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Connections faculty and staff newsletter
 March 2013

Employee Focus

Employee Focus

Please welcome Mark Bowles, new Assistant Director of Graduate & Adult Admissions.

When did you start working for Columbia College?
Monday, Feb. 4, 2013

What excites you most about working here?
Even after being at Columbia College for just a few days, it is easy to see that the people with whom I work are motivated, enthusiastic and committed to making the admission experience of our students positive and productive - that’s the kind of environment in which I thrive. In fact, it’s an atmosphere that seems to exist campus-wide, and in my experience, that’s a rare thing.

What were you doing previously?
My training and experiences are in K-12 public education; I was a classroom teacher here in Columbia Public Schools (seventh- and ninth-grade science at Jefferson Junior High School) and then served as a building administrator (middle school assistant principal and principal) in Perryville, Mo., and a central office administrator (assistant superintendent for human resources and secondary education, and then superintendent of schools) in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Most recently, I was the Director of Education and Youth Programs at New McKendree United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mo.

Where are you from originally?
Liberty, Mo.

Who or what has influenced you professionally?
The classroom has always been my first love; excellent teachers inspire me. My choice to pursue administrative jobs was fueled by a desire to be in a position from which I could influence practices to remove obstacles so that teachers can do what they do best: Teach.

Where are you based?
My wife and I live here in Columbia, Mo., on the north side of I-70 just off of Stadium Blvd. It has turned out to be a great location with quick access to the highway and, as a result, to the main east-west thoroughfares through town. It gives us access to most of the places we need to get to in just a few minutes. I attended Mizzou for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, so returning to Columbia has been a homecoming of sorts. In addition, two of my three children are in higher education here in Columbia, and it’s wonderful to be a safe haven for them when they need a quiet place to study or a home-cooked meal.

Tell us about your family.
Melanie and I have been married for 8 years. She teaches sixth grade at Smithton Middle School here in Columbia, and, in addition to being a master teacher, is the polar opposite of the “evil stepmother” stereotype - loved and embraced by my three children. Zachary, 24, is a second-year medical student at Mizzou; Kate, 22, is a graduate student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in school counseling; Anna, 20, is a third-year undergrad at Mizzou. Melanie’s daughter, Jill, 28, lives in Camden, Tenn. with her husband and three sons. Melanie also has a granddaughter in Camden by her son who died last year. Our dog, a goldendoodle named Risseygirl with a deep, loud bark that stands in stark contrast to her loving nature, keeps our house safe during the day while we are working.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Golf, camping, canoeing, card and board games

Favorite book and/or author?
The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter. I also love rereading A Nasty Bit of Rough by former professional golfer-turned-commentator David Feherty and have recently enjoyed reading several of the Jack Reacher novels.

Favorite food?
Anything that Melanie cooks (except she has to cut back on the cayenne pepper!). I have a crockpot beef stroganoff recipe that I love; otherwise, Melanie and I are especially fond of Mexican food.

Favorite type of music?
My musical tastes are eclectic, although I especially like jazzy stuff and ’70s funk. During the past 10 years or so, I have enjoyed a growing appreciation for contemporary Christian rock.

Favorite sports team?
Because of my father’s lifelong close ties to William Jewell College (student, athletic team physician, trustee), I have an enduring sweet spot for the NAIA basketball tournament, so I expect I will quickly transfer my loyalties to the Cougars men’s and women’s teams. Being a Mizzou alum, I love to follow Tiger sports as well.

Tell us something about yourself not many people know.
I am the youngest of four boys, so I learned early how to take a punch and when to shut up. Constantly trying to catch up and compete with my big brothers helped shape my competitive and stubborn nature.