Dr. Watson joined the Department of Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Higher Education in the fall of 2010 with over 20 years' experience in sport pedagogy. Prior to coming to UNLV, she began her academic career as faculty in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Utah, where she developed and directed U Move with the Starzz and YouthCity after-school and summer programs which served underserved adolescent and refugee youth in the greater Salt Lake City area; YouthCity continues to serve youth of the area today.
Her areas of expertise include mentoring and development of doctoral students, working with and in diverse organizations, and issues concerning preparing culturally responsive leaders in higher education. She has published numerous manuscripts and chapters in the areas of facilitation of personal and social responsibility through physical activity and is the lead author of the book, Using Physical Activity and Sport to Teach Personal and Social Responsibility (2013). In addition, she is currently under contract as co-editor for a second book (Dio Press), entitled, The history of now: Urban education, alternative routes to licensure and the oral histories of Black and Latinx educators. Dr. Watson’s research interest also focuses on campus climate as situated at Minority Serving Institutions. She has a forthcoming manuscript, Perceptions of Student Affairs Administrators at an Emerging MSI in About Campus, Sage Publishers.
Dr. Watson maintains active work in seeking funding and, to date, has secured over 9 million dollars to support youth programs, student scholarships, student emergency funding, and research. She has served in many leadership roles while at UNLV including, but not limited to, graduate council chair (2012-2014), founding director of the Supporting Our Students Emergency Fund (2018-2020), and associate dean for academic programs for the College of Education (2016-2019). She most recently worked with colleagues at UNLV to develop and convene the first ever Faculty Senate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and served as chair from 2019- 2021. Dr. Watson currently serves as the program and graduate coordinator for the higher education program in the College of Education.
Student learning and development, working with and in diverse organizations, community-based research, and issues concerning preparing culturally responsive leaders in higher education