Robert Watson

Distinguished Professor of American History

Office location:

Freiburger Residence Hall


Phone: +1 561-237-7432

Fax: +1 561-237-7216

Why Lynn?

Having taught at several universities prior to coming to Lynn and having served as a visiting fellow or scholar at several more universities, I am in a unique position to comment on this incredible campus. I can say, without hesitation, that the faculty and staff at Lynn are the hardest working, most dedicated, and caring colleagues I have ever encountered. There are many things that make Lynn a special place, but the defining characteristic of the campus is the people. At Lynn, you are not just a number; you are part of the Lynn family.

I would define the culture on campus as being friendly and accepting. Spend just 10 minutes on campus and you will encounter open doors and individuals willing to help. It is impossible to not make friends at Lynn!

After the bitter 2016 campaign season, I established Project Civitas on campus, an initiative to promote civility both on campus and in the community, and both in politics and in all we do. The idea was in response to the deep political and social rifts in the country, but it was inspired by the civility at Lynn. I wanted to model this behavior in hopes that others might learn from Lynn!

Professional profile

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-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), wrote a Sunday column for the Sun-Sentinel newspaper and is a 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 philosophy

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.

Teaching specialties

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

  • 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
  • Civic education and involvement
  • Dialogues of Justice and Civic Life

Awards and honors

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, Lynn University's "Shield Award" for service to the university and student body. 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.

Dr. Watson has lectured on many cruise ships and as a featured speaker on many study-tours around the country and throughout the world.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. His book The Nazi Titanic was met with critical acclaim, was selected for a dozen book festivals, and was featured on a national book tour.

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ASSAF Courtyard
ASSAF courtyard during Spring Break 2019.
Charlotte Jerdak, student
Ross College of Education students
Ross College of Education students enjoy having class in the amphitheater outside the new Christine E. Lynn Center.
Jennifer Lesh, faculty member
Lynn Hockey team
Lynn's ice hockey team captured the East Florida Collegiate Hockey Conference title, beating Flagler in the finals 5-0.
Theodore Curtis, faculty member
Watson Institute master course with guest facilitator, Ronald Porter.
Weekly Watson Institute master course with guest facilitator, Ronald Porter.
Ja'dan Johnson, student
Prospective student with family posing in front of Fighting Knights cutouts.
Prospective student and family enjoying their tour of Lynn University.
Saylor Rogers, student
Christine E. Lynn University Center
Welcome to the Christine E. Lynn University Center.
Charlotte Jerdak, staff member

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