Executive Dean, Schools of Public Engagement
Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Building
Mary Watson was appointed Executive Dean of the Schools of Public Engagement in July 2014. In this capacity, she leads the founding division of The New School with the aim of advancing its innovative approaches to action oriented, engaged learning in the world. Her current work at The New School includes co-leading a university-wide management, leadership, and entrepreneurship initiative, Management @ The New School, which bridges programs in strategic design and management, media management, arts entrepreneurship, and nonprofit and organizational change management. Watson is a key leader worldwide in university networks advancing change in higher education, including the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative and the Ashoka Changemaker campus initiative. She is co-founder of The New School’s university-wide Social Innovation Initiative and Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative, which includes The New School Collaboratory, a Rockefeller Foundation-funded initiative on university community partnerships. Watson contributed the chapter "Designing the University of the Future: A New Global Agenda for Higher Education" for the book, The New Global Agenda: Priorities, Practices, and Pathways for the International Community (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) edited by Diana Ayton-Shenker.
Watson's creative practice and scholarship on the human rights of workers reflect her commitment to a more just and equitable world. She has more than two decades of experience in higher education as a faculty member, chair, associate dean, and interim dean, as well as broad experience in change leadership consulting for organizations and universities. She is a recipient of The New School's Distinguished University Teaching Award. Watson holds a PhD in Organization Studies from Vanderbilt University.