April 23, 2020
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Jeffrey A. Bowman, professor of history and associate provost at Kenyon, will succeed Joseph L. Klesner as the College’s next provost, effective July 1. Since joining the Kenyon faculty in 1997, Bowman has taken on progressive positions of leadership within the faculty and administration: resident director of the Kenyon-Exeter program, chair of the history department, co-chair of Campus Senate, chair of the Tenure and Promotion Committee, chair of the faculty and most recently associate provost.
“Kenyon’s faculty is second to none in its commitment to undergraduate teaching, and so it is deeply fitting that Jeff Bowman has been named provost,” said President Sean Decatur. “He is a passionate teacher and skillful administrator, intensely committed to the promise of liberal education. I look forward to working with him to fulfill that promise in Kenyon's third century.”
Bowman earned Kenyon’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award in 2012 and held the John B. McCoy-Banc One Distinguished Teaching Professorship from 2003 to 2007. His research interests encompass law and society in the medieval Mediterranean, hagiography and the political power of medieval women. He is committed to promoting and supporting a transdisciplinary, inclusive and global curriculum for the 21st century.
“More than two decades of experience on this campus have shown me that Kenyon faculty and students cultivate the values of liberal education with integrity, intelligence and passion,” said Bowman. “I am convinced that there is no better path forward than an education that cultivates capacities that will serve students regardless of their chosen career or changing circumstances — capacities that include analytical rigor, creativity, generosity of spirit, the ability to communicate clearly, and curiosity about the wider world. And so I am both honored and excited to help move us forward and to continue to serve the faculty and staff members in the academic division; this is a community I deeply respect and admire.”
“The faculty and the curriculum will be in good hands with Jeff Bowman as provost,” said Klesner. “His knowledge of his colleagues and of what and how we teach is incomparable. Jeff has contributed in so many ways to College leadership already that he will hit the ground running. I look forward to working with him on a smooth transition in Bailey House.”
The search for Kenyon’s next provost was chaired by Professor of Economics Kathy Krynski. Professors Bruce Hardy (anthropology), Sarah Heidt ’97 (English), Harry Itagaki (biology), Wendy Singer (history) and Jonathan Tazewell ’84 (drama) also served on the committee.
“The committee and I were pleased with the high quality of the candidates that came forward,” said Krynski. “We received thoughtful and insightful input from faculty and academic administrators, which helped us to refine our vision for the position and to guide our assessment of the candidates. We thank the Kenyon community for their contributions to the search process.”
Bowman holds a doctorate in medieval studies from Yale University; he completed his bachelor’s degree in English at Carleton College. His book, “Shifting Landmarks: Property, Proof, and Dispute in Catalonia around the Year 1000,” won the American Historical Association Premio del Rey Book Prize in 2005.