The following brief biographical statement is designed to give my students and curious others some insight into who I am in addition to the role I play as professor in my classes. If I have not provided information about those things you most want to know, send me email, and I will consider adding that information to this page.

The Early Years

I was born in Colorado and grew up in Los Altos, California. Although Los Altos is now in the heart of the Silicon Valley, it was a small town in the San Francisco Bay Area while I was growing up there. I attended Los Altos high school for two years and then transferred to Menlo School and College for my junior and senior years.

The College Years, Part One

I began college as a chemistry major at the College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio. Failing calculus and a natural facility for writing convinced me to change my major to English. I spent my sophomore year at Redlands University in Southern California. After that year, I spent a year working as an auto insurance underwriter for the Continental Casualty Company in downtown Los Angeles before returning to college. I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Illinois, with a major in English (with enough hours for a double major in literature and rhetoric—I took the degree in literature) and a double minor in psychology and sociology.

The College Years, Part Two

I entered the graduate program in English at the University of Illinois in 1965 and was selected for an assistantship teaching business communication. That was the year that the United States began increasing its presence in the Republic of Vietnam. Following a year of struggle with my draft board, I entered the Army in September 1966 and was stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky; San Antonio, Texas; and Vietnam. Following my discharge from the Army, I re-entered graduate school at the U of I, resumed my teaching assistantship, and completed the Ph.D. in English in 1974. My area of specialization was nineteenth-century English literature. The title of my dissertation was “Consciousness As Disease in Early Nineteenth-Century English Literature.”

A Real Job At Last

After completing the doctorate in 1974, I accepted a job at the University of Florida in Gainesville teaching business communication and business report writing and spent a year there. When I learned of the opening in the College of Business at Western Michigan University, I applied and have been teaching here since September 1975. More information about my professional life is available in the section on Professional Information.

Family Matters

I have been married to Dr. Mary Ann (Wells) Bowman since 1962. We have one son, who is also named Joel (following a long family tradition). Mary Ann, who took early retirement from the University is currently self-employed and living in Sarasota, Florida. Our son completed an undergraduate degree at WMU, with a major in sociology and minors in Asian Studies and Japanese. In April 1996, he married Kazumi Sada, whom he met while spending his junior year studying at Nagoya Gakuin University, in Japan. Kazumi spent the 1995-1996 academic year at WMU as an exchange student and managed to survive taking BIS 102 with me. I currently reside in Kalamazoo with three aging cats (Smokey, Shadow, and A.C.).

Other Personal Stuff

In my spare time, I enjoy reading (usually nonfiction, primarily in the areas of psychology and communication) and writing. I am currently at work on two books (one on business and managerial communication and one on Neurolinguisic Programming). I hold the rank of san dan (third-degree black belt) in Uechi-Ryu Okinawan Karate-Do and work out at the Okinawan Karate Academy on South Westnedge when time permits.

I am a founding member of The Professional Development Group (formerly Winners’ Round Table), a group dedicated to increased self-understanding and improved interpersonal and organizational communication. The group reads and discusses books about business and personal success and meets for breakfast at 6:30A Wednesday mornings.

Three years ago, Rev. Debra Basham, CHTP, and I co-developed Subtle Communication Systems, a combination of energy awareness and neurolinguistics, which we apply primarily in holistic therapy, including pre- and postsurgical support. For more information about Subtle Communication Systems, see the SCS Enterprises Website.

If you'd like more information about The Professional Development Group, including the current book and restaurant, send me email requesting it.

Send email  Go to BUS 370   Professional Information