Outgoing Goucher College president José Bowen. Photo courtesy of Goucher College.

After four years at the helm of Goucher College in Towson, José Bowen announced today in an email to the campus community and alumni that he’s stepping down after the current academic year.

“I believe it is time for a change of direction for me personally, as I remain deeply passionate about my research, scholarship, music and teaching,” Bowen wrote in a letter to the liberal arts college’s community. In particular, he said he’s finishing a book about his time spent at Goucher College, which will add up to five years by the time he leaves next June.

Bowen’s tenure at Goucher has included the launch of a $100 million capital campaign, which Bowen wrote is now more than halfway fulfilled, as well as replacement of student housing and dining facilities, the addition of a video application option for prospective students and consecutive years of minimal or no tuition increases. It’s also included flat or declining enrollment—a plight shared by other small area colleges and universities—and, more recently, some controversial cuts of nearly a dozen majors, among them music, art, math and education programs.

“Goucher is well positioned to continue on the path we have undertaken together,” Bowen wrote. “Until my last day, I will continue to make every decision with only the best interests of Goucher and all of Goucher’s students, faculty, staff, and alumnae/i in mind.”

An accomplished music educator, Bowen began his career in teaching as director of jazz ensembles at Stanford University in 1982, and 12 years later was made the founding director of the University of Southampton’s Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music. He returned to the United States in 1999, and held positions at Georgetown University, Miami University and Southern Methodist University’s top-ranked music school before coming to Goucher College in 2014.

“We know that President Bowen and his wife Kimberly have to make the decisions about their personal and professional lives that are best for them,” said Goucher College board of trustees chair Ruth Lenrow in a statement. “We thank them for their tremendous contributions to Goucher and wish them both the best as they move forward into their next chapter. Goucher’s course has been set and we are well positioned for the future.”

A search committee will pick Goucher College’s next president, which will be its 16th. Bowen’s last day is June 30, 2019.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...