At the beginning of the week, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice. By the end of the week he had won the 2016 President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor and been named the new interim chair of his department.
The first big change came that Wednesday when Taylor was named interim department chair, replacing the retired Dr. Casey Jones.
“I decided to apply because I think it will be a great opportunity to serve everyone in our department,” Taylor said. “The department is growing and doing a lot of wonderful things through the faculty, staff and students. It’s also an ideal chance for me to learn more about academic affairs—processes I knew were going on but was not actually involved in. I now have this great opportunity to serve, to learn and to broaden my experience.”
“With any position like this, there is a steep learning curve,” he added. “I’ll be relying on people around the campus who already have this experience. I’m also open to ideas from our faculty and staff to push forward and make this endeavor the best it can possibly be for the department.”
“Research is important because you can then contribute to your field in terms of your knowledge and publications, as well as asking critical questions.”
Barely had Taylor been able to accept his promotion when, the following day, he received his President’s Award for Faculty Excellence.
“I’m both honored and humbled by the award,” Taylor said. “Two things about it really stand out. The first is that it is faculty-driven. The faculty choose the representatives that they think epitomize the best in teaching, research and service. For me, that is a key component.”
“It also symbolizes ASU’s commitment to recognize faculty in all areas,” he added. “The fact that they recognize a number of individuals as nominees, semi-finalists and winners really shows the support that ASU provides its faculty. There are probably many institutions that don’t do this type of recognition, but ASU chooses to do so, and I think that is a very valuable thing.”
Taylor, who joined the ASU faculty in 2011, was honored primarily for his prolific research and writing on topics dealing with civil-military relations. Over the past five years, he has been awarded 10 national grants and fellowships to fund his research and publications. His second book, “Military Service and American Democracy: From World War II to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars,” is scheduled to be published Nov. 3. His first book, “Every Citizen a Soldier: The Campaign for Universal Military Training after World War II,” was published in 2014 and won a Crader Family Book Prize Honorable Mention from the Crader Family Endowment for American Values.
In addition to his own books, Taylor has also contributed to 11 other books and has published over 55 reference articles and book reviews in more than 15 history and military journals. He has been a featured speaker for ASU’s Civil War Lecture Series and Great War Lecture Series.
“Research is important because you can then contribute to your field in terms of your knowledge and publications, as well as asking critical questions,” Taylor said. “Your own work and your interactions with other scholars across the country who are also doing cutting-edge research in your field keep you attuned to the latest knowledge and developments, and you can integrate that knowledge into your teaching to benefit your students.”
“As you engage with students and teach them new material, they often ask very insightful questions,” he added. “That can spur your thoughts into other areas of research that you can then take back to your students. So it’s a very mutually reinforcing process.”
Born in Greenville, S.C., Taylor is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was an All-American on the Pistol Team. After graduating, he spent six years as a Marine Corps staff officer and then earned a master’s degree through Georgetown University’s elite national security studies program. He also holds two other master’s degrees and earned his doctorate from George Washington University.
Taylor and his wife, Renee, live in Wall with their daughter, Madison (11), and their son, Benjamin (8).