Associate Dean, Institute of Education and Teacher Excellence
  • 2012, Ph.D. (Educational Studies), Ball State University
  • 2004, M.A. (Educational Leadership and Supervision), Ball State University
  • 1997, B.A. (Spanish and Japanese Teaching), Ball State University

Dr. Karen Dowling always knew she wanted to be a teacher, but she never dreamed of becoming a teacher educator. A trilingual individual, fluent in both Japanese and Spanish, Dr. Dowling is no stranger to the teaching world, nor is she inexperienced in the creation and expansion of educational programs. Perhaps that is how she finds herself here, the Director of the new Doctor of Education in Ethical Leadership online program.

Dr. Dowling has been a teacher, an administrator, as well as leader in both the P-12 and Higher Education Arenas. Having started at the High School level in Indianapolis, she eventually moved over to Muncie, IN, where she began a Japanese Language program at both Muncie Central High School and South Side High School. Transitioning away from the P-12 educational system, she decided to start her own Doctoral program at Ball State University where she was privileged with the opportunity to serve as a professional development liaison, student teaching supervisor, methods instructor, and multi-cultural education professor. She considers that time in her professional history as the ideal job transition, as it still allowed her to continue interaction between fellow educators, students, and even the local organizations where she helped prepare teacher candidates.

Understanding that this is a premier program, and the institution’s only doctoral level of study, Dr. Dowling views this new online format as an opportunity to expand the reach of the mission of Olivet Nazarene University and the tenets of the doctoral degree for cultural and societal transformation.

Dr. Dowling has recently celebrated 20 years of marriage with her husband, Trent Dowling. Together, they are actively involved in their local church, serving in various areas where their knowledge and skillsets are best put to work. The pair have two sons, Jared (18), and Joel (14). With the example of strong leadership in both of their parents, it comes as no surprise the level of involvement the Dowling boys have, as they serve as both the Senior and Sophomore class presidents, respectively.