Kim Bowen

Location: Jackson, MI
Position, Organization: Adjunct Professor, Spring Arbor University
Major/Graduation: German, 1974

Look for ways that you can interact with people from other cultures—to know people from other cultures.

What I currently do:
After retiring from teaching high school German at Northwest Community schools in Jackson, MI, I was asked to help start a German program at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor. I agreed, and this is my 5th year at the University. I’m also currently serving on the College of Arts & Letters Alumni Board.

We’ve heard that you recently received an award from Spring Arbor.
“Yes, I received the Distinguished Adjunct Professor award. Nominations are made by faculty and students. The University reviews them and selects the recipient. It’s truly an honor, because it is from both students and faculty. I was also recently announced as the new Chair of the World Languages Department.”

What do you see as the importance of a liberal arts education?
“I think that liberal arts is the threshold to any career. Regardless of whether you are going into business or science, there are some very important classes and themes and topics that you study through liberal arts that are basic to becoming an educated person. As a global person, you need a perspective. And I think liberal arts gives you that perspective.”

What are some of your favorite memories of your days at MSU?
“I lived in married housing here. My wife and I were married while I was a student at MSU, and we had to show the marriage license to get our key to Spartan Village Apartments. It was fun to be in Spartan Village at that time, and we made some lifelong friendships. It was just a great experience.”

How has your German major and arts and letters education helped with your career?
“Arts and Letters have so many different fields, especially at a large University like MSU, that you have so many choices, and such diversity within the student body, that you can learn a great deal from your classmates and faculty. It’s such a great opportunity at MSU, because its strength is that we are diverse, and we are large enough to really give a broad-brush picture of the world.

“And, German, of course, offers a look into a different world; a different perspective as you learn about someone else’s culture and about the way another person thinks. This gives you a really good perspective on your own culture, too.”

Your advice to students.
“Being a German major, I think that the global initiative is really important; to look for ways that you can interact with people from other cultures—to know people from other cultures. There’s so much opportunity here at Michigan State. We have such a diverse group. And to learn about someone else’s perspective, I think that is number one.

“Secondly, there are so many Internships available now. Some are in this country, but some are overseas, too. And if students are able to take advantage of those internships, be they paid or unpaid, I think that’s a crucial piece of education right now.”