Lemuel Watson is a man of many talents and specialities, with a variety of degrees and certificates that have allowed him to explore the world with a unique perspective. He is a Professor at the Antioch Graduate School of Leadership and Change; Provost Professor of the School of Education and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University; Co-Director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention; and Senior Scientist at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.
Time as a Student
Lemuel came to Ball State University to get his master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education. Inside the walls of the Teacher’s College, Lemuel was introduced to the amazing faculty and staff of the department as well as his cohort, whom he thought were great. Most of his teachers were also administrators inside Ball State. “They just were great examples of how to be present for individuals, specifically students.” During his time as a student, Lemuel was able to build his confidence in his academic ability and experience what it was like to work with students and facilitate learning.
Lemuel’s favorite memory of being a student at Ball State comes down to sitting in a circle during a discussion class, surrounded by his cohort, discussing who they were as individuals and how they wanted to change themselves and the world around them. His teachers made sure to facilitate conversations with their students about how to live their best lives so they have the mental capacity to bring forth the purpose in which they were called to. These conversations shaped Lemuel’s understanding of the world and allowed him to explore topics like leadership, change, personhood, and diversity in a unique way. His professors were role models for what they were teaching and their biggest lesson was to help students understand how to create meaningful lives for themselves and those they were interacting with.
“There was not a single class or teacher I didn’t like. I am always incredibly excited to go to class.” – Lemuel Watson
During his time here, he was a graduate assistant under the Dean of Students and worked in minority affairs in the administration office. There, he got to experience a real world version of the dream he was pursing. “Watching the way that they created an environment so students could have cross sectional experience with other people, both like and unlike them, helped me to remember that it is always important to have a system that allows people to talk to each other. Isolation, especially when it comes to diversity, is just not an option.”
In addition to his coursework, Lemuel also achieved a certificate in entrepreneurship. This certificate was a very meaningful experience for him and allowed him to further explore his personal interest.
Graduation and Beyond
While still on campus, many individuals saw Lemuel’s potential and encouraged him to continue to academia. He moved down to Bloomington, IN where he received his doctorate in Higher Administration. From there, he moved onto a faculty position and quickly climbed the ladder from Department Chair to Dean to Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs.
When asked about what he does, Lemuel explained that he has tried to curate his life in a very interesting way. As a professor, he teaches courses on leadership, change, and diversity awareness. Additionally, he facilitates campus wide diversity initiatives. He is a scientist with the Kinsey Institute and on the side is a coach for individuals all over the country to help them work through a variety of challenges they may be experiencing. “I help people with asking the right questions in order to be successful.” Lemuel’s goal is to help people increase in their emotional and social intelligence and understand the core concepts of mindfulness and positive psychology.
Lemuel has also explored writing in addition to his other roles, both creative poetry and nonfiction books and articles. Presently, he is working on a book that explores personhood, leadership, and philosophy. Overall, his career has been a creative expression of his major interests and a search to answer questions surrounding the purposes and meaning of life.
Words of Encouragement
“Always be curious. Always say yes. Never stop learning. Always stay true to yourself. Lean into challenges and difficult times. They will help you understand life in tremendous ways.” – Lemuel Watson
These powerful words are mantras that Lemuel has utilized in his own life and journey from Ball State and beyond. He believes that all students have the capacity to be successful if they seek to understand themselves and their purpose. He hopes that these words will help students as they explore the world in their own distinctive way. He also hopes that current students will learn these lessons for themselves as they engage with Ball State University just as he did.
“Ball State continues to be one of those institutions that is committed to the values that it has set forth and is a beacon of light in this world. It is one of those institutions that is intentional with wanting to support students and succeeds in its efforts.” – Lemuel Watson