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Outstanding Alumni – Barrett Taylor (PhD 2012)

Betz Kerley

When colleagues share a passion and enthusiasm for research, the results can be very rewarding. Barrett Taylor, assistant professor of higher education at the University of North Texas, has enjoyed great success when collaborating with his peers. “I was fortunate to develop a number of close-working relationships with people I met at the IHE. Seeing those relationships turn into projects that can benefit all contributors is very satisfying,” remarks Taylor.

Emphasizing the ways in which colleges and universities interact with their environments, Taylor’s research utilizes both quantitative and qualitative techniques to consider the ways in which higher education organizations interact with and respond to changes in their environments.

“Sheila Slaughter, who chaired my dissertation, has proven a great collaborator as well as role model,” comments Taylor. “We are now co-principal investigators on a National Science Foundation grant examining the role of trustees in shaping the research agendas of universities and corporations. We also have a paper on competition for resources and the condition of the humanities that was published in the fall issue of the Journal of Higher Education.”

Taylor is also collaborating with former IHE postdoctoral associate Brendan Cantwell on a number of research projects. Cantwell was a co-author of the JHE paper, and the two have written (along with contributions from IHE students) a paper now in press with Minerva, a Journal of Science, Policy, and Education.

Taylor balances his time between teaching, research and service. “My primary service commitment this year has been to serve on the conference committee of the Association for the Study of Higher Education. I co-chaired the Organization and Administration Division.

Taylor credits the Institute for helping to prepare him for his position at the University of North Texas. “Much of what I learned at the IHE sticks with me today. The faculty members did more than train me in research skills. They also modeled the traditional faculty role, showing ways in which discovery could inform teaching and collaborations with students could contribute to scholarship.”

Contemporaries in the classroom combined to share interests and a thirst for knowledge – these ingredients can lead to partners in research. “Fellow students and postdocs proved to be valuable colleagues, many of whom remain among my closest friends and associates,” shares Taylor. Sometimes two heads are better than one.

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