Watts appointed director of graduate business student services

Nashville business leader Deborah L. Watts has been appointed director of graduate student services in Lipscomb University’s College of Business.

Deborah Watts_2The director of graduate student services is a new position in the College of Business to provide leadership in the creation, implementation and coordination of programs designed to retain graduate students and to engage them in the college’s mission, said Turney Stevens, dean of the College of Business.

“Dr. Watts' corporate human resources, academic experience and commitment to Lipscomb are the elements that will make this new initiative a success,” said Stevens. “During her time at Lipscomb, Dr. Watts developed lifelong relationships and ties with the university with which we want all graduate students to leave. She will function as the liaison between the College of Business and the students to facilitate and strengthen long term collaborative relationships.”

Watts has a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational communications and an MBA degree from Lipscomb University.

“I enrolled at Lipscomb in 1995 and was forever changed by the academic environment and strong relationships built with faculty and staff,” said Watts. “The university and its teachings changed my life. I want to help others develop and maintain that connection with the university.”

For more than 15 years, Watts has served as a consultant in leadership development, human resources, employee training and organizational development for a number of organizations in Nashville including Banker’s Trust, Outboard Marine Corporation and America’s PowerSports.

In addition to academic advising, Watts will also work with graduate students in the areas of professional development and spiritual formation.

“I not only want to advise graduate students on a professional plan of action during and after graduate school,” Watts said, “but I also want businesses to see that when you hire a Lipscomb graduate, you are not only getting top academic skills, but also a strong spiritual and ethical foundation in that graduate student that is unique to the Lipscomb University College of Business.”

Joe Ivey, clinical professor of management and associate dean for graduate studies, said he believes the “development” piece is what many graduate programs are missing. 

“It’s not enough to simply educate students and then send them out to the business world,” said Ivey.  “We need to develop them also. We need to make a difference in their lives so that they can make a difference in the world. Dr. Watts will be able to help us assess where we are in that role and how it can further be developed over time.” 

The addition of the graduate student services position is the latest indicator of growth in the College of Business at Lipscomb University. Since last fall, the College of Business has experienced a nearly 23 percent increase in graduate student enrollment. This spring, the College of Business was ranked in the Top 25 in the nation in the Military Times’ 2013 Best for Vets: Business Schools Guide for Veterans based on financial aid, academic policies and participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program. 

Watts resides in Brentwood, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and her son, Hayden.

For more information on the College of Business, visit business.lipscomb.edu.