Associate Professor of Management
Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Building
Mary R. Watson is the Executive Dean of the Schools of Public Engagement. She has served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, and she was previously the Chair of the graduate programs in Organizational Change and Nonprofit Management. Watson is a recipient of The New School's Distinguished University Teaching Award. She earned her PhD in organization studies from Vanderbilt University.
Watson serves in leadership roles worldwide to reimagine management, sustainability, and innovation education. Watson is a founding steering committee member of the The New School Social Innovation Initiative, a university-wide initiative that created The New Challenge, the New School’s social innovation ideas competition, as well as The New School Collaboratory, a university wide fund and action research project to study collaboration between the University and its community partners. She has been active in Ashoka University’s global network, a project of more than 20 universities advancing empathy and innovation education. Watson is a member of 50+20, a global network of business school deans and partners reinventing management education worldwide, focusing on sustainability, collaboration, and globally responsible leadership. The 50+20 project, in partnership with the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GLRI, Brussels), Principles for Responsible Leadership (New York, PRME), and the UN Global Compact, has launched a higher education leadership innovation cohort project in four global locations: The New School (January 2014), University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, Oulu University in Finland, and CENTRUM in Peru.
Watson’s scholarship, creative practice, and teaching in advancing the human rights of workers worldwide represents field leadership in an important area for Milano. Watson's academic work addresses contemporary human capital issues in organizations, with particular emphasis on the social impact of shifting labor market inequalities. She has conducted research on global management, executive career paths, recruitment and retention in nonprofit organizations, downsizing and stock prices, and the evolution of inter-organizational fields. Her research is published in the Academy of Management Journal, the Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Popular Music, Communication Yearbook, and the IRRA Research Annals, among other outlets.
Watson is a frequent presenter at conferences worldwide on the topics of global leadership, social impact, and management practice. She has been scholar in residence, visiting faculty, or executive coach in programs in India (Indian School of Business), South Korea (Korean Trade Association/HSE), Austria (Vienna University), Australia (University of Adelaide), Switzerland (IMD), and the United States (UNC-Chapel Hill). She has consulted for more than two decades in corporate, higher education, and nonprofit organizations. Her numerous board and advisory committee roles demonstrate a record of election to leadership positions.