Photo of Molly Watkins.
Molly Watkins

Molly Watkins named dean of undergraduate advising support, wins President’s Distinguished Service Award

Molly Watkins is known for being thoughtful, compassionate and inclusive—both as a supervisor and in her efforts supporting internationalization at Case Western Reserve University. And now, she’ll bring those qualities to a new role: dean of the Undergraduate Advising Support office, effective July 1.

“Molly was selected from a strong pool of candidates in our national search, and with her higher education experience she is ready to lead this critically important office and its staff,” Peter Whiting, interim vice president for student affairs, said in a joint statement with Travis Apgar, incoming vice president for student affairs. “She brings an incredible depth of institutional knowledge to this role, and Travis and I are thrilled to have a strategic, collaborative leader like Molly working to make sure our students receive the support and guidance they need. We’d also like to thank the search committee for their efforts throughout this process.”

This week, Watkins is being honored with another accolade, too: the President’s Award for Distinguished Service. She is one of three winners who will be recognized during a luncheon today (June 20).

Watkins joined the Center for International Affairs staff in 2011, most recently serving as assistant provost for international affairs. She played a pivotal role in developing the university’s global strategy, implementing plans for internationalization at CWRU, boosting the university’s international rankings and increasing the number of students studying abroad by 150%. 

Her work has helped connect CWRU students with top institutions worldwide through the university’s involvement in the Global Engineering Education Exchange and strategic partnerships in China, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Uganda, Germany and many other locations around the world.

In addition to being a welcoming and accessible supervisor, Watkins also encourages her team to participate in conferences, take on leadership roles, and advance their professional growth and involvement in the broader international education community. She leads by example through her own involvement in high-level initiatives such as the North Star Initiative Thinkers and the Global E3 organization.

Watkins is committed to advancing inclusivity as well, working with staff to update policies and procedures. Examples include supporting education abroad staff in a new initiative to provide remote office hours in the LGBT Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and committing to continuous learning through programs like Train the Champion.

Prior to joining CWRU, Molly was the manager of international education at Mississippi State University and a Peace Corps teacher trainer in Sichuan, China. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and theater and a master’s degree in English from Mississippi State University, along with a PhD in higher education from the University of Toledo.

“It is easy to say diversity or inclusion are important, but putting those words into action takes planning, time and sometimes sacrifices or reprioritization. Molly does the difficult things. She practices what she preaches, and that is commendable,” wrote Watkins’s nominator for the President’s Award.