Aramis Watson named SMU Dean of Residence Life and Student Housing

Aramis L. Watson, a student affairs professional specializing in residence life and student learning, has been named dean of Residence Life and Student Housing at SMU. She will begin her duties on June 30, 2022.

“Dr. Watson is a thoughtful leader with a demonstrated track record of creating vibrant residential communities that promote academic engagement and student development,”said K.C. Mmeje, SMU vice president for student affairs. “Her innovative vision for SMU’s Residential Commons, her student-centered approach and her commitment to fostering inclusive communities made her the clear choice for this leadership position.”

Watson was selected after a competitive national search, which was coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Mindy Sutton, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

Watson brings extensive higher education experience and a deep commitment to student learning and success. She has served since 2016 as the associate director of residence life at the University of Kansas, providing strategic vision and oversight for a residential program serving approximately 4,500 students. She previously served as assistant director of residence life at The Ohio State University and as the assistant director for housing and residential education at the University of Utah.

“I am honored to continue my professional journey at SMU. The strong sense of community and fellowship among students, faculty and staff drew me to the Hilltop,” Watson said. “I am excited to join a residence life and student housing program that has already established itself as a leader and standout among housing programs across the county.”

A Kansas native from Wichita, Watson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kansas and holds a Master’s degree in higher education from Arizona State University and a Ph.D in higher education administration from the University of Kansas. She is an active member of the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I). She also enjoys teaching on the topic of social justice.