Stephen Bowen is a biologist by training. He came up through the ranks at Michigan Technological University, joining its faculty as an assistant professor in 1978 and becoming first a department chair, then associate dean, then vice provost, before serving a six-month term as interim provost in 2000. Later that year he became Michigan Tech's vice provost for instruction and distance learning before leaving to join the Bucknell administration in 2001.

Oxford's mission is very close to my heart as an educator," says Bowen. "The faculty have a commitment that is humbling and an esprit de corps that is engaging; the president and the provost have high expectations of Oxford and are committed to supporting its progress. Perhaps most compelling is the fact that Emory juniors and seniors who spent their first two years at Oxford eagerly testify to the exceptional education they got there, one that is liberal arts-intensive. The ideal to which many liberal arts colleges aspire is realized at Oxford."

Bowen's academic specialty is in the ecology of fisheries, having published widely on diet and digestion in a number of aquatic species, nutritional value of several water-borne substances, DNA diversity in the Great Lakes, and other subjects. He is a certified fisheries biologist by the American Fisheries Society, and has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the state of Michigan, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and other agencies.

Bowen received his bachelor's degree in 1971 from Depauw University, followed two years later by an M.A. from Indiana University. He earned his Ph.D. in 1976 from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.