Dr. Renva Harmon Watterson, Interim President of Georgia Highlands College
Renva Watterson assumed the position of interim president on May 14, 2012, having served in the roles of Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Division Chairperson for Humanities at GHC since 2006. She earned tenure as professor of communication in 2008. Highlighted accomplishments are: championing public-private partnership planning, resulting in the new Student Center at GHC-Cartersville; building academic and facilities plans for two new campuses in Dallas-Paulding County and Douglasville-Douglas County; creating objectives and selecting directors for five major initiatives: Diversity; e-Learning; First Year Experience; Global Awareness/Study Abroad; Honors Program; shepherding the RN-BSN program into place for August 2013 opening, along with multiple major gifts toward the effort, among them $984,000 from WellStar Hospital; contributing to both Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Level II approval for granting baccalaureate degrees and to Complete College Georgia, following Chancellor Hank Huckaby’s and Governor Nathan Deal’s requests for participation.
Before coming to Georgia Highlands, Watterson served as Dean of Liberal Arts, Chairperson of the Division of Communication and Professor of Communication at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, and as Director of the Master of Liberal Arts Program and Associate Professor of Communication at Henderson State University, Arkansas’s Public Liberal Arts University in Arkadelphia, AR.
Watterson is a graduate of Shorter College with a B.A. in Speech Education and Theatre, M.A. in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and Ed. D. in Higher Education/Communication Studies from University of Arkansas. In addition, she has to her credit numerous study grants, including a Dow Jones/Newspaper Fund fellowship at the University of Missouri, Columbia; a Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, FL grant; a C-SPAN, Washington, D.C., fellowship; a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship in the U.S., Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and a just-completed study for women in higher education leadership at Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, PA. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Professor of the Year from the Arkansas Communication Association, the Meritorious Service Award from the Arkansas School Board and the Dedicated Service Award as president of the Georgia Communication Association. Boards to which Watterson belongs include: Network Day Services, Inc., for adults with developmental delays; Harbin Clinic Advisory; Georgia Health Sciences University, Rome Clinical Campus, Advisory; Regional Educational Services Agency (RESA); Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center (AHEC).
Watterson’s husband, Bruce, a semi-retired public relations specialist and a Rotary Club Assistant Governor, travels actively in his work with scholastic and collegiate publications and as Director of Judging for Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Columbia University, NYC, NY. The Watterson’s daughter, Wendy Buntin, is a regional chief development officer for the American Red Cross; her husband, Wilson, is an assistant attorney general. The Watterson’s son, Charles Bruce, Jr., is a coordinator with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); his wife, Carrie, is a kindergarten teacher. They have three grandchildren: Jack Buntin, Charles Bruce III (Tripp) and Annie Watterson.