Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert
Is it possible to be a people person, yet hold people to a high standard? Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert, Lander University's new dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, would say yes.
She believes in "letting people get to know you, and letting them know that you value their work," but also admits she has high expectations of her faculty - and isn't afraid of letting them know it.
Asked if she is tough, she said, "yes, I am, but you have to add 'fair.'"
Taylor-Colbert comes to Lander from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, where she worked for five years as a professor of history and chair of the History, Geography, Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department.
She was instrumental in U.A.-Fort Smith's conversion from a community college to a four-year institution, a process which was both trying and ultimately rewarding.
"The most difficult thing was to walk into a situation where the faculty did not want me there, and to turn that around," she said.
She had already turned around a situation at her alma mater, Shorter University, in Rome, Ga., where stipulations had been placed on the School of Education by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC).
Within nine months of her hiring as dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences, the stipulations were removed. Shorter's School of Education became a model for effective assessment systems featured at a state meeting of the Georgia PSC.
Taylor-Colbert's hiring by Lander means that she will be reunited with her husband, Jim, an assistant professor of chemistry at Lander, and a former colleague at Shorter, Lander associate professor of education Lewis Walker.
She will continue to teach history, something she has been doing for 26 years. She is scheduled to teach U.S. history from 1850 to 1932 in the fall.
The Snellville, Ga., native, who holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Emory University, is an expert in the history and culture of Cherokee Indians, with a long list of publications and presentations on the subject.
As dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Taylor-Colbert will be the administrative and academic leader of the departments of Art; English and Foreign Languages; History and Philosophy; Mass Communication and Theater; and Music.
She has a lofty goal. "I want our programs to have a regional and national reputation for excellence," she said.
Lander President Daniel Ball called Taylor-Colbert "a seasoned administrator, but more than that she has the mindset we all aspire toward, in that she is quite student/faculty friendly. She promises to be an effective and popular dean for our College of Arts and Humanities," he said.