Douglas  Watson
Professor Emeritus
University of Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas

Dr. Watson was designated Professor Emeritus status upon his 2012 retirement by the University of Arkansas. He had served for 30 years as Director, Research and Training Center for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and for 28 years as Professor, Department of Human Resources and Communication Disorders. He had previously served for 10 years as Associate Professor in teaching and research capacities, including the Research and Training Center of Deafness, at New York University. At the University of Arkansas and at New York University Dr. Watson and associates provided graduate level training in rehabilitation of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to more than 500 individuals, of which 30 or more were at the PhD level. These trained professionals went on to serve many thousands of deaf and hard of hearing consumers of rehabilitation services.

Dr. Watson was much in demand as a speaker and trainer at conferences, for professional in-service staff development training, seminars, and other related training to over 30,000 participants. He and his research staff provided consultation and technical assistance in 45 of the 50 states. This involvement focused on serving persons who were deaf, late deafened, deaf blind, or hard of hearing, and to the areas of rehabilitation, mental health, psychology, social work, audiology and education relative to those populations. Dr. Watson published extensively, including over 38 years of RTC research findings, which were additional contributions to the field.

A major contribution of Dr. Watson to the emergence and quality of rehabilitation services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing was the development in 1973 of the Model State Plan for Rehabilitation of Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (MSP). This was a project that was strongly encouraged by Dr. Boyce Williams at the Rehabilitation Services Administration and funded through federal Research and Training grants, first at NYU and later at the University of Arkansas. Initially Dr. Watson and NYU staff coordinated a committee of deafness rehabilitation experts to develop this plan for effective services to the target population and which was widely distributed and used. Thereafter, the MSP was updated, published and distributed every five years after each re-authorization of the Rehabilitation Act by the Congress. Dr. Watson has coordinated and edited each of these updates, a responsibility that he still maintains while in retirement. Dr. Watson also served as facilitator of a team of experts and editor for development of a Model State Plan for the Rehabilitation of Persons who are Deaf Blind, and which includes one update.

Dr. Watson is a charter member of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association and has served as a board member, and on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Rehabilitation of the Deaf. He served for seven years as Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Interpretation, a publication of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. He has served on a multitude of advisory committees, an activity he continues in his retirement. In addition he remains active with a variety of organizations including the Arkansas Association of the Deaf. He is currently serving in his eighth year as a member of the combined Board of Trustees for the Arkansas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired and the Arkansas School for the Deaf.