As the daughter of a Methodist minister, Donde Plowman moved every four years and lived in six small towns in Oklahoma for her father’s job. After high school graduation, she moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She continued her academic career at the University of North Texas, where she earned a master’s in higher education administration, and the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her doctorate in strategic management.
She currently serves as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In this role, she is the number two administrative position for the campus and oversees academic affairs, student affairs, Office of Research Economic Development and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Prior to being named executive vice chancellor, she served for more than six years as the James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Under Plowman’s leadership, the college increased enrollment by 35 percent in six years, added 70 new faculty, created several new academic programs, including the College of Business Honors Academy, the Clifton Strengths Institute and many student services. She led a major fundraising effort that resulted in gifts nearing $150 million, including $84 million for a new building that opened in August 2017. In that time period the college moved up in the US News & World Report rankings of undergraduate business programs from No. 72 to No. 45.
Prior to Nebraska, Plowman was on the management faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville from 2007 to 2010, serving as department head of the department of management for two years. She began her academic career at the University of Texas at San Antonio as an assistant professor of management and advanced to the position of professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research, where she was responsible for the creation of the doctorate degree in business.
A well-known scholar in the area of leadership and organizational change, Plowman’s research was featured in The Wall Street Journal in April 2012. Her publications have appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organizational Science, Leadership Quarterly, Decision Sciences and several others. She was awarded one of the most highly coveted awards in her field – the Academy of Management Journal Best Paper award for her paper, “Radical Change Accidentally: The Emergence and Amplification of Small Change” in 2008.
In 2015, Plowman received the “Inspire Woman of the Year Award,” given by the Lincoln Journal Star. She has twice been named one of the 30 Most Influential Women in Lincoln and in 2016 received the Noddle Distinguished Development Service Award from the Nebraska University Board of Trustees in recognition of her fundraising efforts as dean of the College of Business.
Plowman is married to Dennis Duchon, a professor of management and department chair at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has two sons Kevin Ashmos and an adopted son, Chijioke Onuoha, who reside in Austin, Texas.