Dr. Robin E. Bowen, Arkansas Tech University president, is the 2023 ACUI president of the year.
Bowen received the award during the ACUI Annual Conference in Boston, Mass.
“In preparation for building a new student union and recreation center, Dr. Robin Bowen intentionally provided many student groups the platform to voice their needs,” reads a statement on the ACUI website recognizing Bowen for the award. “She is a tireless advocate for resources and tools that will help students succeed and provides support for opportunities such as OnTrack, a program that inspires students to reach their full potential through participation in various co-curricular experiences. Her emphasis on grit, integrity and success is instilled in students through Bowen’s leadership and connection with the campus community.”
ACUI describes itself as a “professional home to thousands of campus community builders around the world.”
The organization’s website goes on to state that ACUI is “focused on the work of those within the college unions and student activities field” and that the association “strives to provide an inclusive, welcoming community for all those who choose to belong.”
Dana London, student member of the ACUI Board of Trustees from Kennesaw State University, introduced Bowen at the awards ceremony.
“Dr. Bowen created the culture of ‘students first’ and ‘every student counts’ and is clear that it will be pervasive through the university,” said London. “She is regarded among students as a fearless leader…one who inspires. The relationship that Dr. Bowen fosters with students makes them feel like they have a voice. Everyone who has met Dr. Bowen on campus, in the community, throughout Arkansas and beyond says the same thing. She is extremely passionate about student success and exudes a sense of warmth and a caring attitude that is infectious to everyone she meets.”
Bowen was unanimously elected the 12th president of Arkansas Tech University by the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees on April 22, 2014. She took office on July 1, 2014, as the first female president of a public, four-year university in Arkansas.
ATU has developed and enacted two strategic plans (2016-2022 and 2022-25), a new campus master plan and new mission and vision statements under Bowen’s leadership. Arkansas Tech has achieved gains in its four-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen on the ATU campus in Russellville and the three-year graduation rate at ATU-Ozark Campus during the Bowen presidency.
ATU has earned national acclaim from the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index as a leading institution in providing students with access to an enhanced economic position following graduation. Arkansas Tech is No. 1 in Arkansas on the 2022 Social Mobility Index, a position it has held eight of the last nine years. ATU is among the top 5 percent of all U.S. institutions of higher education on the Social Mobility Index.
In addition, U.S. News and World Report selected ATU as the No. 1 public, regional university in Arkansas as part of its 2022 and 2023 college rankings for overall quality. As of 2023, ATU is listed among U.S. News and World Report’s top 32 public universities in the South.
Private support for Arkansas Tech has steadily increased during Dr. Bowen’s tenure as president. Donors provided more than $12.5 million in new gifts and pledges to the ATU Foundation during the 2021-22 fiscal year and the university is engaged in its first comprehensive capital campaign.