by Jazzminn Morecraft
This past December, CI’s founding Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA), Dr. Wm. Gregory Sawyer, retired. With no new VPSA and an entire semester left in the 2017-2018 academic year, Dr. Genevieve Evans Taylor has taken office as Interim VPSA.
“I encourage all of our students to find a meaningful connection to our campus.”
Dr. Evans Taylor went to the University of Hawaii at Ma-noa for her first year of college. She did not find the co-curricular university experience that she was hoping for, so she participated in the National Student Exchange and attended the University of South Dakota. Dr. Evans Taylor said she “found a place to be engaged in the campus community” at the University of South Dakota and ended up transferring there. She not only obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree there, but she also obtained her Masters and Doctorate degrees as well.
After obtaining her degrees from the University of South Dakota, she served in a number of student affairs roles, including “orientation coordinator, fraternity/sorority coordinator, overseeing a Student Activities Center and helped oversee the construction, opening and oversight of a brand new Student Union.” After all this, Dr. Evans Taylor was offered the chance to come to CI and be the inaugural Executive Director for Associated Students Incorporated. She has been with CI since August 2009.
As acting interim, Dr. Evans Taylor is “working with the Division of Student Affairs for a short amount of time.” She goes on to explain, “Until the president appoints a new Vice President for Student Affairs and until that person starts their first day at CI, I will be overseeing the Division.”
However, Dr. Evans Taylor still holds her position as Chief of Staff to Madam President Erika Beck, while she is interim VPSA. “Knowing that the president still needs a Chief of Staff, I maintain this role from about 7:15-10 a.m. every morning and then I travel across the Central Mall to serve the Division of Student Affairs for the remainder of the day.”
While acting as interim she is “continuously asking the Division to think about the role they play in helping to increase the retention rate, close the achievement gap and increase the graduation rate.” Additionally she is “working closely with the Division on helping them to become more closely aligned with academic affairs,” as well as asking the Division “to align their work in support of our students’ academic progress, attainment and success.”
When it comes to students, Dr. Evans Taylor has some words of wisdom: “I encourage all of our students to find a meaningful connection to our campus. This could be through on-campus student employment to attain paraprofessional experience, participating in a student organization to attain leadership skills, serving on a university fee committee to obtain advocacy and budget experience, working with our faculty to gain undergraduate research experience or volunteering in our community to meet the needs of our surrounding community. Our campus is enriched by the engagement of our students. Not only will the individual student benefit from such engagement, but so too will our entire University community!”