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March 20, 2017   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | Public affairs communicator appointed first Tieger…
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Joseph Watson, Jr.

Public affairs communicator appointed first Tieger Professor

March 20, 2017
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UGA's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has appointed Joseph Watson, Jr. as the first Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications.

In this role, Watson will oversee the first program in the nation to provide students with practical training in the strategy and practice of public affairs communications focused on public policy and politics.

"The Tieger Professorship is the direct result of the vision and the generosity of Carolyn Caudell Tieger who wanted to give Grady students a leg up in public affairs communications careers," said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. "We are beyond thrilled to have someone of Joe's experience join us to help bring this vision to fruition. Grady students for generations to come will benefit from this unique and timely program."

Watson brings 20 years of experience in public affairs, campaigns and communications to Grady College. He served as an appointee in President George W. Bush's administration as a senior adviser to former U.S. Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald from Illinois, and also managed federal government affairs for Exelon Corp., a Fortune 100 energy company in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Watson, a graduate of Harvard Law School, led Exelon's public advocacy group, where he managed issue advocacy campaigns.

"I am both humbled and honored to serve as the first Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor," said Watson. "This endowed professorship offers me the opportunity to teach and mentor the next generation of public affairs communicators at one of the nation's leading journalism and communications schools.

"As someone who cares deeply about the future of our nation, I believe we need to do everything we can to encourage the best and the brightest to pursue careers in public affairs and to equip them with the skills they need to be successful," he also said.

"I am delighted that Joe has been appointed to the professorship that bears my name," said Tieger. "While students are more interested than ever in politics and public policy, there is no established curriculum, outside of Grady, that equips students with the ability to hit the ground running when entering jobs in these career fields.

"Given Joe's background and credentials, Grady has chosen the perfect person to lead this effort," she also said. "There is no substitute for real-world experience when it comes to preparing our students for jobs, and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to help Grady launch this program and even more thrilled to now have Joe there to shepherd it."

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