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Friday, June 30, 2006

UNCP adds Christa Watts to Office of Academic Success

With a new name in place this summer, the Center for Academic Excellence at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke added a key administrator in June.

Christa WattsChrista Watts, coordinator for First Year Programs, is a West Columbia, S.C., native and graduate of the University of South Carolina (USC). UNC Pembroke looks like a good fit, Watts said.

“I want to work at a small university with a high level of one-to-one interaction with students,” she said. “This is a place where one person can make a tremendous impact on students lives.”

Watts spoke to another proud UNCP tradition – serving first generation college students.

“I was a first generation college student and worked throughout my college experience,” she said. “I understand the challenges that many students face.”

Her job duties include coordination of:

  • the Freshman Seminar program, a 12-week introductory course for all first-year students
  • academic advisement for first-year and undeclared students
  • pre-registration orientation
  • Early Alert for students who need academic assistance
  • academic probation program

Watts reports to Saundra Richardson, director of the Center for Academic Excellence. 

“We are excited to welcome Christa Watts as Coordinator for First Year Programs,” Richardson said. “Going to college marks the beginning of a significant and exciting change in life – whether you’re just out of high school or an adult returning to school. With new doors opening, students require a special connection to make it all happen. Christa Watts will be that connection for our new incoming freshmen.”

Teaching and coordinating Freshman Seminar classes this fall represents familiar territory for Watts. She worked three years in the University of South Carolina’s University 101 program and two years in USC’s TRiO programs as a co-instructor, mentor, advisor and administrator.

“I plan to modify and reinstate the Peer Advising Program for the Freshman Seminar to help bridge the gap between instructors and students,” Watts said. “I am also planning to create and implement a Peer Mentoring Program to increase the retention rates of at-risk first-year students.”

Watts received a Bachelor of Science in criminology and criminal justice and a Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs, all from USC.

For more information about the Center for Academic Excellence, please contact them at 910.521.6625 or email

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