Bowman named new Mary Louise Petersen Chair in Higher Education

Bowman named new Mary Louise Petersen Chair in Higher Education

Nick Bowman, professor of  higher education and student affairs at the University of Iowa, has been selected as the new Mary Louise Petersen Chair in Higher Education in the UI College of Education. He will begin the position Aug. 19.

Nick Bowman
Nick Bowman

Bowman, who joined the UI Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies faculty in 2015, also serves as the director of the  UI Center for Research on Undergraduate Education.

The center produces high-quality research intended to inform scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and the general public about the impact and value of higher education. CRUE was founded in 2005 by Ernie Pascarella, one of the most cited scholars in higher education research, and Elizabeth Whitt.

Bowman will be the second person to hold this prestigious title. Pascarella, who will retire at the end of the spring 2020 semester, was the first endowed chair.

“Ernie Pascarella is one of the greatest scholars in the history of higher education research, and he leaves an amazing legacy for our program, department, college, and university,” Bowman says. “I’m deeply honored to serve in this position that he has held for more than 20 years.”

The endowed chair honors Mary Louise Petersen (BA, ’51, retired), UI College of Education alumna, past Board of Regents president, and UI donor, who has had a long and distinguished career in higher education and public service. Petersen graduated summa cum laude in 1951 from the UI College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in science education. She also was awarded an honorary doctorate from the UI in May 2013.

Bowman received a Ph.D. in psychology and education as well as two master’s degrees in education from the University of Michigan. He also graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

His research uses a social psychological lens to explore key topics in higher education, including student success, diversity, undergraduate admissions, rankings, and research methodology. Since 2009, he has written more than 80 journal articles, 20 book chapters, and 100 peer-reviewed conference papers. His work has appeared in Review of Educational ResearchEducational ResearcherAmerican Educational Research JournalPersonality and Social Psychology BulletinSocial Psychological and Personality Science, and other top outlets. He is also an author of How College Affects Students (Volume 3), which synthesized over 1,800 studies on the impact of college.

Bowman’s awards and recognitions include being named the UI Scholar of the Year in 2018, as well as receiving a number of national awards. He also is a frequent expert source for state and national media outlets.

Sixteen faculty and graduate students are currently affiliated with CRUE, which is a premier interdisciplinary center for conducting and disseminating high-quality research on the impact of college and the conditions for fostering student success.


Lois J. Gray, College of Education, 319-335-5347