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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Faculty and Staff

Michael Watson, Ed.D.

Title: Instructor
Department: Retailing
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
Phone: 803-576-7609
Office: Close-Hipp 710
Resources: Website:
Mike Watson, Instructor, Department of Retailing, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


Ed.D., Organizational Leadership, Argosy University
MALS, Consumer Apparel Retail Studies, University of North Carolina Greensboro
B.S., Fashion and Textile Design, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Upon graduating from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, Mike Watson worked for a national retail department store chain, eventually becoming their youngest regional visual merchandising manager, whereupon he won national design awards for his visual displays and managed design teams during merger acquisitions. Watson also ran East Coast operations for the national teen retailer Hot Topic, leading more than 60 stores and 500 employees through rapid growth transitions and new store expansions.

Additionally, Watson has been a leadership and subject-matter expert on HuffPost Live, and an emcee and speaker coach for eight years of TEDx Charlotte events. He has educated and coached emerging leaders, shaped a national retail company's visual footprint and brand image, designed retail stores, expanded business models and reshaped communities utilizing his arts and leadership expertise.

Watson has more than 20 years of experience in higher education as an instructional designer for graduate-level online leadership courses, as a departmental lead for fashion marketing and management courses and as a community outreach speaker. In addition, he has led and taught retail and fashion forecasting courses in Milan, Italy, in conjunction with study abroad programs.

In 2018, Watson climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Honors and awards

  • Charlotte’s 25 Most Stylish — 2010, 2011
  • Teacher of the Year, Art Institute of Charlotte — 2015, 2017
  • Night of Gratitude Honoree — 2016: Honoring 10 Charlotte Individuals Making an Impact in the Local Community

Courses taught

  • RETL 116  Fashion Through the Ages: 1800 A.D. to Present
  • RETL 216  History of Designers
  • RETL 242 – Professional Communication
  • RETL 362  Principals of Customer Service
  • RETL 366  Retail Buying
  • RETL 385  Global Sourcing in Retail and Fashion

Consulting experiences

Leadership and Organizational Development Clients:
  • Wake Forest University (summer immersion)
  • Davidson College (Chidsey Center for Leadership Development)
  • University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • Eastman Chemical
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Diversity Council of the Carolinas
  • Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
  • Mint Museum of Art and Design
  • Playing for Others
  • Code for America

Research interests

Spiritual Intelligence in Leadership

Research publication

Journal of Marketing and Management, 9 (2), 1-24, November 2018 1.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.