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Wendy L. Watson, Awarded the UNT Foundation Outstanding Lecturer Award

Wendy Watson, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, holds a JD and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary as well as a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Dr. Watson teaches courses on American politics, constitutional law, public policy, and quantitative research methods. In addition, she serves as the university’s pre-law advisor, assisting undergraduates with the decision to go to law school and the application process. Dr. Watson is an innovator when it comes to pedagogy, especially in the case of large sections. One example of this is a classroom simulation she designed to mimic a constitutional convention in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Another example is a simulation of the Electoral College. According to her department chair this simulation “takes what is often seen to be a boring and archaic rule of the U.S. Constitution and transforms it into a clear description of why rules matter and how they affect election outcomes.” Her colleagues also cite her work in establishing an Innocence Project clinic at UNT, through which law students and undergraduate interns work together to investigate innocence claims of those convicted of crimes. One colleague states that in the eyes of her students she is a “superb, dedicated, and passionate teacher” who “constantly looks for ways to meet students where they are.” Dr. Watson has been recognized for these innovations and for her passionate and effective teaching, winning the University Core Curriculum Innovation Award and with the J.H. Shelton Award for Teaching Excellence. Her publications include a documentary history of federal abortion politics, work on the privacy implications of forensic DNA databases, explorations of the Supreme Court’s unpaid docket, and research on creating a more engaging teaching environment for large political science courses. In her spare time, she writes mysteries.