PO Box 1452 Bismarck, ND 58502 11 April 2015 Dr

PO Box 1452
Bismarck, ND 58502
11 April 2015
Dr. Frederick M. Hurst, Senior Vice President for Extended Campuses
Dr. Daniel L. Kain, Vice Provost, Academic Personnel
and Members of the Search Committee for AVP & Campus E.O., NAU-Yuma
Northern Arizona University
S. San Francisco Street, Bld. 002, Box 4117
Flagstaff, AZ. 86011
Dear Dr. Hurst, Dr. Kain, and Members of the Search Committee:
I am applying for the position of associate vice president and campus executive officer of Northern Arizona
University’s (NAU’s) Yuma Branch Campus (i.e., Job ID 601265). In alignment with the requisite academic
credentials, experiences, and professional achievements identified as qualifications for the position, I note my:
Leadership qualities.
Colleagues repeatedly describe me as indefatigable and as a highly innovative thought leader who is
definitely results-oriented and entrepreneurial in all aspects of my professional work and relationships. I am an
adept communicator with skills in current and emerging technologies. My references and colleagues will
attest to my proven leadership in evoking trust and successful collaboration, my ability and willingness to
make important decisions before issues reach a crisis, my use of humor to defuse stressful situations, and my
commitment to building the talent and confidence of those I lead.
Terminal degrees.
I possess two earned terminal degrees from accredited institutions: an MFA (University of Montana) and a
Ph.D. (Gonzaga University). My scholarship and related academic experiences are documented in my
attached vitaé.
Administrative experience at postsecondary institutions.
I offer more than 30 years of successful senior level leadership experience in higher education at the level of
dean and higher, with cross-functional responsibilities in academic and student affairs, strategic planning and
fiscal affairs, policy development and analysis, capital development and facilities expansion, marketing, and
legislative and external affairs.
I currently serve as the interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs of the North Dakota University
System, which is governed by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) and sets policies of
the state’s eleven public colleges and universities. In addition, I’ve served as the associate or chief academic
and student affairs officer of three other state higher education systems: Montana University System,
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for
Postsecondary Education.
My current duties include oversight of our campuses’ curricula, research and distance education, tenure
recommendations, the establishment or reorganization of the campuses’ academic entities, state authority for
veterans’ benefits in postsecondary education, the collaborative development and implementation of
systemwide student success initiatives, systemwide admission and transfer, and our state’s many inter-state
academic programs. I work closely with North Dakota’s Superintendent of Public Instruction to enhance the
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S. Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 2
college and career readiness of the state’s public high school students. I also chair North Dakota’s Indian
Scholarships Board, and as well as our system’s Academic Affairs and Student Affairs councils.
As vice president or assistant vice president at three campuses, I’ve overseen admissions, enrollment
management, registration, financial aid, libraries, student affairs and services, commencement and honors,
marketing, residence halls and commons, bookstores, testing, advising, institutional research, regional and
program accreditation, assessment, and extended and distance education—as well as faculty hires and
Experience at community colleges.
I have been (1) faculty at one state’s comprehensive community college; (2) chief academic and student
affairs officer at another state’s comprehensive community college with three campuses; (3) associate dean,
endowed chair and director of a leadership center, and instructor at a state’s military institute offering
associate degrees and early commissioning; (4) executive director and instructor at a private all-women’s
junior liberal arts college; and, (5) chief academic officer at a two-year branch of a state’s doctoral-granting,
high research university.
As senior staff to four statewide higher education systems, I’ve worked closely and successfully with the
faculty and administrators of community colleges. In Montana, I led all of the state’s public postsecondary
institutions and tribal colleges in the development of a statewide transfer core that permitted students to
transfer their full lower-division block of general education to any of the state’s upper-division public colleges
and universities towards a four-year degree; that transfer core remains in place today.
Experience with accreditation.
I’ve served (1) as chair or co-chair of many campuses’ on-site visits by regional and professional accrediting
agencies, (2) as an evaluator for two regional accrediting agencies, (3) as one of seven professionals
selected by the Higher Learning Commission to design the AQIP model for reaccreditation, and (4) as the
primary “point person” on accreditation for four state systems.
Experience with workforce and economic development.
In addition to serving as the governor’s appointee to the Nebraska Workforce Investment Board, I led an
initiative with the Nebraska Department of Labor to track graduating majors into specific jobs. In North Dakota,
I serve as a member of the state’s Workforce Development Council, and one of my responsibilities is to
oversee career and technical education. I meet regularly with the state’s Department of Commerce to identify
workforce demands for graduates with the requisite training and degrees for careers fields that now hire, and
to promote new academic programs that would support higher education’s significant ties to economic
development. I have also served as a member of the National Task Force on Rural Revitalization, as an
appointee to Nebraska’s P-16 Advisory Council, and as the governor’s appointee to the Border Commission
of Montana and Alberta, Canada.
Teaching and administrative experience with adult and minority students.
I’ve served as adjunct or tenure-track faculty at all degree levels of postsecondary institutions across the U.S.,
as well as at installations of the U.S. Military and the U.S. Department of State. I was a national instructor for
the U.S. Air Force’s Lieutenants’ Professional Development Program, and I’ve taught college modules in
Spain and Italy on the topics of architecture and history.
Students enrolled in my courses for the U.S. Military and U.S. Department of State were professionals and
Additionally, I’ve served (1) as faculty and/or administrator at three federally designated Hispanic serving
institutions; (2) in oversight of academic and student affairs of a state system that included the nation’s first
historically Black college; (3) at a two-year institution whose international students comprised nearly 15% of
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S. Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 3
its student body; and, (4) as aforementioned, I’ve worked closely with tribal colleges and now serve as chair of
a state’s scholarship program for Native Americans.
Strong communication skills and commitment to the region, community and campus.
I’ve often addressed chambers of commerce, Rotary, industry leaders and community service groups to learn
and respond purposefully to their needs for graduates and public service. I’ve worked closely with cities and
rural towns to write successful grants proposals to improve educational and civic facilities. In New Mexico, I
worked with the state’s firefighting academy to develop curricula that could be delivered at fire stations around
the state so volunteer fire fighters could advance more rapidly towards certification. At Eastern Washington
University (EWU), I directed external programs and developed curricula for air force officers as well as
executive education for Washington State’s correctional officers, rising executives of the Washington Water
Power, and management training for employee-owned businesses. I also served on the board of a center
that promoted tourism of a state’s observatory, and launched an annual marathon to promote wellness at a
community college and in its two proximate towns.
Experience in and commitment to institutionalizing diversity and a culture of inclusiveness.
As assistant commissioner of higher education in Montana, I incorporated a required three-credit component
in multi-cultural literacy as a part of the statewide transfer program. Also, I initiated a successful international
program at a liberal-arts campus: from study abroad—as a requirement of specific baccalaureate programs—
to international exchange programs. While ethnic-racial divides exist in our country and need to be addressed
in a continually renewed commitment to the inclusiveness and resulting diversity of our nation’s representative
groups, I also believe that a campus must be influenced by commitment to diversity in thinking and practices
that create a heightened awareness and celebration of differences—as well as the creative and socio-political
synergy that is yielded by that diversity.
Sincere interest in students’ success. Within a month of my appointment as interim vice chancellor in North
Dakota, I formed and chaired three statewide task forces to improve our campuses’ student success—
including defined changes in recruitment, retention and graduation rates. Recommendations of the task
forces were incorporated into the state’s new plan for higher education. My office currently negotiates student
insurance and off-hours medical care, and is working closely with our eleven campuses to implement means
to increase graduation rates, to better serve greater numbers of non-traditional students, and to establish
more confidential counseling centers to address promptly all matters associated with Title IX awareness and
compliance, alcohol and substance abuse, and increased risks of sexual assault and suicide.
Building relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
At both the campus and system levels, I have worked closely with students, faculty, staff, community leaders
and governing boards as well as state governors, legislators and U.S. Congressional representatives to serve
best the campuses I represented. As was the case in Montana, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska—I am now
tracking, analyzing, and called to testify on state legislative bills of importance to higher education. In addition,
I’ve been successful in forging relationships among institutions; for example, I negotiated an agreement
between Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to
funnel graduates of a two-year, historically Black university directly into PSU’s nano-biotechnology program of
undergraduate study and labs.
Experience in planning, budgeting, fiscal management, and aligning resources with strategic initiatives.
My career has engaged me many times in strategic planning—from leading campus-wide planning and
budgeting processes at a comprehensive regional university, and serving on four statewide planning
commissions or committees, to writing chapters of a strategic plan for a system of 14 campuses. As chief
grants administrator, and later as director of planning and budgeting at a regional university, I purposefully
communicated with all constituencies to establish priorities—in alignment with the university’s strategic plans-for the resource management of nearly $27 million annually.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S. Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 4
I’ve increased revenues significantly for several campuses that resulted in achieving institutional initiatives—
including new capital projects, new academic programs and faculty hires, increased research, and more
student scholarships. For example,
1. When the University of Toledo forecasted enrollment downturns of nearly 6 %, I was appointed interim
dean of enrollment management. In less than six months, we strategically reversed enrollment losses to
less than 1.5%, and the recovered revenues enabled the University to keep programs of study vibrant,
critical student services intact, and faculty fully employed.
2. As endowed chair and founding director of the Daniels Leadership Center and challenge courses complex
at a state’s military institute, I was responsible for managing the annual corpus of a $23M endowment,
and for generating additional auxiliary revenues. My entrepreneurship on behalf of New Mexico Military
Institute (NMMI) resulted in new scholarships from government contractors, summer camps sponsored by
Sandia National Labs and Gear-Up funds, and year-around training contracts through the U.S.
Department of State—as well as new funds and welcome marketing exposure of the campus when the
movie, Men Who Stare at Goats, was filmed on-site.
3. Presently, I am the signatory authority for Title II/ Part A of North Dakota’s Teacher and Principal Training
Recruiting Fund ($1,006,472 FY 13-15) through the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. I also
just acquired significant funding for three years for our NDUS office to participate in a multi-state compact
to improve completion rates for active military and veterans.
Lastly, I note that members of my family established residency in Yuma many years ago, and I became familiar
with the community. Relocating to Arizona would enable me to rejoin my family.
Thank you in advance for considering my candidacy. I look forward to an opportunity to interview with you in the
near future.
Sonia S. Cowen, Ph.D.
Attachment: Abbreviated Curriculum Vitaé with References
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S. Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 5
Sonia S. Cowen, Ph.D.
Abbreviated Curriculum Vitaé: 19 March 2015
Cell: 417-321-7613;
Email: [email protected] Mail: PO Box 1452, Bismarck, N.D. 58502
Earned Degrees:
Ph.D.— 1990
Gonzaga University: Leadership, Educational: Higher Education Administration
Dissertation: Cowen., S. A Study of the Relationships Between Perceived Leadership Behaviors of
Presidents at Public Four-Year Institutions of Higher Education in the U.S., and the Changes in FTE
Enrollment, Perceptions of Effectiveness, Subordinate Satisfaction, and Other Factors of the Presidency.
Publ.: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI: 1990.
M.F.A. —1975
University of Montana: Creative Writing
Teaching Fellow; Honors: President’s and Dean’s Lists.
B.A. — 1973
Eastern Washington University: English
Honors: Magna cum Laude; Golden Circle (Top 18 Women).
Certificate —
Eastern New Mexico University--Roswell: Film Technology
27-semester credit practicum study in the production of independent films/ commercials.
Summary of Administrative and Teaching Positions:
North Dakota University System, Bismarck, ND.
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, North Dakota University System (NDUS).
Executive staff to the ND State Board of Higher Education. Oversee all academic and student affairs
policies and functions within a system of eleven institutions. Direct reports within NDUS office: NDUS
Director of Academic Programs, Research, and Accreditation; NDUS Director of Systemwide Student Entry,
Transfer and Retention; NDUS Director of Student Affairs; NDUS Director of Distance Education and State
Authorization; and, Director of ND’s State Approving Agency for the U.S. Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs.
Cottey College, Nevada, MO.
Founding and Executive Director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership and Social Responsibility.
Oversight in developing and implementing the college’s first baccalaureate degrees. Established
international studies, international bi-lateral exchanges, upper-division multi-disciplinary courses in women’s
leadership, and annual distinguished speakers series. Hosted an annual women filmmakers’ festival.
Secured institutional membership for Cottey in the National Council for Research on Women.
2003 – 2010
New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), Roswell, NM.
LTG Robert Beckel Endowed Chair and founding Director of the Daniels Leadership Center and the Yates
Leadership Challenge courses (ropes and reaction); NMMI Rank: Lieutenant Colonel (LTC); also contracted
as Associate Dean for Leadership, NMMI (2005-2007). Endowment of $23.5 million.
simultaneous with
NMMI contract)
International Law Enforcement Academy—Roswell (ILEA-R), NM
Consultant in developing and teaching curricula at the ILEA-R; contracted separately from NMMI by Science
Applications International Corporation (SAIC) NYSE initially, and later by New Mexico Institute of Mining and
simultaneous with
NMMI contract)
New Mexico State University—Las Cruces, NM.
Off-campus/ adjunct Faculty, College of Business. Developed and taught NMSU’s Bachelor of Business
Administration in Roswell, N.M.; contracted separately from NMMI.
Eastern Arizona College (EAC), Thatcher, AZ.
Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs. Oversight of all student and academic affairs, including
academic support components of athletics, public relations/marketing, enrollment management, residence
halls and commons, advising, library, distance education, and professional/ regional accreditation.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
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11 April 2015/ page 6
State System of Higher Education (SSHE), Pennsylvania—Harrisburg, PA.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Policy, Planning, and Assessment (a.k.a. Associate Vice
Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs). Executive staff to the state board of 14 public higher education
Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE), Nebraska—Lincoln, NE.
Associate Director for Academic Programs (Chief Academic Officer) and Executive Staff. Approved and
reviewed all academic programs and support for all public research, regional, and community college
(All positions were
held/ all
were executed
University of Toledo (UT) —Toledo, OH.
Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Institutional Assessment;
Interim Dean, Enrollment Management; and, Assistant Professor/ Doctoral Faculty (tenure-track) in
Educational Leadership, College of Education and Allied Professions.
Montana University System (MUS) (state regents’ governing board) – Helena, MT.
Assistant Commissioner of Higher Education for Academic and Student Affairs.
(Many positions
overlapped and
were held
ranges of dates are
Eastern Washington University (EWU)—Cheney, WA.
Chief Grants Administrator, and Exec. Secretary of the Northwest Institute for Advanced Study: (1978-81).
Adjunct Faculty--School of Social Work and School of Public Administration, and recurring Guest Lecturer-College of Education: (1978-1991).
Academic Projects Administrator: (1981-83).
Editor-in-Chief, University Press: (1981-1991).
Director, Academic Support Services: (1983-87).
Director, University Planning and Budgeting: (1987-90).
Director, Extended Programs: (1989-1991).
simultaneous with
EWU contract)
(remained EWU
employee on
approved Admin.
USAF’s Strategic Air Command (SAC), Headquarters, Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE.
National Instructor for USAF/ SAC’s Lieutenants' Professional Development Program (LPDP); contracted
separately from EWU.
Educational Service District (ESD) 101—Spokane, WA.
Director of Public Information and Title VII & IX Compliance Officer (for 60 school districts), and Special
Assistant to the Superintendent.
College of the Siskiyous (COS)—Weed, CA.
Sabbatical Replacement: Head of Journalism Program and instructor of journalism, English, and literature.
University of Montana (UM)—Missoula, MT.
Teaching Fellow in English and creative writing.
New Mexico State University—Carlsbad
Associate Provost for Instruction (Chief Academic Officer).
The University of Utah (UU) - Salt Lake City, UT.
Teaching Fellow in English and business communications.
Extensive History of Successful Executive Academic Leadership:
• 30+ years of continuous appointment in senior to executive academic posts at dean’s level or higher—including primary responsibility for
academic and student affairs for 4 statewide university systems with 67 campuses.
• Executive staff (assistant commissioner, chief academic officer, associate vice chancellor, and interim vice chancellor) to 4 statewide higher
education systems, primarily responsible for recommending adoption or discontinuation of all academic and student programs, and the
establishment of new institutions of higher education. As Associate Vice Chancellor for Policy, Planning and Assessment at Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (SSHE), I worked routinely with chief academic and student affairs officers at 14 state universities with enrollments
of 100,000 FTE.
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Succeeded in the development and implementation of Montana’s statewide two-year, lower-division core transfer curriculum adopted by all of
the state’s community, tribal, and publicly-funded colleges and universities.
Tenure-track doctoral faculty at a doctoral-granting “high research” metropolitan university; also, faculty at community, junior, baccalaureate and
doctoral-granting research postsecondary institutions.
LTG Robert Beckel Endowed Chair and founding director of the Daniels Leadership Center, NMMI; conceptually designed the 10,000 square
foot Center and its technologies (includes 2 full-immersion theatres, active Emergency Operations Center, High/ Low Ropes Course, and
Leadership Reaction Course); oversaw academic and co-curricular programs to develop corps of cadets into “Leaders of uncompromising
Founding executive director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership and Social Responsibility at an all-women’s liberal arts college.
Commitment to Shared Governance and Inclusiveness:
• Strong Interpersonal and Communication Skills Emphasizing Consensus Building, Shared Governance and Decision Making:
§ Designed and implemented a university-wide planning and budgeting process that required collaboration and consensus from all internal
and external constituencies, and consulted with faculty in the distribution of funds aligned with faculty sponsored initiatives.
§ Established system-wide faculty/student/community focus groups on civic responsibility for the Kettering Foundation’s forum on citizen
participation in the development of national legislation.
§ Collaborated with fellow faculty in reviewing doctoral-student dissertations and in revising core doctoral curriculum requirements in
Educational Leadership in response to state regents’ mandate.
§ Chaired numerous university-wide committees, including those for enrollment management, student success and retention, student fees,
faculty research and scholarship, university reorganization, commencement, honors program, and student advising.
§ Worked collaboratively with faculty as a member of the Academic Council of Deans at a doctoral, “high research” university.
Commitment to Diversity, Multicultural Perspectives and Engagement with the Community:
§ Chair North Dakota’s Indian Scholarships Board.
§ Conceptualized and secured legislative approval requiring three semester credit hours in multi-cultural course work for all undergraduates
in the Montana University System.
§ Designed and taught leadership curriculum, under the auspices of the US Department of State, to international delegations from Albania,
Bulgaria, Macedonia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Peoples Republic of China, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova,
Romania, Ukraine, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.
§ Authored/ negotiated contracts between Penn State and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (SSHE) for the development
and implementation of nanotechnology and nanobiotechnology curricula, at Penn State and Cheney University of Pennsylvania, the
nation’s oldest historically Black university.
§ Developed statewide Character Counts! Summer camp and summer Gear-Up camps at NMMI for high school students and their advisors
to implement programs for leadership and responsible citizenship; hosted and taught components of Sandia National Labs’ summer camps
for high school students in homeland security and response.
§ Integrated leadership and service learning in the US Army’s junior and senior ROTC curricula, and oversaw service learning initiatives and
public policy forums for the 14 campuses of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (SSHE).
§ Served on a national panel at the Kettering Foundation for civic leadership, Washington, DC.
§ Created and administered two annual Distinguished Speakers Series (i.e., at New Mexico Military Institute and at Cottey College) including
speakers from diverse political and ethnic backgrounds; also established an annual women’s film and filmmakers’ series at Cottey.
§ Served on the executive board for Discovery Park and Roper State Park in Graham Co., AZ.
§ Public relations officer, as well as Title VII and Title IX compliance officer for 60 school districts.
Academic Personnel Management, including Faculty’s Recruitment, Mentorship, Professional Development, Evaluation, and Approval
of Faculty Tenure:
§ As chief academic officer or associate dean at 3 institutions: recruited, hired, directly supervised, mentored, evaluated, and promoted
nearly 500 tenure-track and part-time faculty, and recommended faculty tenure to the CEOs/boards of 13 campuses.
§ Chaired or member of more than 20+ search committees to hire tenure-track faculty.
§ Sponsored/ administered the systemwide faculty development symposia as well as the annual retreats of academic officers for the State
System of Higher Education (SSHE), Pennsylvania.
§ Responsible for resolving all significant faculty-student issues at a doctoral-granting urban university.
§ Served on a state university’s sabbatical and research, and academic curriculum committees.
Understanding and Appreciation of University Internal Relationships, Shared Governance, and Establishing Collaborative
Relationships with Academic Departments and Student Affairs:
§ Collaborated with 9 academic departments in developing successful proposal to implement a state university’s MS in Communications.
§ Designed and gained approval for reorganization of curriculum structure to meet changing needs of department assignments, to enhance
collaborative relationships and to insure shared governance at one state university and one branch campus.
§ Established collaborative relationships between the academic departments of New Mexico State University (NMSU) and the New Mexico
Military Institute (NMMI) by developing, locally administering, and teaching an articulated 2+2 program in Bachelor of Business
Administration offered by NMSU at NMMI.
§ Worked with faculty to implement leadership across the curricula of NMMI’s high school and college.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
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Sponsored and participated in numerous faculty and staff development programs to enhance internal relationships and increase
communication across departments at various institutions.
Oversight of all student affairs at one campus, and academic affairs at two or more campuses, including the related functions/operations of
each: curriculum development/ program review/ course scheduling, assessment, accreditation, library, wellness/ fitness centers, coaching
and sports, student services, residence halls, commons, bookstore, academic advising and student counseling services, first year college
experience, institutional research, enrollment management and admissions, financial aid, and marketing.
Demonstrated Significant Academic Excellence — Contributions to Student Learning and Development, Research, Presentations,
and Related Accomplishments:
Authored numerous refereed research articles and practice studies published in national journals or presented upon invitation at national or
international conferences on topics specific to higher education—including leadership, accreditation, critical thinking, and simulation-modeling.
Keynote speaker, presenter, panelist, or moderator at more than 20 state and national conferences, as well as 3 international conferences.
Editor-in-Chief, University Press--solicited, refereed and adjudicated submissions; edited, contracted, and marketed scholarly publications.
Recognized Nationally for Mentoring Ethical Leadership:
• Selected nationally by West Point (USMA) to serve as 1 of 18 faculty mentors (2007-2012) at the USMA’s annual National Conference on
Ethics in America.
• Selected nationally by The Citadel to serve as an external mentor in leadership and ethics.
Successful Record of Fund-Raising, and Strong Budget and Finance Management Experience:
• Directly responsible for budgets up to $26.5M annually at a state university and at a state military institute.
§ Held positions of Chief Grants Administrator and Director of University Planning and Budgeting at a state regional/graduate university—
responsible for all sponsored research and overseeing all grants applications, awards, projections, allocations, monitoring, compliance and
auditing up to $26M annually.
§ Administered corpus allocated from $23.5M endowment for Daniels Leadership Center and maintenance; captured and administered
external contracts and generated auxiliary revenues for the Center and Institute.
• Developed, secured and administered academic and student affairs budgets, with annual budgets ranging from $10M to $30M, at 3 institutions.
• Experienced fund-raiser and grants writer for research and development, as well as capital projects (from 1976-1991, secured grants of $10M
or more annually).
• Audited athletics and academic affairs budgets for a state university’s board, chaired university’s steering committee on student fees and
reported status to state legislature.
Demonstrated Knowledge of Current Educational Issues and Demonstrated Leadership Abilities:
20+ years’ experience working with state legislatures on issues pertaining to higher education--including program quality, need for new
institutions, statewide strategic plans for higher education, statewide transfer agreements, assessment, student fees, and changes in higher
education funding.
Developed and led initiative to share university data with the Nebraska State Department of Labor to track job placement by graduates in
professions/ industries that matched their majors in multiple contiguous states.
Member of Pennsylvania Stated System of Higher Education (SSHE) Chancellor’s key team to prepare for legislative appropriations meetings.
Authored three chapters of the Pennsylvania SSHE’s Strategic Doctrine, Imperatives Affirmed (i.e., “Liberal Arts Across the Curriculum”;
“Graduate Education”; and, “Assessment and Academic Audit”).
Appointed to the Nebraska Workforce Investment Board by Governor Johanns.
Lobbied on matters of higher education funding and governance for the Montana University System; reported directly to the Joint Committee of
the Montana State Legislature regarding statewide transfer and assessment.
Authored legislation for the Nebraska Unicameral affecting changes in statutes and laws specific to higher education.
Reported current educational issues to Washington State legislators and recommended changes in student fees, duplication of graduate
programs, teacher education and strategic plans.
As Interim Dean for Enrollment Management at an urban university, increased enrollments significantly by extending hours and services to
nontraditional and under-represented students; in less than 6 months, reversed anticipated enrollment decline of nearly 6% to less than 1.5%.
Research consultant in contract to the Education Commission of the States (ECS) on high school-college dual enrollments leading to ECS’
recommendations on national policies.
Member, Homeland Security and Defense Education Consortium (HSDEC), comprised of federal agencies and university research universities
to develop homeland security and defense education from associate to doctoral levels.
Understanding the Diversity of Challenges and Roles--Metropolitan vs. Rural Campuses:
• Appointed to the national Rural Task Force on Rural Revitalization by the NM Public Education Department (2009).
• Served as Assistant Vice President, Interim Dean, and doctoral faculty at University of Toledo (metropolitan/ high research).
• Served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (SHHE), overseeing policy, planning, and assessment
at 14 universities, many of which serve metropolitan constituents both on-site and on-line.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
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Reorganized the enrollment management staff, responsibilities and services at urban university to target nontraditional and working adults,
leading to increased enrollments, enhanced student life, retention, and access.
Administered academic and student affairs at campuses established in rural communities with populations of 6-50K.
Professional Service Higher Education—Accreditation:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Seattle, WA.; initially appointed: 1994.
2000: Evaluator, Site Visit – Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA.
1999: Sole Evaluator, Site Visit – Linfield College, McMinnville, OR.
1998: Evaluator, Site Visit – Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR.
1997: Evaluator, Site Visit – Rocky Mountain College, Billings, MT.
1994: Evaluator, Site Visit – George Fox University, Newberg, OR.
Served as co-chair of Eastern Washington University’s interim and ten-year institutional self-studies for continuing accreditation by the
NWCCU (between 1978 and 1991).
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) , Chicago, Ill.; initially appointed: 1996.
2013 Lead for the North Dakota University System’s on-site visit by HLC to examine compliance with governance standards.
2003 AQIP Systems Portfolio Appraiser.
1999 Member, 7-Member Nationally-Prominent Design Team for Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP): New Alternative
Accreditation Model based on quality improvement principles and values.
1996 Consultant-Evaluator.
1995 Wrote follow-up report for HLC’s continuing requirements of the University of Toledo for reaccreditation.
1996 Wrote the University of Toledo’s application for designation/ accreditation by HLC as a Research 1—Extended institution.
Oversaw preparation of New Mexico State University-Carlsbad’s focus institutional self-study for continuing accreditation by the National League of
Nursing, by the State’s Vocational-Educational Accrediting Board, and by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (now known as the
Higher Learning Commission) by NCA (1995).
Experience with US Congressional and State Legislative Leaders, and Governors – Summary:
North Dakota University System (NDUS) – Bismarck, N.D.: Governor’s Staff and North Dakota Legislature
North Dakota’s Legislature meets biennially. Confer regularly with Governor’s staff and members of the North Dakota Interim Higher Education
Funding Committee as regards higher education outcomes and P-20 collaborative initiatives.
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (SSHE)-- Harrisburg, PA.: Pennsylvania Commonwealth
Conferred regularly, both during and between legislative sessions, with legislators who served on the System’s governing board committee for
academic and student affairs. Served on the Chancellor’s key team for review of legislative matters in advance of the Chancellor’s testimony
before the Senate and the House regarding the System’s appropriations requests.
Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) -- Lincoln, NE.: Nebraska Unicameral
Conferred with legislators and legislative staff of the Unicameral, both during and between sessions, on matters of academic programs, P-16
issues, workforce and employment outcomes initiatives, and changes in Commission’s rules and regulations. Drafted legislation specific to
higher education.
New Mexico State University – Carlsbad (NDSU-C), NM.: New Mexico State Legislature
Conferred with legislators and legislative staff of the state legislature regarding the needs for a technology transfer and an incubator in Carlsbad
for the manufacture of containers for disposal of transuranic waste.
Montana University Systems (MUS) – Helena, MT.: Montana State Legislature
Registered Lobbyist, Montana State Legislature. Reported directly to Joint Committee of the state legislature, during and between sessions,
regarding statewide transfer and assessment. Convened meetings of legislators statewide for development of a seamless P-16 initiative.
Eastern Washington University (EWU)-- Cheney, WA.: Washington State’s Legislature and U.S. Congressional Representatives
Conferred with legislators and legislative staff of the state legislature on matters of student fees, duplication of graduate degree programs
statewide, teacher education, the University’s six-year plans, and the planning of Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Incubator
(SIRTI). Conferred with Washington State’s congressional leaders and staff regularly on matters regarding federal funding.
Educational Service District 101 (ESD 101) -- Spokane, WA.: Washington State Legislature
Conferred regularly with Washington State’s Speaker of the House regarding issues of student learning objectives, support for school
construction and renovation, and funding for special projects of ESD 101, serving 60 local school districts in eastern Washington.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S.
Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 10
National and State Appointments – Summary:
Member, Steering Committee of the Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit (MCMC), of the Midwestern State Higher
Education Compact (MHEC).
North Dakota’s Indian Scholarship Board, Chair.
North Dakota’s Workforce Development Council, member.
National Task Force on Rural Revitalization, National Community Education Association, Member, Appointed by New Mexico
Public Education Department.
Board of Regents’ and Department of Education’s Appointment to the P-16 Advisory Council, State of Nebraska
Governor’s Appointment (3 year term) to the Nebraska Workforce Investment Board, State of Nebraska, and its Performance
Measures Committee.
Design Team, Accreditation, AQIP, North Central Association (NCA), The Higher Learning Commission (formerly, Commission
on Institutions of Higher Education), Chicago, Ill. (One of 7 appointed nationally to this team, funded by the Pew Foundation.)
Border Commission of Montana and Alberta, Canada, Appointed by the Governor of Montana; served to negotiate reciprocity
in higher education.
Professional Consulting – Summary:
Organization and Appointment(s)
Ft. Huachuca, AZ.
Instructor/ consultant to US Army for Soldier Wellness: StrengthsQuest™ and Leadership (spring).
Ft. Carson, CO.
Keynote speaker/ consultant to US Army Officers Debriefing of Returning IRAQ Response Units (September).
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)/ International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), Roswell, NM
Consultant: Developed and taught leadership curricula to ILEA’s international delegations.
University of Nebraska Central Administration, Lincoln, NE.
Consultant: Policy analyses specific to Web-Portal and electronic Data Warehouse.
Department of Education, Office of the Commissioner, Lincoln, NE.
Consultant: Grants for the integration of technology in the schools.
Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.
Consultant: Designed national survey instrument and analyzed data regarding policies on dual enrollments: high school to
college transitions.
Leadership Performance Group, Spokane, WA.—President.
Developed corporate training model for consulting firm’s (i.e., Phennegar and Morgan) selected ESOP clients.
Reviewed grants proposals submitted to the Montana Arts Council.
U.S. Strategic Air Command, Headquarters, Omaha, NE.
Curriculum Consultant—revision of USAF’s Lieutenants’ Professional Development Program (LPDP), including infusion of
instruction in TQM and TQM-Plus; LPDP’s national instructor.
1979/ 80
Holy Family Hospital Foundation, Spokane, WA.
Grants Consultant re: Non-Traditional Health Care/ Facilities.
1976/ 77
City of Spokane, Spokane, WA.
Consultant and Grantswriter—Local Public Works Grant, Economic Development Administration, Round II.
1976/ 77
Spokane School District, Spokane, WA.
Consultant and Grantswriter—Local Public Works Grant, Economic Development Administration, Round II.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S. Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 11
Inchelium School District, Colville Confederated Tribes Reservation, Inchelium, WA.
Consultant and Grantswriter—Local Public Works Grant, Economic Development Administration, Round I.
Current and Life-Long Certification/ License:
Eastern New Mexico University--Roswell:
Certificate (27-semester credits) in Film Technology (spring, 2010).
Louisiana State University--New Mexico Tech:
Certified in Agro-Terrorism Response (spring, 2009).
Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT): Certified by Level 4 Professionals in High and Low Ropes Course Facilitation and
Rescue (May 2004); Refresher Certification (Jan., 2005).
Josephson Institute of Ethics:
Certified to teach Character Counts!® Curricula (May, 2005).
Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Curricula:
Certified to teach Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Curricula (June, 2004).
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):
Private Pilot, Single-Engine (Current, with initial licensing in July, 1996).
Certified Session Leader--Strategic Leadership:
Leveraging Human Performance (Wilson Learning/ Leadership Studies International:
Feb., 1991).
Professional Ski Instructors of America—Western
Division (PSIA-W):
Instructor, (1978-1991).
California Community College Instructor Certificate: Literature and Language Arts (Life-long, July, 1975).
Juried Publications, Invited Presentations/ Speeches, and Civic Service:
2014, May—Opening Address: “Rethinking Retention”, annual ND Retention Summit for Higher Education, sponsored at Bismarck State College
for NDUS, Bismarck, ND.
2014, Feb.--Keynote speaker: “Common Ground: Partners in Charting Pathways that Lead Successfully to Valued Learning”, NACADA Drive-In
Workshop (aka. annual conference) sponsored by Bismarck State College for NDUS, Bismarck, N.D.
2013, June 5—Featured Interview: “Sonia Cowen on Leadership”, by GlassCeiling.com (http://www.glassceiling.com/sonia-cowen-on-leadership/).
2007-2012—Faculty/ Mentor: USMA (West Point) faculty mentor at the USMA’s annual National Conference on Ethics in America.
2009, Aug. – Juried Research Paper Presentation (Accepted): “Developing Motion-Virtual Immersion Simulations on UH60Q Helicopters for
Improving the Environmental Readiness and Stress Reduction in Medical Evaluation/ Evacuation (MEDEVAC) Surgical Teams Deployed on
Missions to Stabilize Military Patients In Transport to Receiving Hospitals/ Emergency Care,” 12th Annual International Conference of the US Force
Health Protection, Albuquerque, NM.
2009, Jan.-- Co-Chair, Day-Long Session on Civil-Military Operations: Live-Constructive-Virtual, at the 14th Annual Conference of the US
Department of Defense’s International Testing and Evaluation Association (ITEA), El Paso, TX. Juried Presentation: “Agenda for Utilizing Serious
Web-Based and Modeling-Simulation Games in Virtual Immersion Learning Related to Risk Assessment and Civil-Military Emergency Operations at
the Nation's Postsecondary Institutions”.
2008, Nov. -- Juried Presentation: “Physical Architecture for Virtual Immersion Learning in Community Education and Preparedness for Natural
and Man-Made Emergencies”, Annual Conference of the National Community Education Association, Dallas, TX
2008, Aug.-- Juried Poster Presentation: “Physical Architecture for Virtual Immersion Learning in Community Education and Preparedness for
Natural and Man-Made Emergencies ”, 11th Annual International Conference of the US Force Health Protection, Albuquerque, NM.
2008, Jul. -- Invited Presenter: “Using Virtual Immersion for Continuing Education”, Professional Association of Continuing Educators, UNMValencia Campus.
2007, Sep. -- Invited Speaker/ Consultant: Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, CO: developing strengths leadership in US Army officers assigned to
support units debriefing returning soldiers from Iraq.
2007, Dec. -- Juried presentation/ paper: “Modeling & Simulation: Physical Architecture for Virtual Immersion Learning in Leadership Development
and Emergency Operations”, 13th Annual Conference hosted by the US Department of Defense’s International Test and Evaluation Association
(ITEA), Las Cruces, NM.
2007, Mar. -- Panelist: “Serious Gaming and Immersive Learning”, Third Annual Media Industries Strategic Project (MISP), University of New
Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
2006, Jan. – Juried Presentation: Gallup University, “Strengths-Quest Instruction in Leadership Development at the New Mexico Military Institute”,
Gallup Organization’s Annual Strengths-Quest Conference, Spring 2006, Omaha, NE.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S. Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 12
2003, Board Member: Discovery Park, Safford, AZ-- Southeastern Arizona’s space, science and cultural center containing 200 acres of scientific,
historic, and cultural exhibits, including Gov. Aker Observatory, the world’s largest camera obscura, the world’s only intergalactic-travel space
simulator, and official visitors’ center for the Mt. Graham International Observatory.
2001, Oct. -- Moderator: “Addressing Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology and Nanobiotechnology: Coming Impact and Workforce Needs in
Baccalaureate Science and Transfer Education Programs”, Fourth Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Nanofabrication Manufacturing
Technology Partnership, hosted by Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
2000, Aug. -- Moderator: Roundtable discussion between the North Central Association (NCA) and Representatives of the States’ Higher Education
Executive Officers (SHEEOs)—regarding collaborative opportunities between the two in the implementation of quality initiatives to inform processes
of reaccreditation and program approval and review, Portland, Oregon.
2000, Aug. -- Moderator: Annual Conference of the Academic, Fiscal, and Government Relations Officers of the States’ Higher Education Executive
Officers (SHEEOs)—regarding quality initiatives and accountability, Portland, Oregon.
1998, Refereed and Invited Presentation of Research Findings: North Central Association’s Annual Conference of the Commission on
Institutions of Higher Education (n.k.a. Higher Learning Commission), Chicago, Ill, April, 1998: Sonia Cowen, Ph.D., and Penny Poplin Gosetti,
Ph.D. “The Collaboration of Academic and Student Affairs: What Evidence Exists to Prove that Critical Thinking is Actually Taught and Assessed in
the Total Undergraduate Experience?”, Published by CIHE, NCA: 1998.
1998, Refereed and Invited Presentation of Research Findings: Critical Thinking Conference, April, 1998, Saginaw, MI: Evidence of Teaching
Critical Thinking in General Education at MAC Institutions.
1996, October-September, Refereed Publications Accepted.
Cowen, S., ed. Administration Self-Study and Evaluation Visit. ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. Accepted on October 23, 1996; 38 pp.
This study reports and provides evidence of improvements in the administration of the vocational-technical degree and certificate programs offered
at New Mexico State University at Carlsbad prior to September, 1995.
Cowen, S., ed. Book One: Focus Visit. ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. Accepted on October 23, 1996; 61 pp. Provides direct
response to the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association on Colleges and Schools' 21 concerns with the
organizational structure, quality of academic programs and faculty, and communication systems at New Mexico State University at Carlsbad prior to
September, 1995.
Cowen, S., ed. Book Two: General Institutional Requirements Criteria--College Progress '92'95. ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges.
Accepted on October 23, 1996; 133 pp. Provides direct response to the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central
Association on Colleges and Schools' 21 concerns, in terms of the Commission's general institutional requirements, with the organizational structure,
quality of academic programs and faculty, and communication systems at New Mexico State University prior to September, 1995.
Cowen, Sonia, ed. Book Three: Appendix to Book One and Book Two. ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. Accepted on October 23,
1996; 171 pp. Provides documentation to support the institution's direct response to the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North
Central Association on Colleges and Schools' 21 concerns and 16 suggestions for
improvement with regard to the organizational structure, quality of academic programs and faculty, and communication systems at New Mexico State
University at Carlsbad prior to September, 1995.
Cowen, S. A Report on Outcomes Assessment in the Montana University System and Community Colleges. ERIC Clearinghouse for Community
Colleges. Accepted on October 23, 1996; 15 pp. Includes the report and testimony presented to the Joint Committee of the Montana State
Legislature on 24 February 1992.
Cowen, S. Update Report: New Mexico State University at Carlsbad: Addendum to the Report (Books I-IV). ERIC Clearinghouse for Community
Colleges. Accepted on October 23, 1996; 85 pp. Reports and provides qualitative and quantitative evidence of the significant additional changes and
assessment initiatives implemented during the time frame from January of 1995 and mid-August of 1995, at New Mexico State University at
Carlsbad. Report was prepared for review by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association on Colleges and
Cowen. S. Vision Into Reality: Planning and Budgeting Processes Implemented at NMSU-Carlsbad through the Year 2000. ERIC Clearinghouse for
Community Colleges. Accepted on October 23, 1996; 149 pp. Reports and provides qualitative and quantitative evidence of the significant changes
the campus had undergone in involving all campus stakeholders in both creating statements of the institution's preferred future, and in strategically
planning and budgeting for realization of the same. Illustrates the first organization of the campus' academic programs into clusters of faculty and
degree offerings, as well as the means by which academic support assured successful student performance outcomes.
Cowen, S., ed. Vocational Technical and Professional Studies' Academic Programs and Support Services Self-Study and Evaluation Visit. ERIC
Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. Accepted on October 23, 1996; 139 pp. Reports and provides evidence of improvements in the programs
and facilities provided to students enrolled in vocational-technical programs at New Mexico State University at Carlsbad prior to September, 1995.
Drs. Hurst and Kain, and Search Committee
Sonia. S. Cowen, Candidate/ AVP & Campus E.O. for NAU-Yuma
11 April 2015/ page 13
1996, Sep. -- Invited Speaker: Welcome address, Nineteenth Annual Fall Convocation and Awards Program, College of Pharmacy, University of
Toledo; topic: "Pride and Progress in the University's College of Pharmacy in Attracting Sponsorship for Talented Students".
1996, Sep. -- Invited Speaker: College of Business Administration Fall 1996 Retreat, University of Toledo; topic: "The Need for Faculty Participation
in Retention Efforts at The University of Toledo".
1996, Spr. -- Invited Speaker: Inter-college Committee on Advising (ICA), University of Toledo; topic: "The Role of Academic Advisors in
Assessment in Higher Education".
1996, May – Keynote Speaker/ Convocation Address: Honors Convocation, College of Engineering, University of Toledo; topic: "How Engineering
Shaped the Birth of the US and Reforms in University Curricula".
1996, Feb.-- Keynote speaker at a scheduled dinner of the University of Toledo's Board of Trustees; formal 2-hour presentation and discussion;
topic: "Recent National Studies and Findings from the Assessment of Learning and Retention in U.S. Colleges and Universities".
1993, March--Invited presenter and speaker at the regional conference of Postsecondary Student Service Professionals; topic: "Diversity Within
Our Community". Eastern Montana University, Billings, MT., March, 1993.
1992, July--Invited presenter and speaker at the Pacific-Regional Forum of public and private postsecondary student services officers; topic:
"Dealing with Difficult People in a Political Setting". Red Lodge, MT., July, 1992.
1992--Keynote speaker at city leadership assemblies in Billings and Great Falls, MT.; topic: "Challenges to the Future of Higher Education". 1992.
1989, Dec. —Juried paper, and invited presenter at the contracting conference of SAC’s Senior Officers of USAF Strategic Air Command (SAC);
topic: “Transformational Leadership”. Las Vegas, NV.
1991, June—Invited presenter and speaker at the contracting conference of SAC’s Senior Officers of USAF Strategic Air Command (SAC); topic:
“Transformational Leadership, TQM, and Beyond TQM”. Las Vegas, NV.
1992, Fall—Member and Speaker at the Border Commission of Montana and Alberta, Canada; topic: opportunities for program exchanges and
tuition reciprocity. Great Falls, MT. Fall 1992.
1989, July—Refereed Paper presented to the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP); title, "A New Model for Linking Strategic
Planning, Tactical Planning, and Resource Allocation: A Case Study". Denver, CO. July, 1989.
Cowen, S. Mitchell, B., Triplett, L. (1973). Something About China. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Curriculum Materials Clearinghouse, University Microfilms &
ERIC, Vols. I & II. Cataloged and shelved in hardbound volumes at the US Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.: 1974.
Gallup Organization’s Honoree for Service in Student Development, Omaha, NE.
YWCA Leadership Recognition
Washington State's Outstanding Woman of the Year
Governor's Commendation, Washington State
Scholar, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference/ Poetry, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT.
References: (Additional references available upon request.)
• Dr. and RADM David R. Ellison, USN (Ret.), President, National Intelligence University, Office of the President, 200 MacDill Blvd,
Washington, D.C. 20340-5100. Email: ellison[email protected]; cell: 301-203-0545. (Former President and supervisor, New Mexico
Military Institute.)
• Dr. and LTC Larry Skogen, USAF (Ret.), Interim Chancellor, North Dakota University System, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 215, Bismarck,
N.D. 58505-0230. Email: [email protected]; cell: 701-214-8787. (Former Dean and first supervisor, New Mexico Military Institute.)
• MG J. Murray G. Sagsveen, J.D., NDNG (Ret.), Chief of Staff, Ethics Officer, and Chief Legal Counsel to the North Dakota State Board of
Higher Education, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 215, Bismarck, N.D. 58505-0230. Email: [email protected]; cell: 701-426-1905.
• John Hutchinson, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, R. H. Perry & Associates. Email: [email protected]; office phone: 202-9566464; cell: 217-737-0757. (Former Commissioner of Higher Education, Montana).
• Norman Billups, Ph.D., (Former Dean of Pharmacy [Ret.], University of Toledo), 3480 Wild Indigo Lake, Bonita Springs, FL. 34134. Email:
[email protected]; ph: (941) 949-1985.
• Jeff Savage, Director of Admissions, Snow College, Ephriam, UT 84627. Email [email protected]; cell: 928-322-0886. (Former
direct report at Eastern Arizona College; former vice president at New Mexico Military Institute.)