William “Bill” Watts has been named interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The appointment, announced June 12 by Katherine Ankerson, executive vice chancellor, is effective Aug. 7 pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. The appointment follows an unsuccessful outcome from the most recent search to fill the role after Laurie Bellows shared her plans for retirement earlier this year.
“During Bill’s 16 years at the university, he has touched many facets of student life — recruiting students, advising them on their academic path, championing university initiatives that help them persist to their degree, and setting them up for career success after graduation,” Ankerson said. “His depth of experience and knowledge, combined with his collaborative leadership style, will be an asset to Student Affairs during this time of transition.”
Watts joined the university in 2007 as assistant dean for student success in the College of Arts and Sciences where he oversaw recruitment and academic advising efforts for the college. In 2012, he became director of Campus Advising Services, and the following year, director of University Advising and Career Services. Since 2019, he has been associate dean of university advising and career development, and he currently oversees the Academic Navigators, Career Services, Explore Center, National and International Fellowships, and Undergraduate Research.
A highly collaborative partner on campus student success initiatives, Watts most recently served as the functional lead on the team that guided the successful transition from MyPlan to Student Success Hub, the retention system within the university’s new Salesforce CRM that replaced legacy solution Starfish, which he also led efforts to select and co-led implementation. He also worked closely with the Office of the Registrar to design, build, and implement a personalized four-year planning tool that helps students stay on track with their courses for graduation.
“I am honored, humbled, and excited by this opportunity to serve with the amazing team in Student Affairs,” Watts said. “This group of leaders and team members prove every day their dedication to student success. I look forward to helping guide their efforts as we search for a permanent leader for this vital work.”
Prior to joining the university, Watts spent eight years in advising roles at Minnesota State University and the University of Missouri. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in social science from Buena Vista University and a Master of Arts in political science from the University of Missouri.