member in the MSU College of Law, where she recently served as associate and then vice dean for academic affairs. As an attorney earlier in her career, she represented and provided counsel to school and district leaders on topics related to desegregation, student discipline and the First Amendment.

“When I was in law school, I discovered a passion for the idea that law can be a tool to improve access to strong public education for all children,” she said. “I’m really excited to continue academic and student affairs work in a leading college of education, where I can facilitate student success and have an even greater impact on the issues I care most about.”

Her position covers responsibilities handled by two college administrators who are preparing to retire, Michael Sedlak and Susan Dalebout.

Bowman has long been involved in the College of Education as an associated faculty member in the former Education Policy Center at MSU. She has collaborated with Education Policy Ph.D. students as well as faculty. She will now have joint faculty appointments in the Department of Educational Administration, as part of the Education Policy program, and the College of Law.

Her own scholarship centers on racial/ethnic equity in K-12 schools as well as free speech, including on college campuses. Among recent work, she has written two amicus briefs on the Detroit right to literacy lawsuit, one with Professor David Arsen leading to a forthcoming article. She is editing the Oxford Handbook of Education Law.

“I was impressed with Professor Bowman’s approach to academic leadership, starting with values and goals, asking questions, and using results of pilot tests to make improvements,” said Dean Robert Floden. “As the search committee noted, she has a record as an effective collaborator, with a deep commitment to equity, and a capacity to engage with the intricacies of academic programs and policies.”

Vision for students

Bowman will be completing the Academic Leadership Program of the Big Ten Academic Alliance during the 2019-20 year.

As an administrator in the College of Law from 2015-18, she led efforts to become academically integrated with MSU. She also was a senior advisor to the provost in 2018.

Bowman said this background makes her well-suited to advocate for College of Education student needs, both within the college and across campus. She is focused on addressing issues of equity and well-being through what she referred to as the “invisible core”—the work of advising, program development, advising, professional licensing and other key elements that support a positive student learning experience.

College of Education leaders reporting to Bowman include Corey Drake, director of teacher preparation, and Kristy Dumont, director of undergraduate student affairs.

She plans to meet with many different people within the college to gain insight on what’s most important, and where improvements can be made to prepare students–and the college itself–for the future.

“I look forward to the opportunity to help this college continue to move in amazing directions,” she said.

Related link

Hear Bowman talk about the Detroit right to literacy lawsuit in this video brief.