Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has selected Morris Taylor, PhD, as its vice chancellor for administration following a national search. Pending approval by the SIU Board of Trustees, Taylor officially assumes his new responsibilities on Thursday, Oct. 1.
The VCA is responsible for support functions of the university, including planning and budgeting, human resources, financial affairs, administrative services, facilities management and public safety.
“I am thrilled that Dr. Taylor has agreed to serve as vice chancellor for administration,” said SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook. “He has devoted himself to SIUE for more than two decades and brings a unique skill set to the position. In particular, his police experience, abilities in coalition building and understanding of SIUE will allow him to hit the ground running.
“I also want to thank outgoing VCA Rich Walker for his more than three decades of service to SIUE. The VCA Office will continue to provide essential support to the University. I also wish to thank the search committee chaired by Provost Denise Cobb for its outstanding work during the search process.”
“I am extremely appreciative of the efforts of both the search committee and university leadership for their highly professional and rigorous assessments of my qualifications throughout the entire selection process,” said Taylor, a St. Louis native. “My vision for this office will focus on ensuring the effective, efficient, equitable, and safe operation of the entire University for those functions for which I am responsible. This includes ensuring equity with respect to diversity and inclusion.”
Taylor understands that he is entering a leadership position during a challenging time.
“Given the uncertainty associated with COVID-19, public safety will be a top priority juxtaposed with being a good steward of scarce University resources during these uncertain and dynamic times,” he said.
An associate professor in the SIUE Department of Public Administration and Policy Analysis which he has chaired since 2014, Taylor has been an SIUE faculty member since 1997 and brings 22 years of experience in higher education to the position. At SIUE, he has taught courses in public management, policy analysis, public law, program evaluation, ethics, homeland security and public safety. He is an editor for the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy.
During his SIUE tenure, Taylor has been extensively involved in campus leadership. He has served as the chair of various committees, including the Planning and Budgeting Council (UPBC), Faculty Senate Rules and Procedures Committee, College of Arts and Sciences Academic Policies and Curriculum Committee and the Thesis Committee. He has also served on the chancellor’s University Leadership Team, Enrollment Management Council, Extended Chancellor’s Council, University Quality Council, Provost’s Space Committee, Teaching Excellence Award Committee, Graduate Council Program Committee and Graduate Studies and Research Committee.
Prior to joining SIUE, Taylor was an administrator with the Social Security Administration in St. Louis. He was a police officer for both St. Louis City and St. Louis County during the 1970s. He was also a senior attorney negotiator for the State Farm Insurance Cos. From 2004-2005, he served as the Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.
Taylor believes his public safety experience will be particularly beneficial to the campus community. “Having served in two large urban police departments as a patrol officer, I am keenly aware of the need for ensuring public safety,” he said. “That experience is supported further by my professional activities on various public service organizations focusing on public safety, which will serve me well to help ensure a safe campus.”
Taylor’s public and community service include being a member of the United States Attorneys’ Hate Crime Task Force for Eastern Missouri, the board of directors for St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS), the Southwestern Illinois City Manager Association (SWICMA), the ACLU of Eastern Missouri and a variety of other public policy-focused organizations.
“As a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Regional Response System (STARRS) for more than 15 years, my knowledge and experience planning for terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and pandemics will enable me to address any emergent issues,” Taylor said. “Plus, my experience working in and with four different unions, both private and governmental public combined with my understanding of equitable negotiation practices, should be beneficial in this role.”
Taylor earned a bachelor’s in liberal studies from Saint Louis University (SLU) in 1985 with a specialization in organizational development. He earned a master’s in public administration from SIUE in 1992 and a doctorate in public policy analysis with a specialization in social jurisprudence from SLU in 2000.
Taylor succeeds Rich Walker, who is retiring at the end of September. They will have the opportunity to work together for two weeks during the transition.
“Given VCA Walker’s 34 years of higher education experience and his demonstrated ability to work under very challenging conditions, I expect this will help make for a smooth transition,” Taylor said. “I am looking forward to working with Rich and gaining valuable insights into the operation of the VCA Office.”