By Gracen Gaskins/Clarion News staff
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Dr. Darius Watson has been a popular history professor at Lincoln University since arriving on campus in 2019. He recently left the classroom to serve as the Interim Dean of Enrollment Management. The Clarion recently sat down with Watson to discuss his new position.
The Clarion: What made you decide to move from teaching to administration?
Watson: I made the decision to move from associate professor to Interim Dean of Enrollment Management quite simply because it was a great opportunity to make a difference. While I could affect the futures of 50-70 students a term as a professor, I felt like the ability to engage enrollment and recruitment across the University would allow me to impact the future of all our students. Whether as a professor or as an interim dean, my primary motivation is always a desire to make a difference and in this new position I feel as if I’m doing exactly that.
The Clarion: What do you miss most about teaching?
Watson: Although it has only been a few months, the thing I miss most about teaching is having large amounts of time to make critical examinations of issues before having to make decisions. Regardless of how much work I might have engaged as a professor, the schedule of responsibilities and tasks is pretty much driven by the yearly framework of semesters. As a dean, many of the decisions that must be made require much shorter lead time, and thus the potential for having to make them with less than complete information.
The Clarion: What are some challenges that you are facing in your new position?
Watson: My primary challenge in the new position is the need to make significant improvements and changes to a variety of different systems and processes in a short period of time. While I am confident in my skills and abilities, I am also engaging several steep learning curves relative to a lack of extensive experience in some of the areas I’m engaging. The result is I am not always as fully prepared as I would like to be, but it is something that I’m working extremely hard to overcome as I try to promote progress across the Admissions offices.
The Clarion: How does this job differ from your teaching position?
Watson: Perhaps the most significant difference between administration and teaching is a fundamental understanding of university operations as a business versus an academic environment. In the short time I have been in this office, I have begun engaging several processes and issues from perspectives that, as a faculty member, often seemed onerous or tedious. While there are several areas where I continue to grow and learn, one significant strength I’ve been able to use is combining faculty and administrative perspectives in a way that each group separately often finds difficult to do.
The Clarion: How do you feel about the administration at Lincoln?
Darius Watson: As a part of the administration here at Lincoln, I’m excited to feel like I am part of a team. Everyone from the president to the staffs of the various offices has been putting forth enormous effort and energy towards accomplishing the goal of making LU a truly great institution. There are many moving pieces that require high levels of coordination and cooperation, and I truly believe this administration is doing everything it can to affect change and progress in those areas most vital to institutional advancement. There is certainly a lot of work still to be done. But the commitment I have seen so far convinces me that we as a university are on the path to success.