Endowed Chair funded by JoAnn Bowlsbey, Fennell named first recipient

April 19, 2010

Visionary leader in career development training and education JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey has established The L. Stanley Bowlsbey Chair in Education and Graduate and Professional Studies, named in memorial tribute to her husband of 33 years, and professor and administrator who had served Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) for more than three decades as its first graduate dean.

The first recipient of the endowed chair is Francis “Skip” Fennell, professor of Education and coordinator of the graduate-level program in elementary education.

Faculty and trustees applaud Professor Fennell who was named first recipient of the Bowlsbey Chair in Education and Graduate and Professional Studies

President Joan Develin Coley announced the $1.5-million gift to endow the Bowlsbey Chair Friday, April 16 at the College’s annual dinner for trustees and faculty.

“JoAnn’s gift advances the extraordinary teaching that is the hallmark of a McDaniel College education,” Coley said. “We deeply appreciate her great philanthropic and leadership commitment to McDaniel. This gift will memorialize a beloved educator and mentor, and will continue to enrich our students’ educational experience for many generations to come.”

Stan Bowlsbey first came to the liberal arts college in Westminster, Md., as a student in 1948 where he majored in both English and French, graduating in 1952.

After service in the Army (honorably discharged as Army Captain), he worked briefly for the Boy Scouts and then began his teaching career at Baltimore Junior College [now Community College of Baltimore]; he had received his M.Ed. degree from then Western Maryland College in 1959. He taught English and journalism at Baltimore Junior College where he was named Dean of the Faculty, a post he held while also completing his doctorate in English and higher education administration at the University of Iowa.

In 1969, he joined the faculty as Professor of Education and two years later, was named Director (later Dean), of the graduate program, upon the retirement of his mentor, Dr. Joseph R. Bailer.

From that time, until 1988, he served with distinction as director of the program leading to graduate degrees; he also coordinated a highly successful graduate program in school administration from which graduated scores of principals and supervisors in Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. During his long tenure, the graduate program grew steadily; new programs and degrees were created; and the Department of Education, of which he also served as chair for a number of years, expanded and evolved into one which produced an award-winning undergraduate teacher education program and which simultaneously provided comprehensive and highly successful graduate programs for teachers and other interested individuals which met with acclaim by various evaluative bodies. He was named an Outstanding Educator of America in 1970 and 1974, and awarded the College’s Joseph R. Bailer Award in 1988. The College trustees selected Bowlsbey to receive the Trustee Alumni Award in 2000. He passed away in January 2008.

His mentorship of new professors, especially in the Education Department, yielded outstanding educators including current McDaniel President Joan Develin Coley, Dr. Francis “Skip” Fennell, and Dr. Donald Rabush, retired professor of special education who founded the Target Community and Educational Services nonprofit organization, and Dr. Brian Lockard, retired Carroll County Schools superintendent and retired associate professor of Education, who succeeded Stan as program coordinator of the graduate program in Educational Administration.

The selection of Professor Fennell as the first recipient of the Bowlsbey Chair completes a defining era of education at the liberal arts college. “My husband, Stan, both recruited and hired Skip as the first elementary education coordinator in 1976, and he embodies Stan’s unwavering dedication to excellence in leadership, teaching and service,” said JoAnn.

Francis 'Skip' Fennell with JoAnn Harris-Bowlsbey

Fennell is a mathematics educator and has experience as a classroom teacher, a principal, and a supervisor of instruction. From 2005-08, he set an outstanding example as president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the world’s largest and most influential mathematics education organization. While there, he helped create and promote “Curriculum Focal Points,” a document that spells out the core math skills students need in grades pre-K through eighth grade, which drew praise from combatants on various sides of the “math wars.” More recently, he served on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, a White House-commissioned group charged with identifying the most effective ways to prepare students for introductory algebra.

Professor Fennell with his wife Nita

He is widely published in professional journals and textbooks related to elementary and middle-grade mathematics education. In addition, Fennell has played key leadership roles with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Research Council for Mathematics Learning, the Mathematical Sciences Education Board, the National Science Foundation, the Maryland Mathematics Commission, the United States National Commission for Mathematics Instruction, and the Association for Mathematics Teacher Educators.

Dr. Harris-Bowlsbey is internationally renowned for her visionary development of computer-based career development systems and career planning curricula dating back to 1966 when she pioneered a project funded by the Illinois State Board of Education. Within a decade she led the development of a more advanced system, DISCOVER that was funded through a U.S. Office of Education grant, and later acquired by ACT, Inc.
Her curricular materials have influenced career counselors in both public and private educational, corporate, and state systems as well as invited consultancies in Japan. She is the past president of the National Career Development Association and recipient of its Eminent Career Award. From 1990-2002, she served as a trustee and representative on the American Counseling Association Governing Council. Currently, she is the vice president of development for Kuder Inc., the leading provider of Internet-based tools and resources that aid students and adults in their educational and career planning goals.