Dr. Watts Bids Farewell to JSU
Jamie M. Eubanks
JSU News Bureau
JACKSONVILLE -- May 22, 2001 -- Eight years ago, Dr. David Watts came to Jacksonville State University, where he left his mark as vice president for academic and student affairs. In early June he will be moving closer to home to serve as president of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
“I joined JSU when enrollment fell to 7300,” says Watts.
Enrollment soon became one his biggest challenges. It is now one of his proudest accomplishments.
“Teamwork through the enrollment management process,” comments Watts, “and an advertising campaign that enhanced the public’s awareness of JSU helped us overcome low enrollment.”
Another of Watts’ accomplishments includes program accreditation. “To be a part of this process has been a wonderful achievement.”
At JSU, he learned important lessons that he will take with him to Permian Basin, namely: “smile, smile, smile.”
"Good times and good feelings are vital to the university’s success. And teamwork makes everyone a part of the process.”
Watts must leave behind some things he has come to love. “This is the hardest move of the many that I have made in my career,” Watts said. “We will miss the mountains, Little River Canyon, the trees—and yes—the rain.”
Watts will also miss the completion of the SACS self-study and review process at JSU, the addition of a BS degree in emergency management and the addition of a doctoral degree to JSU’s inventory.
Drought is not the only challenge that Watts could possibly face in Texas. “[Permian Basin’s] students, programs and student activities all need to grow,” says Watts. “Working closely with Midland and Odessa, the university will continue to be an active partner in economic development.”
Dr. Watts has been actively involved in JSU’s international programs. He feels this is an area that Permian Basin must address to succeed.
“Attracting non-traditional groups to the university,” says Watts, “is vital for the success of the university and the region it serves.”
JSU and the surrounding communities have played a tremendous role in Dr. Watts' and his family’s lives.
Before leaving he wanted to say, “My family and I love you all. We wish Jacksonville State University, northeast Alabama and the people of the area a strong and prosperous future.”
“Higher education is the key to Alabama’s future. Build it, and the state will grow and prosper.”
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