Alumna Betty Jeanne Taylor Brings Passion for Equality to UT Austin

13227128_10107588829062600_2392994797594754971_nBetty Jeanne (Wolfe) Taylor (B.S. ’97) feels at home in the realm of communication. With a thirst for information, a love of writing and a passion for diversity and inclusion, the alum knew that she was in the right place when she was taking classes in the College of Communication & Information at FSU. Today, the alumna has been able to use her background in communication in every professional role that she has held over the past almost 20 years.

Taylor comments, “My undergraduate degree in Communication has been beneficial to me at every point in my academic and professional careers. I utilize the knowledge and skills gained from the College of Communication & Information literally on a daily basis.”

While earning her undergraduate degree, Taylor also worked as a teaching assistant for CCI. This was one of the experiences that prompted her to pursue a graduate degree from FSU in Higher Education. As a TA for Professor MacNamara, she learned a lot about the importance of politics in both communication and higher education.

She explains, “Getting to experience Professor MacNamara’s political wisdom and also learn from his skill in conducting his classes was extremely useful.”

Taylor was also inspired by Professor Zeigler, from whom she learned the importance of being true to yourself, learning from other perspectives and standing up for what you believe. This was the perfect catalyst for her to commit to advancing diversity.

She says, “I only hope I have given to students even a fraction of what he gives every day. Beyond communication skills, he instills a sense of community.”

Today, Taylor has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from UT Austin, where she works as the Assistant VP for Inclusion and Equity. Her daily activities vary greatly, but they often include responding to bias incident reports with the Campus Climate Response Team, collaborating with colleagues on research, giving presentations about underrepresented faculty and/or graduate students for college and school leadership or for the facilitation of the Inclusive Leadership Certificate Seminar, serving on panels and strategizing how to navigate situations related to classroom climate issues.

Taylor takes her responsibility as an accountable member of society seriously, and believes that if you’re not interrupting oppressive systems, then you’re perpetuating them.

She shares, “Through my own learning, and with the very patient assistance of colleagues, friends and students, over the years I have developed an awareness of issues that once seen cannot be unseen. I often say that there is no such thing as an innocent bystander.”

In her spare time, Taylor enjoys going to concerts in Austin and spending time with year nine year old twins and her husband, Andrew, who is also an FSU alum. Five years from now, she sees herself continuing to utilize her skills, experience and intuition as a strategic thinker to critically consider the role of institutions in higher education.

To learn more about the Communication program at Florida State, follow this link.