Taylor named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert today announced that Dr. Jaime (pronounced “Hi-meh”) R. Taylor, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Austin Peay State University, has been named Marshall’s next provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Taylor replaces Dr. Gayle L. Ormiston, who has announced he will step down at the end of the current academic year. Taylor’s appointment is effective July 1.

“I am extremely pleased Dr. Taylor has accepted my offer to be provost and senior vice president for academic affairs,” said Gilbert. “He has an outstanding history of accomplishments in enrollment management, relationship building and shared governance, academic program development, community partnerships and fiscal management. Dr. Taylor will be an excellent fit for Marshall University. It’s exciting to have him as part of our team.”

Taylor said, “Marshall University has set forth some very ambitious goals, and I am confident the university can achieve those goals after having visited the campus. It wasn’t just the expertise of the individuals I met that impressed me, it was the sense of community across campus and the deep affection the students, staff and faculty have for Marshall University that really got me excited about the opportunity to become part of such a great institution!”

Search committee member Dr. Kelli Johnson, head of access services and outreach for Marshall University Libraries and Online Learning, agreed Taylor is the right person for the job.

She added, “The committee was obviously impressed by Dr. Taylor’s resume and his breadth of accomplishments and experience, but what really hit home were his collaborative spirit, his openness and his approachability. He is the perfect fit for Marshall, embodies our Creed and will help us we move forward in meeting the ambitious goals set forth by President Gilbert.”

Taylor, who has a background in mathematics and computational physics, has held a faculty appointment at Austin Peay since 1996, when he joined the university with a B.S. in physics from Austin Peay (1990), and an M.S. (1991) and a Ph.D. (1995) in engineering science from the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Taylor has served as dean at Austin Peay since 2008, except for 2013-15, when he served as the institution’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. This year, he has been on temporary leave from the dean’s position to serve as Austin Peay’s first presidential fellow, conducting research and working directly with the university president on strategy and policy related to Tennessee’s formula funding model for higher education.

As dean, he worked with department chairs to add new degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Taylor also led initiatives to increase enrollment and improve student success, resulting in a more than doubling of the number of graduates in the college.

While interim provost, he developed and implemented strategies to ensure Austin Peay remained Tennessee’s leading institution in the state’s outcome-based funding formula, which bases funding for each higher education institution on its number of graduates. He established two programs—an out-of-state scholarship and the guaranteed community college graduate scholarship—which were later replicated by other universities in the state.

After the first year of using recruitment strategies put in place while Taylor was interim provost, Austin Peay experienced record growth of more than 30 percent in its freshman class. In addition, both years he served as interim provost, Austin Peay made the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” Honor Roll for Confidence in Senior Leadership and Collaborative Governance.

Prior to his appointment as dean, Taylor was the chair of the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy from 2000-08.

His research interests are in applications of biologically inspired algorithms or “soft computing” methods such as neural networks, fuzzy systems and genetic algorithms, and during the summers of 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2002, he served as a NASA Faculty Fellow at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. He also has conducted research at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, working on pulse-coupled neural networks for military and space-based applications.

Taylor and his wife Stacy have two children, Makenzie and Jordan.

Taylor’s resume is available online here.