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Contact: Mark McGowan, NIU Office of Public Affairs
June 22, 2006
DeKalb — Lemuel Watson, chair of the Northern Illinois University Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education since 2003, has become the College of Education's acting associate dean.
Watson is stepping in for Diane Jackman, who becomes dean of the Eastern Illinois University College of Education and Professional Studies later this week. A search for a permanent replacement begins this fall, Dean Chris Sorensen said, and a successor should start work for the fall semester of 2007.
The search is on Watson's radar – he's considering throwing his name in the hat – as he considers the importance of the upcoming NCATE assessment and his duty to serve faculty needs. He also plans to continue teaching a class “here and there” and advising his 10 doctoral students, half of whom are in the dissertation stage.
“I'm so excited. There are lots of exciting things going on in the College of Education, and I'm looking forward to seeing the field in a totally different way,” Watson said.
“I have at other institutions been involved in elementary education, reading and literacy, adult education, K-12 administration and principalships and research. I feel like I have a touch of what all the departments do, and I'll be able to at least have a dialogue across departments.”
Sorensen is pleased by Watson's decision.
“Most everyone who's interacted with Lemuel would say he's just a natural leader. One of the things I told him that I've noted about him is that it's rare to find in any person the ability to see the big picture and, at the same time, attend to the details. He's good at both,” Sorensen said.
“He's also very good with people,” she added, “and he'll be a wonderful addition to the team.”
Watson's career in higher education began in the office of the chancellor at Indiana University, where he conducted faculty development, assessment and orientation.
He took his first faculty position at Illinois State University after earning his doctorate, and later expanded his resume as a community college dean and by building graduate programs in educational leadership and higher education and student at Clemson University.
His research interests include examining institutions of higher education and how their structures, practices and policies affect learning, development and educational outcomes of students, especially historically under-represented students.
In his new position, he'll concentrate on learning more about the faculty and extending his “reach and influence” across the entire college.
“I work very well with the dean. I work very well with the faculty,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to find ways to make life better for the faculty in the College of Education in any capacity I can. They're all very hard-working and deserving of whatever services I can provide.”
Watson, who's placing his department in the “capable hands” of acting chair Fran Giordano, said he is likely to apply for the associate dean's job. Sorensen said she hopes to see his name among the applicants.
“I'm open to anything. Life changes so fast,” Watson said. “Unfortunately, I have the disadvantage of really respecting our dean, and she probably could talk me into anything. That's why I'm in this position now. I really love her as a friend and as a colleague.”
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