Charles “Chuck” Watson

  • Assistant Dean, Diversity Equity & Inclusion
  • Phone: 401.874.4976
  • Fax: 401.782.1066
  • Email:
  • Office Location: 420A Bliss Hall
    1 Lippitt Road
    Kingston, RI 02881 USA


Charles A. Watson is from Hammond, Louisiana. He moved to Cranston, Rhode Island in his early teens, where he attended and graduated from Cranston High School East in 1983. After high school in 1983, he was recruited to the University of Rhode Island by the Reverend Arthur L. Hardge and Mr. Leo F. DiMaio, founders and former Directors of the Talent Development Program, where he was offered a scholarship to play football at the University, playing on the 1984 and 1985 back-to-back Yankee Conference Championship teams and inducted into the URI Football Hall of Fame. He was voted to the “Team of the Decade” from 1980-1990 as one of the top 50 players of the era. In 2006 to 2009 he was the Wide Reciever coach for the URI Rams Football Team.

Charles graduated in 1993 with a B.S. Degree in Family Studies and a M.A. Degree in Adult Education with an Education Specialization in 2021. While at URI, Charles was heavily involved in student organizations, and elected to the executive board of Uhuru Sasa, and was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, the Cape Verdean Student Association (CVSA), the Latin American Student Association (LASA) and the Black Student Leadership Group (BSLG).

As a student, Charles worked as a Resident Assistant in Heathman Hall, and in the URI Bookstore, the RAM’S DEN and in the Intermural Athletics department. He also served as a counselor and coordinator for the Talent Development summer program where he assisted in developing many of the activities that are still vital elements. It is there where he found a love for helping students succeed.
In 1999, he joined the URI College of Engineering as coordinator of the NSF Northeast Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation developing its Saturday Academy and Summer STEM initiatives.

In 2008 he was promoted to the position of Coordinator of Minority Student Recruitment and Retention. In 2011 he was promoted to Assistant Director and in 2021 Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Minority Student Recruitment. He also serves as the Dean’s advisor to the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Black and Brown Women in Engineering Science Technology Sisterhood (BBWESTS), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) and Theta Tau.

Charles has been recognized nationally for his work as the 2016 National Society of Black Engineers Golden Torch Award recipient, and as the Program Director of the Year. He also received the Rhode Island IntraCity Geeks Innovation Award. Charles received the Oasis International Community Service Award and Citations of Recognition from the Office of the Governor, Citizen Citation from the Mayor of Providence and the Providence City Council. In December 2019 Charles was named as one of the People on the Move by the Providence Journal. Gina M. Raimondo former RI Governor, now United States Secretary of Commerce said of his diversity efforts.

“Congratulations on all of the amazing work you’re doing for students in S.T.E.A.M fields. It’s important that all Rhode Islanders regardless of race or income have access to these skills. Thank you for all that you do.” – Governor Gina M. Raimondo

Charles is an active member of the College of Engineering DE&I Advaisory Board, The Partnership, INC., Community, Equity and Diversity (CED) College Diversity Professionals and Partners, National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) and serves as Region A Chair, National Advisory Council for the Minorities in Engineering (NACME). He is the University representative member of the National GEM Consortium (GEM gradlab), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Society of Advancing Chicano/Hispanic & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), 50K Coalition, Cox Communications Charities Executive Board, the Northeast Louis Stoke Alliance for Minority Participation Executive Board (NELSAMP), Lights & Sirens International Board of Directors and has served on the URI Alumni Executive Board and Institutional Review Board (IRB), Rhode Island Community Food Bank Executive Board and the YMCA Executive Board Cranston, RI.

For 20 years plus Charles has been the senior coordinator for the URI’s NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation initiative so that thousands of additional underrepresented minority students in STEM can receive significant financial and academic support. He is and has been diversity lead on more than $48 million in National Science Foundation (NSF) awards that supports the broader impact for underrepresented minority research efforts, including a $19 million NSF grant funded Rhode Island Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment, Innovation, and Modeling (RI C-AIM) and serves as lead for the grants Diversity Action Committee (DAC). His open, candid, and personal discussion of the needs of underrepresented minority students pursuing engineering and science and the personal responsibility that goes with it has been embraced by University of Rhodes Island leadership.