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Dr. Kathleen (Kate) Drowne, associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business (CASB) at Missouri S&T, has been named interim vice provost and dean of CASB, effective July 1, 2019. Drowne moves into the position as Dr. Stephen Roberts, CASB’s vice provost and dean since 2014, begins serving as Missouri S&T’s interim provost, also effective July 1.
“CASB will be in very capable hands with Kate as interim dean,” says Missouri S&T interim Chancellor Christopher G. Maples. “Her leadership at S&T has helped us graduate students who are better prepared for all aspects of their careers, and she’s been instrumental in helping to connect our technological research with the sciences, humanities and liberal arts to demonstrate technology’s real impact on people and society.”
“After working with Dr. Drowne for the last five years, I have every confidence in her ability to lead the college during this transitional time,” says Roberts. “Among her many accomplishments, she has been the driving force behind establishing the college’s First Year Research Experience program and S&T’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society.”
A member of the Missouri S&T faculty since 2001, Drowne has served as associate dean for academic affairs in CASB since January 1, 2015. She says that as interim CASB dean, she hopes to carry on the good work initiated by Steve Roberts since his arrival on campus.
“I am honored to be chosen for this interim position,” says Drowne. “It will be an exciting year, and I look forward to working with faculty in CASB and leaders across campus and beyond to create opportunities for faculty, staff and students to make positive and meaningful contributions in the areas that are most important to them.”
Drowne is also professor of English and technical communication and the current director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS), which provides seed grants that fund collaborations among humanists, social scientists, natural scientists and engineers. The goal is for research teams to start with small projects and turn them into larger, high-impact research proposals aimed at federal funding agencies.
“We’ve created opportunities for faculty from both colleges to work together to demonstrate how technical advances change our society,” says Drowne. “New technologies have the potential to affect people’s lives, either for harm or for good. Researchers need to consider the consequences of scientific and technological breakthroughs in inclusive and thoughtful ways.”
Under Drowne’s leadership, CASB began the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program for undergraduate students to participate in research opportunities. The program creates opportunities for first-year and new transfer students to work closely with faculty research mentors on innovative research projects.
“The FYRE program lets new S&T students engage meaningfully in a variety of faculty-led projects, and helps them learn the fundamentals of how to conduct original research,” says Drowne. “Faculty mentors also really enjoy building these relationships with new students, and seeing these students increase their skills and their confidence over the course of the experience.”
Drowne holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a bachelor of arts degree in English from Colby College and a master of arts degree in English from the University of Connecticut. Before joining Missouri S&T, she was a resident fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University.
Drowne has taught courses in the American novel, the American short story, contemporary American literature, the American 1920s, rhetoric and composition, and research writing. Her scholarship focuses largely on the intersection of literature and popular culture in the American 1920s and beyond, and specifically examines how women and African Americans in particular have experienced certain social and cultural transformations.
Drowne is the author of two books: Spirits of Defiance: National Prohibition and Jazz Age Literature, 1920-1933, published in 2005, and Understanding Richard Russo, published in 2014. She also is the co-author of American Popular Culture Through History: The 1920s, published in 2004.