Cris Watson, the Executive Secretary for Planning and Analysis, may be the most qualified employee to ever hold the position.
She has an associates degree in legal research and science from Everest College in Phoenix, Arizona. The school is a private post-secondary school with no extracurricular activities. Otherwise, she would probably have been an intramural star.
As executive secretary, Cris handles policy and governance, works with the New Mexico Higher Education Assessment Association, the La Prueba bilingual certification exam, plans events such as back-to-campus in the fall, the POPS Concert, the Jack Williamson Lectureship, etc.
She started at ENMU in September 2013 in her current position, and "is always very busy and has a variety of things to do, so I never get bored."
Dr. Patrice Caldwell, Executive Director of Planning and Analysis, says that Cris has "boundless energy and is always up for a challenge. That's a good quality in the planning office. Cris came will a wealth of higher education experience, and I think we've capitalized on every single skill--from event organization to webpage design and updates; she picks up skills quickly and works very well with others.
"I'm lucky to work with her. Eastern is lucky to have her with us."
Cris began working in post-secondary education about 15 years ago.
When she graduated from college, the college president asked Cris if she would like to work for her in building a new online division of the college.
She initially worked for the information technology department setting up the servers and computer systems, then started building the website and online classes. She eventually worked in almost every department of the college (except Financial Aid).
Her oldest son lives in Portales and wanted her "to come here so I could spend time with him and his family."
Her ultimate career goal is "to enjoy my work and work environment and to be challenged."
Her hobbies include sewing, knitting, reading, acquiring black-and-white cow collectibles and movies.
The happiest moments for Cris were "when my three children were born and my grandson was born. The saddest were when my brother passed away and then 18 days later my mother passed."
Cris was born in San Diego, California. Her father was military so they moved around a lot. Her mother was a respiratory therapist and then became an instructor for cosmetology.
Her oldest brother is a nurse. She also has twin sisters. One is a security specialist in Alexandria, Virginia. The other is a day-care provider in Colorado. The brother that passed was a welder for the Dial Corporation.
She also has three younger stepbrothers "who have yet to figure out what they want to do so they are still trying to find their career path."
Cris is a single parent of three children. Her oldest son is a civilian firefighter for the military as well as a truck driver and works in the family's farming business. Her daughter is an ENMU student studying agriculture business. Her youngest son works at Hampton Farms and is also a firefighter for Arch. She has one grandchild named Elliot James.
"I am pretty content and have accomplished almost everything I have wanted," said Cris. "I have one left that I will be taking care of on my vacation--going to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Being a military brat, I had a lot of advantages and was able to travel a lot and got to see so much of the country and world via my father."
Cris says her philosophy of life is to "treat others as you would like to be treated."
She says her life centers around her family because "they are the ones who have molded me into the person I am today."
Cris knows "life is short, so try as many things as you can. Being afraid of death is like being afraid of breathing. You will end up doing one or the other."