This story was updated at 10 a.m. Sept. 23 to include information about AddRan College’s enrollment and degree offerings.
The newest dean at TCU is focused on providing a quality education for students and increasing the number of faculty of color.
Dr. Sonja S. Watson was hired as the new dean of the AddRan College of Liberal Arts shortly before COVID-19 shut down TCU’s campus last spring.
Read Here: AddRan announces new dean
AddRan College is one of the largest on campus, with more than 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students as of fall 2019, according to the 2019 Fact Book. The college offers 117 undergraduate, 65 master’s level and 38 doctoral programs.
Before the pandemic hit, Watson said she looked to focus on conveying the value of a liberal arts education and enhancing AddRan College’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in her role as dean.
Watson plans on building on AddRan College’s “Make Your Major Work” program, which prepares students to enter the job market and show their marketable skills.
In addition, she said she plans to start a leadership program for a cohort of students called AddRan Ambassadors. This program would allow students to serve as ambassadors of the liberal arts at TCU while developing their own leadership skills.
Watson is also planning an initiative to hire more faculty of color as she works on enhancing AddRan College’s DEI.
“Further, I will launch two college-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion committees, one for faculty/staff and the other for students, to further incorporate DEI in to AddRan to recruit and retain students and enhance the student perspective,” Watson said.
The pandemic and its effect on TCU made Watson add on to her initial goals.
“Due to the pandemic, my main priority has been to ensure that students are provided with a top-notch education whether they are taught face-to-face or online,” Watson said.
Watson’s official start date was May 29, but she was able to attend the TCU Connected Campus meetings beforehand, helping prepare her for the challenges ahead.
Even in the midst of a pandemic, Watson has still had a welcoming start to her new role.
“As someone new to TCU, that says a lot about the culture at TCU and the warm environment,” Dr. Waston said. “As a result, I already feel a part of the Horned Frog family.”