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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Faculty and Staff

Michael Watson, Ed.D.

Title: Undergraduate Director and Instructor
Senior Faculty Fellows, Center of Integrative and Experiential Learning / Store Director and Faculty Liaison, Gamecock iHub Apple Authorized Campus Store
Department: Department of Retailing
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
Phone: 803-576-7609
Office: Close-Hipp 710
LinkedIn: My LinkedIn profile
Resources: Instagram - @mikewatsontoday
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


Michael Watson has more than 20 years of experience in higher education. At the University of South Carolina, he holds various positions including undergraduate director for the Department of Retailing, instructor, Senior Faculty Fellows for the Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning, and store director for the Gamecock iHUB, the authorized on-campus Apple retailer.

Michael Watson believes deeply in connecting elements of academic learning with beyond the classroom opportunities. In the past, he has integrated his own expertise and activity with coursework and industry events, such as leading experiential learning around an exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art featuring the work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, facilitating and leading a group of students to New York City for the annual National Retail Federation conference, coordinating fashion show production for Toronto Fashion Week, co-designing annual fundraising events for the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, N.C., designing immersive experiences with the McColl Center for the Arts in Charlotte, and spearheading the creation, curation and installation of the faculty collaboration project for the grand opening of the Gambrell Center for Arts and Civic Engagement at Queens University in Charlotte.

Watson has led study abroad programs to Milan, Italy, for fashion week. In addition to facilitating the program, he also taught a retail and fashion forecasting course in collaboration with a sister institution.

In the past, he has been a leadership and subject-matter expert on HuffPost Live, and an emcee and speaker coach for eight years for 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, retail, and leadership expertise.

Upon graduating from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, 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.

A big advocate of saying yes to large things, in 2018, Watson climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

In the Media

Honors / Awards

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

Courses Taught

  • RETL 116  Fashion Through the Ages: 1800 A.D. to Present
  • RETL 216  History of Designers
  • RETL 242 – Professional Communication
  • RETL 330 – Asset Protection for Retailers
  • 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
  • Samaritans Feet International

Research Interests

  • Spiritual Intelligence in Leadership
  • Experiential Marketing
  • Leadership Development

Research Publication

Watson, M., Kuofie, M., & Dool, R. (2018). Relationship between spiritually intelligent leadership and employee engagement. Journal of Marketing and Management, 9(2), 1-24.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.