During his first day running the Rogers State University Bartlesville campus, Dr. Bruce McGowan could be spotted cleaning up trash on the sidewalk in front of RSU’s downtown Bartlesville campus.
The move was indicative both of his desire to “sweat the small stuff,” as well as to demonstrate his strong belief in the power of servant leadership in his new role as Associate Vice President for RSU’s Bartlesville campus.
“Everyone is capable of pitching in to improve our campus and our community, and I wanted to clearly show that I was not above getting my hands dirty by picking up trash,” he said. “I wanted to send the message that Bartlesville and the RSU campus are something to be proud of, and we each have a part to play in making it stronger.”
McGowan joined the RSU family on Nov. 1 as part of his distinguished career in higher education. He most recently worked for the past eight years as Chief Operating Officer and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Langston University-Tulsa campus. Prior to that, he served as director of Academic Outreach Programs and Associate Professor at Langston University and its School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. In 2005-2006, he worked for Alcorn State University (Mississippi) as Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Associate Professor in the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences, and later as Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
RSU President Dr. Larry Rice said the university was fortunate to attract a candidate of Dr. McGowan’s caliber.
“Dr. McGowan has been a dynamic force for change at each of his previous stops and has brought positive energy to each of the campuses and communities he served,” Rice said. “At RSU, he hit the ground running from his first day, and he’s bringing a lot of enthusiasm to the Bartlesville campus. His energy is infectious and I look forward to working with him on achieving RSU Bartlesville’s full potential.”
Dr. McGowan earned his Ph.D. in education, M.S. in counselor education, and B.B.A. in management, all from Mississippi State University. His first jobs in higher education were as a graduate teaching assistant and a curriculum writer at Mississippi State where he developed statewide secondary and postsecondary vocational-technical curricula. He later served as an adjunct instructor for his alma mater.
His diverse research and consulting interests involve teaching and learning styles research, water quality, project evaluation and monitoring, workforce training and development, rural poverty, learner-centered teaching, correctional education, and obesity among urban dwellers. He is a military veteran and served eight years in the United States Army Reserve as a 1st Lieutenant.
In addition to his organizational leadership, Dr. McGowan also has been instrumental in grant-writing totaling nearly $6 million dollars, including federal, state, and corporate funding. In 2016, he worked with the City of Tulsa to secure $16.3 million through a city sales tax incentive to construct a new 35,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art health professions complex located in downtown Tulsa.
His community work includes serving as a county commissioner for economic development, as well as a board member for the Museum of Jewish Art, Urban League, a youth sports organization, and two local public and charter schools. He also actively served on various business and education task forces for the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce.
He and his wife Orlenthea, who is a professor of early childhood education at Langston, have five children (Summer, Jonathan, Zoe, Zach, and Luke) and four grandchildren (Brianna, Brooklynn, Elijah and Taylor).
“The Bartlesville community welcomed me with open arms, and I am looking forward to making great contributions here in Bartlesville,” he said. “The ongoing revitalization in the Bartlesville area is immediately noticeable, and education is a crucial component to this community’s success moving forward. I truly look forward to helping be a catalyst for Bartlesville’s future growth and development.”