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Robert Watson is a professor, author, media commentator and community activist who joined the faculty of Lynn in 2007 after spending 15 years teaching at other universities around the country. He has published more than 40 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia/reference essays. Watson has co-convened a half-dozen national conferences on the American presidency, moderated political debates and forums and delivered more than one thousand keynote addresses, town hall programs and lectures to civic, professional and community groups. His work in the community also includes founding three non-profit think tanks dedicated to civic education, political reform, and fact-checking campaign lies.
A frequent media commentator, Watson has been interviewed thousands of times by local, national and international television, radio, print and online outlets including CNN, MSNBC, “Time,” “USA Today,” “The New York Times,” the BBC and others, and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Book TV,” “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” CNN’s “Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff,” Fox’s “Special Report with Brit Hume” and more. Watson is also the editor of SUNY Press' popular book series on the American presidents and both edits and directs the multi-level volume, multi-edition encyclopedia sets "American Presidents" and "American First Ladies" for Salem Press/Grey House Publishing.
Professionally, he serves or has served on the boards of several scholarly journals, academic associations and community foundations, as well as with the Harry Truman Foundation, the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation and the George McGovern Library and Center for Public Service. He is the founding editor of the journal “White House Studies” and both directs and edits the “Report to the First Lady,” which is presented to the First Lady and White House every four years after the Inauguration. Watson also serves as the official political analyst for WPTV 5 (NBC), writes a Sunday column for the Sun-Sentinel newspaper and is regular guest on a number of other media programs, including "Issues" on WPBT 2 (PBS).
- B.S., Virginia Tech
- M.P.A., University of West Florida
- Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University
Teaching is both an honor and a great responsibility. Watson believes students learn best when the experience is both fun and collaborative, and thus he has never been shy about sharing his passion for politics, history and community service with his students or requiring active participation in the classroom. After all, he believes that if one instills in students the joy of learning and a hunger for discovery, they will teach themselves for a lifetime, and the journey will make them better citizens, neighbors, consumers and family members. There are essentially four facets that define Watson's approach to teaching: (1) to provide students with a conceptual framework for understanding the topic at hand; (2) to ask students to seek out the lessons of history and interrelationships that impact most public issues and problems; (3) to stress critical thinking through role-playing, debate and lively class discussions; and (4) to compliment lectures and readings with experiential and community-based learning activities.
- American politics and government
- American history
- American presidency and Congress
- Campaigns/elections and media politics
- Race and gender issues
- Social justice
- Environmental politics and history
Areas of Scholarship and Professional Practice
- American presidency
- First ladies
- American government
- Campaigns and elections
- Environmental policy
- U.S. national security and terrorism
- Women and leadership
- Public administration
- American history
- Military history
For his work, Robert Watson has won numerous awards, including the “International Abraham Lincoln Award” for contributions to the study of the presidency, the “Children’s Hero Award” for the many civic programs he offers schools, the League of Women Voters' “Good Government Award” for his efforts to enhance voter education and participation, and others, as well as such campus awards as Lynn University's “Outstanding Professor of the Year,” Lynn University's "Outstanding Teaching" award, Florida Atlantic University's “Distinguished Professor of the Year” and “Faculty Service Award” and awards at other universities prior to joining Lynn’s faculty. He was also named the South Florida Business Journal’s “Heavy Hitter in Education,” and has been inducted into two sports halls of fame.
Watson has been selected as a visiting fellow or scholar-in-residence with universities, historic sites, presidential libraries, and synagogues around the country and several of his books are in international translation and/or have been nominated for awards with such organizations as the American Historical Association, American Political Science Association, and the Social Science History Association. His book America's First Crisis was named as the book of the year in history at the Independent Publisher's Book Awards and the novel Tsunami he co-authored with his son won second place in the International Book Awards juvenile fiction category.