Watson Named Faculty of Distinction for February 2023

Published: April 7, 2023

Congratulations to College of Western Idaho (CWI) English Adjunct Faculty, Jaren Watson, who was named Faculty of Distinction for February 2023!

Watson has been part of the CWI community for the last six years where he has taught Writing and Rhetoric I (ENGL 101 and ENGL 101P) and Writing and Rhetoric II (ENGL 102) courses. His motivation to be at CWI and teach every day is simply because he enjoys what he does.

“I love having fun, and exploring and playing with ideas is an inexhaustible source of pleasure. And obviously, it's more fun to play with others,” Watson said. “If this takes place in a classroom, we call it teaching, which I admit sounds nice. But we're not kidding anyone, are we?”

If you were to ask Watson a favorite memory he has had at CWI, he can list off dozens of students and moments instantly — like the astonishingly creative final essay CWI student wrote for English 102, something Watson still reads and uses in class, or the emotions captured in the early draft an essay written by another CWI student that detailed the heartbreak after an injury halted his dreams of becoming a professional dancer before discovering new academic goals at CWI.

He also shares the moment that remains close to his heart; during the early days of the pandemic when he lost his sister and the many gifts of kindness and grace given to him by each and every one of his students that semester.

For Watson, it is hard to choose just one standout memory or student interaction.

“On a moonless night, search the skies. What stars stand out? Oh, did I fail to stipulate that in this sky they're all North Stars? Do they not all point the way with their lovely, lovely light?” he said.

Watson’s students see the care and commitment he brings to the classroom.

“He is a very kind and open-minded human being,” said Watson’s English 101 student, Riley Derby. “I've always thought very highly of his work ethic and dedication to his students. Really appreciate how much effort he puts into his students. It's very rare and amazing.”

“He makes himself available for assignments and is helpful when you need assistance figuring out what it is that you are trying to write, address, or debate on whatever assignments you are working on,” said English 102 student, Colleen Burley. “Being a successful student requires having a professor who responds in a timely manner, has helpful input, guidance, compassion, and understanding for their students, and that is given all by Professor Watson. Every day, his unwavering confidence in our accomplishments shines through.”

Watson calls his time throughout CWI and teaching a privilege because it has introduced him to thousands of whom he describes as the “most interesting people on the planet.”

“Where CWI excels at is teaching one student at a time. The most valuable lessons of all — you matter, you can do this, keep going,” Watson said.

While Watson has a passion for teaching, he also shares the same passion for writing. He has been working either full-time, part-time, or freelance in editing and technical writing since graduating high school. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing with an emphasis in fiction and creative nonfiction from University of Arizona.

Watson grew up in Idaho and has lived in many other states throughout his life — but he could not resist coming back home. He has five children; the youngest two he still co-parents with his ex-partner.

Away from campus, Watson enjoys playing and listening to music, climbing rocks and mountains, trail running, paddle boarding, reading, writing, investigating the mysterious nature of consciousness, and cuddling his kids.

“Oh, and waking nightly around 1:30 a.m. to my overfed cat kneading my chest, while I stare at the blank ceiling thinking, ‘This is my life? This is my life,’” Watson said.

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