Honors calls for Cowles
Cardboard boxes, cat decorations and colorful children's artwork greet visitors to the office of Maria Green Cowles, the new associate director of the University Honors Program. Cowles replaces John Shosky in the position.
Cowles taught Honors courses in World Politics and Beyond Sovereignty for four years in the School of International Studies before being appointed to associate director.
"I think that the Honors Program is a big draw for AU," Cowles said. "I would like to see it offer more study abroad opportunities and more effective communication with our students."
Cowles is a native of Moorhead, Minn., where both of her parents were teachers. Yet growing up, she never imagined that she would become a teacher herself.
"My father was a college professor and because of that, I never wanted to be a college professor," she joked.
After attending Concordia College, she came to a School of International Service masters program at AU on a full scholarship.
"I found myself stimulated when I came here," Cowles said. "I studied under both Professors Cromwell and Clarke, and they taught me a love of the subject matter."
Cowles was accepted into the Foreign Service and the Presidential Management Intern Program, but chose to pursue her doctorate in International Relations at AU.
"My most notable professional accomplishment was receiving the Social Science Research Council MacArthur Fellowship," she said. "[It] allowed me to travel to Harvard University, the University of California-Berkeley, Georgetown University and to the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels as a visiting fellow."
As a scholar in her field, Cowles is actively involved in studying the political activities of multi-national firms and how they are attempting to set global policies. She is also an expert on the European Union and has authored "Transforming Europe" and the forthcoming "Developments in the EU," to be published in 2004.
Because her new job is mostly administrative, Cowles is already a little wistful of her teaching days.
"I miss teaching already," she said. "I miss the interaction with my students."
But given her busy schedule, there is little time for reminiscing.
"I am researching the best honors practices at other schools in the United States," Cowles said. "And I am always asking students what they would like to see in the program."
Aside from her time at AU, Cowles enjoys traveling, especially to the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy. She also enjoys spending time with her daughters, ages 2 and 5.
"I like seeing the world through my daughters' eyes," she said.