Aerial view of TAMU

Thank You to Provost Watson


August 31, 2016


TO: Students, Faculty and Staff

It is with extraordinary gratitude that I thank Dr. Karan Watson for her many years of remarkable service to Texas A&M University. I know Karan has not made her decision to step down from her role as Provost at the end of this academic year lightly, and we will have big shoes to fill, a task we will immediately undertake with appropriate dispatch and care. But in the meantime, please join me in thanking her for her service. This is a time of unprecedented excellence and opportunity for Texas A&M and Karan has been critical in making it so.

Karan has served in numerous roles and initiated countless transformative programs during her tenure at our university. Her ability to tackle problems head- on in the midst of leadership transition has ensured that this institution will continue to have a profound and positive impact on the state, nation and world for generations to come. She has enriched the lives of others immeasurably, and I am personally grateful for all she has done in my first year at Texas A&M to make my transition smooth and productive.

Karan has a number of "firsts" to her name, including first female to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at Texas Tech University and the first tenure-track woman in Electrical Engineering, when she joined us in 1983, first woman to hold an Associate Dean position in Engineering, and our first female Provost. But it is her remarkable career of service to A&M that we remember and celebrate today. Karan began her service as an Assistant Dean for Graduate and Special Programs in the College of Engineering, where she also later served as Associate Dean, adding Undergraduate Programs to her portfolio. While Associate Dean she built national award-winning programs for underrepresented minorities and women in engineering, while simultaneously maintaining high-level and nationally recognized research and teaching programs, earning numerous awards, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Harriett Rigas Outstanding Faculty Award, as well as being named a fellow. She also received the AAAS Mentor Award and the U.S. Presidential Award in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. Karan is also a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and ABET (the accreditation organization for engineering, engineering technology, computing and applied science).

Karan's service to the entire University is also broad and extensive. She has served as Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost, during which time her office played a key role in the faculty reinvestment initiative. She also served simultaneously as the Interim Vice President for Diversity while Dean of Faculties. During her tenure, diversity efforts were significantly enhanced.

Karan has served as Interim Provost and then Provost and Executive Vice President since 2009. She was instrumental in helping the university enhance its focus on excellence during a period of particularly constrained resources, making difficult decisions all designed to keep the university on its upward trajectory in every area of its core missions.

Karan's service to higher education has also been national. She has served as the President of the Education Society of IEEE and of ABET.

Happily, Karan has no plans to leave the university and we will have the great benefit of her continued commitment to excellence at Texas A&M for years to come.

Karan will continue to serve throughout this academic year, and I am sure she will do so with her hallmark passion, commitment and drive. We will immediately commence a search process to fill this critical position and work to ensure a smooth transition. Your participation and contributions to this process will be warmly welcomed during the coming months.

There will be opportunities later in the year to thank Karan more formally for her great service to the university and to all of us, but, in the meantime, please join me in wishing her the best of luck, with much happiness and prosperity, in her new adventure.

With best regards,
Michael K. Young