Kathleen Rowley

My research interests involve college/university leaders’ challenge in developing a vision for emerging fields and preparing their institutions for those directions, and in examining students’ pathways from college to the workplace and beyond (past structured employment), whether those directions are technical, business, creative, scholarly, or a combination.

We’ve all heard most adults change course 7 times in their work lifetimes; when examining my own experience or yours, perhaps it’s been more than that. One university counselor in the early 1980s advised me that creativity would become the skill most in demand by the year 2000. A short while ago, I read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Review section that identified changing types of work from 1800-2009, and named categories as: agriculture, working class, creative class, and service class (Robots Aren’t the Problem: It’s Us, by Richard Florida, CHE Review, March 29, 2013, p. B11). Creative class is a relatively new category. So it seems my clairvoyant counselor was on the right track in predicting the rise of creativity.

To illustrate this trend, STEAM schools are challenging the decades-old dichotomy between science and the arts. I’m glad to see the two areas may finally be converging, as my academic impulses led me to pursue studies in art (result: an MFA with a focus in Japanese paper) and organizational leadership (an Ed.D. with a dissertation on critical characteristics of future college leaders), and to spend multiple years developing grants predominantly in STEM fields. These apparently divergent areas are, I believe, reflective of the variety in many people’s academic and career paths. I’m interested in following the choices people make through both their educational and employment/life path pursuits. This includes seeing what ways and tools we can find or develop to connect the courses of study students pursue and where they find work, including noting what kind of work that turns out to be. And it also includes peering into the two or more decades of life following retirement where work, interests, and pursuits are structured differently than earlier in life, and pondering the potential of that phase.

Contact Kathleen at kathleen.rowley@ronininstitute.org