Former Illinois State University President Al Bowman has been appointed executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).
IBHE Chair Tom Cross noted Bowman’s long history in Illinois higher education in a statement Wednesday announcing his appointment. That includes earning a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University, and an undergraduate degree from Augustana College.
“Dr. Bowman’s strong commitment to excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, and to ensuring access to a high-quality education that is affordable and valued by Illinois’ citizens sets the right tone at a crucial time in the state’s higher education history,” Cross said. “Growing the reputation of Illinois colleges and universities as the first choice for a quality postsecondary education and the development of a world-class workforce will be the board’s No. 1 priority under Dr. Bowman’s leadership.”
Bowman served as ISU’s president from 2003-2013, then stepped down for medical reasons. But he continued teaching part-time at ISU.
Bowman said he plans to tackle the state’s college enrollment crisis, which ranked Illinois second only to New Jersey in the out-migration of traditional freshmen, even before the budget impasse made the problem worse.
“I think the reason it’s being talked about now is that, as the pool of 18-year-olds has shrunk in the Midwest, and as competition has increased for students, there’s a lot of concern that some of the public universities may not be able to meet their enrollment target," Bowman said.
Bowman said he wants to help the governor and legislature understand that such an impasse was harmful and can’t happen again. Bowman will also lead an effort to update IBHE's strategic plan.
Bowman succeeds James Applegate, who resigned earlier this year.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.