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Southeast Missouri State University

Wayne Bowen

Chair, Department of History

Dr. Wayne Bowen, chair of the Department of History, has built a reputation as a professor who is a lifelong learner.

A native of Lompoc, Calif., Dr. Bowen received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Southern California (USC) and his master’s degree and doctoral degree in European history from Northwestern University.

“My parents and grandparents were all teachers, but until college I never considered it as a career,” he said, “It wasn't until I took several history courses at USC, and was inspired by several professors, that I decided that would be my future, too.”

When teaching, Dr. Bowen said he prefers to lead seminars using the Socratic Method of questioning, but even in lecture-based survey courses, he tries to engage the students with the material through questions and small group discussions.

Dr. Bowen says he would like his students to know that they learn together.  Every time he gives a lecture or leads a discussion, he says he learns from students a new way to see the material.

Dr. Bowen’s also serves in the Army Reserve. As a major with the Reserve, he has more than 18 years of service.

“I enjoy the training, leadership experiences and other opportunities I have had as a result of my time in uniform,” he says.

In 2004, the Army sent Wayne to Iraq as a Civil Affairs officer. While abroad, he was assigned to work with universities and archaeological sites. His work allowed him to personally experience some of the oldest archaeological sites in the region and at the same time observe and interact with modern culture in the Middle East.

“It was an honor to serve with my fellow soldiers, as well as to work with many courageous and noble Iraqis, as we tried to rebuild their nation after decades of tyranny, neglect and war,” Dr. Bowen said.

He has also collected learning experiences closer to home, serving as an alternate Arkansas delegate at the Republican National Convention.

“The convention was a real learning experience for me,” Wayne added.  “In addition to hearing the speeches, which was a phenomenal education in civics, I was also in awe of the logistics. It was interesting to see the coordination behind the event.” 

Wayne’s time in Southeast Missouri is dedicated to his family.

“I most enjoy spending time with my wife and son.  He is a joy, most of the time, and continually surprises me with his comments on his world,” Dr. Bowen adds.

He says he enjoys Southeast and the Cape Girardeau region, especially after learning about its history and geography and being introduced to the small towns and communities that make up the Bootheel.

Beyond work and spending time with his family, Dr. Bowen enjoys traveling.

“I've visited 28 countries on four continents, but I have a tough standard to beat; my grandparents were all world travelers, with well over 100 countries between them.  I'd like to make it to Turkey, Egypt, Norway and the rest of Scandinavia and also go back to some of my favorite places: Spain, Ireland, and the UK.  The Lord of the Rings fan in me also wants to see New Zealand,” he says.

He offers the following advice to his students: “Life, like my exams, is cumulative.  You may never know when something you learn today in math, English composition or history will be the key to completing a task, building a relationship, or satisfying someone's curiosity.”