avatar for Bevlee A. Watford, Ph.D., P.E.

Bevlee A. Watford, Ph.D., P.E.

Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity
Professor, Engineering Education; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Director

Dr. Bevlee A. Watford, P.E. is a Professor of Engineering Education, associate dean for academic affairs and the Founding Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity for the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.  She received her B.S. in Mining Engineering, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Virginia Tech.  Following an initial position as an assistant professor at Clemson University, in 1992, she became the founding Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity for the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, and associate professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering.  In 1997 Watford became the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering.  She earned her current rank of Professor of Engineering Education in 2005 serving as Interim Department Head 2010-2011.  From 2005-07, she was on leave from Virginia Tech, serving as a program manager in the Division of Undergraduate Education for the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Watford has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work including the 1996 Virginia Tech Affirmative Action Award, 1997 Charles E. Tunstall Award for Outstanding Minority Engineering Program Director, and in 1998 was selected as one of the Top Minority Women in Science and Engineering by the National Technical Association.  She received the 2002 Black Engineer of the Year award in the category of college level educators, a 2002 Advancing Women Award from the Virginia Tech Women’s Center and the 2003 Minorities in Engineering Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).  In 2004 she was the first recipient of the Outstanding Commitment to Professional Development Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Region III.

In 2008 she was the recipient of the WEPAN Founders Award in recognition of her service to WEPAN and her efforts to increase the participation of women in the engineering profession.  She is a 2010 Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).  CEED was awarded the 2010 Claire Felbinger Diversity Award by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.  In 2011 CEED received the NSBE-Exxonmobil Impact award for implementing successful research based efforts to improve retention.

Dr. Watford was the 2004-5 President of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Minority Engineering Program Administrators (NAMEPA).  She is currently a member of the National Academy of Engineering’s EngineerGirl Website Committee. Watford also served as the 2006-08 Program Chair for the ASEE Women in Engineering Division and as Chair for 2008-10. She is the ASEE Chair of Professional Interest Council (PIC) IV for 2010-12 as well as Chair of the ASEE Diversity Committee.

In all, Watford has secured more than $6.5 million dollars in funding and support for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity and other undergraduate initiatives from a variety of sources including the National Science Foundation, the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, General Electric Foundation, Intel, Sloan Foundation, Corning Foundation, Honeywell International, Ingersol Rand, HHMI and Microsoft.  Her research activities have focused on the recruitment and retention of students in engineering, with a particular emphasis on under-represented students.  The CEED office has implemented nationally recognized programs that have enhanced the success of all students.  These include freshman peer mentoring, summer bridge for incoming freshman and residential living-learning communities.

She is married to Van Johnson (VT ’82), has 2 children, Devon (a sophomore at Virginia Tech) and Leah (a junior in high school), an Aussie shepherd named Piper and three cats (Riley, Rufus and Ramsey).


My Speakers Sessions

Tuesday, June 18