Robert Watson is a professor, author, historian, media commentator and community activist. He joined the faculty of Lynn in 2007 after spending 15 years teaching at universities around the country. He has published over 40 books and approximately 200 scholarly articles, essays and chapters on topics in history and politics. His recent books America’s First Crisis, The Nazi Titanic, The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn, and George Washington’s Final Battle have received critical acclaim. A frequent media commentator, Watson has been interviewed by local, national and international television, radio, print and online outlets including CNN, MSNBC, Time, USA Today, The New York Times, BBC and more. He served for many years as the political analyst for WPTV 5 NBC, a Sunday columnist for the Sun-Sentinel newspaper and a regular guest on television shows “To the Point” (WPTV 5 NBC) and “Issues” (WPBT 2 PBS) and on radio programs on RTE One Ireland, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, WIOD 610 AM and WFTL 850 AM.
Professionally, Watson co-convened a half-dozen national conferences on the American presidency and regularly lectures at universities, museums and historic sites around the country. He served as the editor for numerous projects including SUNY Press’s book series on the American Presidents, the multi-volume, multi-edition encyclopedia sets American Presidents and American First Ladies, the scholarly journals White House Studies and the Social Science Journal, and the quadrennial Report to the First Lady which was presented to the White House every four years after elections. He has also served on the boards of many scholarly journals, academic associations, and community foundations, as well as with the Harry Truman Foundation, Calvin Coolidge Foundation, and George McGovern Library and Center for Public Service.
An active volunteer in the community, Watson has convened many public town hall events on current issues and historical topics, served as the judge for National History Day contests and children’s spelling bees, hosted civic education and history workshops for teachers, moderated political debates, and co-founded three nonprofit think tanks dedicated to civic education, political reform, and fact-checking campaign lies. In his free time, Watson is a popular lecturer aboard luxury cruise lines, for the prestigious One Day University programs around the country, and on history tours both in the U.S. and internationally.
B.S., Virginia Tech
M.P.A., University of West Florida
Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University
Teaching is both an honor and a great responsibility. Watson believes students learn best when the experience is both fun and collaborative. He has never been shy about sharing his passion for politics, history and community service with his students or requiring active participation in the classroom. After all, he believes that if one instills in students the joy of learning and a hunger for discovery, they will teach themselves for a lifetime, and the journey will make them better citizens, neighbors, consumers and family members. There are essentially four facets that define Watson’s approach to teaching: (1) to provide students with a conceptual framework for understanding the topic at hand (2) to ask students to seek out the lessons of history and interrelationships that impact most public issues and problems (3) to stress critical thinking through role-playing, debate and lively class discussions and (4) to complement lectures and readings with experiential and community-based learning activities.
American politics and government
Campaigns and elections
Topics in justice, rights and civics
Areas of scholarship
- American presidency
- American political history
- First ladies
- Military history
- National security
- Public administration
Awards and honors
For his work, Watson has won numerous awards including the “International Abraham Lincoln Award” for his contributions to the study of the presidency, the “Children’s Hero Award” for the many civics programs he offers schools, the League of Women Voters’ “Good Government Award” for his election commentary, several awards from the Democratic Party for his efforts to promote voter registration and education, and many others. He has been named “Professor of the Year” numerous times and won multiple “Faculty Service” awards at various universities, including Lynn University.
Several of Watson’s books have been featured at prominent literary festivals, appeared on C-SPAN’s Book TV program, and won awards such as the John Lyman Book Award, John Barry Book Award, the Independent Publishers’ Gold Medal in History, and so on. Watson has also been selected as a Visiting Fellow or Scholar with dozens of historic sites, museums, and universities including the Pentagon, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Truman Presidential Library, Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, James Madison’s Montpelier, Illinois Holocaust Museum, Museum of the American Revolution, National Museum of the U.S. Navy and South Dakota Humanities Council to name a few.