Dr. Ellen Taylor
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs
Dr. Ellen Taylor
Interim Vice President, Student Affairs
For associate vice president of student engagement Ellen Taylor, the term engagement refers to more than just students attending campus activities. A self-described pathological optimist, Taylor believes and embraces what she refers to as the “engagement mindset” which is a far more holistic approach that requires the participation of not just students, but staff and faculty at all levels of the institution.
“Students don’t see divisions,” says Taylor, “they see the university as a whole.” Students are most likely to succeed when they feel connected to the university. An engagement mindset means faculty and staff recognize the importance of every interaction with a student in developing that student's sense of belonging at Washington State University. She believes that providing challenging yet supportive environments for students to learn and grow is an essential part of their college experience.
“Ellen is widely recognized for her commitment to the health and wellness of undergraduate and graduate students,” Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president of student affairs said. “She understands student engagement is holistic and expansive. She knows how to build effective teams and create seamless learning environments where students thrive.”
In her position at WSU, Taylor creates a comprehensive student engagement strategy that is both proactive and responsive to the emerging and evolving needs of students. To do so, Taylor leads the areas of access and opportunity, health and wellness, and student leadership. Taylor also coordinates WSU system-wide student engagement efforts.
Taylor came to the Pacific Northwest over 20 years ago as a psychologist and coordinator of the National Testing Program at Oregon State University. During her time at OSU, Taylor served in a variety of leadership roles including the director of counseling and psychological services. She most recently served as the associate vice president for student life at the University of Washington where she led institution-wide efforts in the mental, physical, and social well-being of students.
Taylor earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her undergraduate degree in psychology from Stetson University. Although Taylor has spent much of her career in university counseling centers, she has always found ways to engage in the broader mission of student affairs. She is an experienced trainer for community organizations on issues relating to college mental health, leadership development, organizational change, and creating inclusive workplaces.