B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Electrical Engineering – 1977, 1981, 1982
Dr. Karan L. Watson is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University. She is also a Regents Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Watson graduated from Wichita Falls High School and then earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Texas Tech in 1977. As an undergraduate student, she lettered in track and field and was a student senator. After graduation, she worked as an engineer for AT&T Long Lines and then Hicks and Ragland Consulting Company, before returning to Texas Tech to earn a Master of Science in 1981 and a Doctor of Philosophy in electrical engineering in 1982.
In 1983, she joined the faculty of Texas A&M University. From 1991-1996, she was the associate dean for graduate studies in the Dwight Look College of Engineering. She also served the Look College as associate dean for academic affairs from 1996-2002 and as a member of the Faculty Senate. She was dean of faculties and associate provost of Texas A&M from February 2002 to December 2008.
Watson held the position of interim vice president and associate provost for diversity from 2005 to 2006 and again from December 2008 until July 2009. Watson was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs in March 2011.
She has chaired the graduate committees of 35 doctoral students and more than 60 master's degree students. In the 2003–2004 academic year, she served as a senior fellow of the National Academy of Engineering Center for the Advancement of Scholarship in Engineering Education. Since 1991, she has served as an accreditation evaluator and commissioner and is now on the Board of Directors for ABET, Inc., formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. She is currently president-elect for ABET and will serve as the president for ABET from October 2012 until October 2013.
Watson is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education. Her awards and recognitions include the U.S. President's Award for Mentoring Minorities and Women in Science and Technology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science mentoring award, the IEEE International Undergraduate Teaching Award, the College of Engineering Crawford Teaching Award, and two University-level Distinguished Achievement Awards from The Texas A&M University Association of Former Students—one in Student Relations in 1992 and one in Administration in 2010.
Karan and Nancy Watson reside in College Station with their six dogs, five horses, and herd of seven cattle.