SALT LAKE CITY —Western Governors University (WGU) announced today that it has established an office in the greater New York City area to increase support for students, alumni, and external partners in 12 states in the Northeast. The university has appointed Rebecca Watts, Ph.D., as Regional Vice President.
Watts will lead university operations across the 12-state area—spanning the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia to Maine. In her role with the online, nonprofit university, she will help guide the strategic direction of WGU and further raise its profile among prospective students and university partners. She will play an instrumental role in developing and strengthening relationships with partner organizations that expand student access—especially among historically underserved student populations—to WGU’s nationally recognized postsecondary programs. Her leadership will also provide effective communications to external and internal audiences and strengthen WGU’s position as a leading organization in higher education.
Watts brings 17 years of experience as a leader in higher education. Previously, she was chancellor of WGU Ohio, a partnership between the state of Ohio and WGU to expand access to affordable higher education for Ohio residents through online, competency-based programs that address key workforce needs.
Prior to WGU, Watts served as executive director for the University of Wyoming Trustees Education Initiative, a statewide effort to support Wyoming’s K–12 schools with innovative educator preparation. As associate vice chancellor for P–16 Initiatives at the Ohio Department of Higher Education, she led educator preparation program review and approval, college readiness efforts, and STEM scholarship and college-access programs.
Watts holds a doctorate in higher education leadership from Ohio University and degrees in communication, including a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield, a bachelor's degree from Sangamon State University, Ill., and an associate degree from Lincoln Land Community College, Ill. She lives in Jersey City, N.J.