Steve Taylor is the new executive director of Mississippi State's Center for Distance Education.
For more than 25 years, Taylor has been a part of the faculty and administration at the university, a place he planned to work for just a few years.
"When I came here in August 1987, I said, 'I'm going to stay here 5 years just to see what the Deep South is like,"' Taylor said. "Then, this place became home; I'm a Mississippian."
A Virginia Tech University doctoral graduate, Taylor came to the MSU campus as an assistant professor of management before he later became an administrator. Taylor said he always enjoys working directly with students, as well as leading the teams of people who interact with them.
"The roles are so fundamentally different," he explained. "The priorities aren't different because they're always education, but the way in which you approach that priority is so different."
While students and his research received primary focus as a classroom leader, his administrative role requires him to be a supporter and provide faculty the tools they need to educate students and facilitate research.
The veteran educator said this new opportunity to lead the team responsible for operating the institution's extensive online instructional program is both exciting and rewarding.
"In the Center for Distance Education, we have a rare opportunity in our careers because we are building something that will impact this university for decades," Taylor said. "We're building the foundation on which distance education is going to grow, and that's exciting."
He praised center colleagues already in place who have continually worked to expand and enhance online programming.
"This staff really is committed," he emphasized. "They are extremely concerned about students' education. They know that our job is to support the departments and the faculty, and they're among the biggest reasons distance education is growing so fast on this campus."
Learn more about MSU distance education opportunities at www.distance.msstate.edu.