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Don Taylor named dean of HHS

April 21, 2006

Photo of Don TaylorDon Taylor became dean of the College of Health and Human Services effective April 1, after a nationwide search.

Taylor joined the SFSU faculty as a lecturer in 1979 and served as the department chair of Recreation and Leisure Studies from 1995 to 2001. He was appointed interim associate dean for the college from 2002 to 2004 and acting dean in 2004.

A native of Geff, an Illinois farming community, Taylor holds a bachelor's degree in forest science from University of Illinois and a master's in curriculum with a specialization in environmental education from CSU Hayward. He received a doctorate of education in counseling and educational psychology from University of San Francisco in 1989.

Taylor believes that recreation is key to personal growth. An avid mountaineer, he has summited several difficult peaks including Mount McKinley.

"I climb the summit to reach the top," he said. "It's essential to keep your mind on what your goal is while you undertake the smaller steps it takes to get there." He has shared this philosophy with his students and a variety of other people through work in his community and while leading corporate development programs for companies such as Microsoft, T-Mobile and The North Face. Though no longer teaching, Taylor continues to devote time as a team leader to SFSU's Fort Miley Ropes Course.

"Don Taylor's experience at SFSU spans a broad spectrum of teaching, community involvement and programmatic leadership," said John Gemello, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "His deep commitment to engaged scholarship and exemplary team-building skills will serve the college very well."

"Everyone in this College is very forward-thinking," Taylor said. "They find answers and solutions that are cutting edge." He is proud that students and faculty carry out community programs as part of the learning experience.

"Our recreation programs reach the hardest kids to reach," he said. "The health and counseling programs reach people who might not get the help they need any other way."

The College of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers bachelor's and master's degrees in consumer and family studies/dietetics, health education, kinesiology, recreation and leisure studies, nursing and social work; master's degrees in counseling and gerontology; as well as master's and doctoral degrees in physical therapy.

Though the college is diverse in disciplines and scope, Taylor maintains that everyone in HHS shares a common dream and rallies around the common cause of empowering people to make a better world.

"The entrepreneurial spirit sparks every department," he said. "Everyone knows where this college must go. My job is to help make it all happen."

When asked if he imagined when he started at SFSU that he'd one day become dean, Taylor said that the thought never crossed his mind. "In fact, I've always rented my Commencement regalia," he said. "This year is the first time I've considered buying it."

-- Denize Springer


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Last modified April 21, 2006 by University Communications