WASHINGTON (February 10, 2009)–President Barack Obama has appointed Carole M. Watson, Assistant Chairman for Partnership and National Affairs, as the Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Watson will serve as acting chairman until the presidential nomination and Senate confirmation of the agency’s next chairman.
Watson has served the Endowment in a number of leadership roles. As Assistant Chairman for Partnership and National Affairs at NEH, Watson oversaw the Endowment’s liaison with the National Council on the Humanities, the Federal/State Partnership, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), the National Trust for the Humanities, and other institutions and organizations important to NEH.
She served as NEH Deputy Chairman and as Interim Executive Director of the PCAH from February to December 2001. Before joining the NEH Chairman’s staff in 1995, she directed the Endowment’s Division of State Programs (now the Office of Federal/State Partnership) and the Office of Outreach.
Prior to her tenure at NEH, Watson directed Inter-cultural programs at the Lindenwood Colleges in Saint Charles, Mo., and was founding English department chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity School in St. Louis, Mo.
Watson is a recipient of Blewett and Ford Foundation fellowships and in 1991 became a fellow of the Council for Excellence in Government. She received her M.A. degree in English and American literature from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo., and her doctoral degree in American cultural history from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Watson is the author of Prologue (Greenwood Press, 1985), a study of the novels written by African American women between 1859 and 1965.