Meet Kate Bowersox, new director of the Center for Digital Education

  • March 18, 2024
  • By Jill Young Miller
  • 4 minute read

Kate Bowersox joined Olin’s state-of-the-art Center for Digital Education as its new director in November.

She came from Columbia College, in Columbia, Missouri. There she held positions with direct responsibilities in online education, most recently as the associate provost of academic operations.

The CDE is the support mechanism behind Olin’s online programs. It has world-class recording facilities where faculty and the CDE team create digital content and engaging learning experiences.  

Olin launched the CDE in late 2019, shortly before the pandemic.

"Olin’s commitment to curricular innovation and digital education remains steadfast," Dean Mike Mazzeo said recently, "particularly as we embark on our enhanced Flex MBA program—a program that exemplifies how the flexibility of multiple modalities of learning meets today’s students where they are."

What attracted you to Olin?

Bowersox: Olin has a strong reputation for educating current and future leaders. The mission, vision and values of Olin strongly resonate with me. It has been a pleasure to see those values really lived by in the short time that I’ve been here.

Additionally, to see the commitment that Olin has made to digital education by the creating the CDE is highly attractive. Not all institutions have or are willing to intentionally make digital education a strategic priority. The fact that Olin has and continues to do so is such a differentiator and exciting for a new person coming in to see.

How does the Center for Digital Education impress you?

There is a lot that impresses me about the CDE—the quality of the courses, the infrastructure of the center, etc. But it is the staff of the CDE and the committed faculty that impress me the most.

The individuals who work here are without a doubt the biggest asset of the CDE. They are dedicated, hard-working and creative. It’s clear that they care about what they do and the students in Olin. The strong reputation and quality of the online programs and courses in Olin are direct result of the exceptional CDE staff and faculty that have worked to create them.

What’s your background?

I am originally from a small farm town in northeast Kansas. I am talking a one-stoplight town. Both my parents grew up on farms but ended up in the K-12 education space: My dad was a school superintendent, and my mom was a high school special education teacher. I knew I had a passion for education, but I didn’t want to be in the K-12 space.

It was my passion for learning and innovation that drove me toward the digital space in higher education. 

Kate Bowersox

I went to college and then, after graduating with a bachelor’s in political science, I had a brief stint in HR. I realized HR probably wasn’t for me, so I decided to get my master’s. I ended up with two—one in international relations and another in international business—in my effort to truly understand the world from different lenses.

It was my passion for learning and innovation that drove me toward the digital space in higher education. I’ve been in it for over the past decade, which has been an exciting time. I most recently came from Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, where I held a variety of positions, all of which had direct responsibilities in online education. Most recently I served as the associate provost of academic operations.

What’s your philosophy about access to education?

My philosophy is pretty basic: Quality, innovative education should be accessible. This is what I’m most passionate about.

The digital education landscape is much different than a decade ago due in large part to the pandemic. Students now expect a certain level of accessibility and flexibility, and institutions have had to adapt to these expectations.

It’s important to meet students where they are and understand that they, especially adult learners, have a million different competing priorities and face roadblocks. These students need flexibility but are also hungry to learn and grow. It is an important mission to foster this type of learning in new and exciting ways.

Anything you can share yet about your hopes for the future of the CDE?

I hope to continue the great mission of creating quality, innovative educational experiences in new, collaborative and meaningful ways. Again, the digital education landscape is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve to be a leader in this space is key.

I am also looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate and support various initiatives and projects in Olin and WashU-wide. The CDE has such a strong institutional reputation, and finding new avenues to leverage that reputation to become an even stronger resource to the WashU community is one that I am excited to explore further.

What do you like to do in your off time?

I have two small children—Betty, 1, and Nora, 3. Most of my free time goes to wrangling tiny humans. My house is pure chaos most of the time but also a lot of fun! We love to travel, and I would be my happiest sitting on the beach reading a good book for hours.

About the Author

Jill Young Miller

Jill Young Miller

As research translator for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to highlight professors’ research by “translating” their work into stories. Before coming to Olin, I was a communications specialist at WashU’s Brown School. My background is mostly in newspapers including as a journalist for Missouri Lawyers Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida.

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