Taylor joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1988 and currently occupies the slot of the "early Americanist" in the history department. He has been actively involved with the OAH, serving as secretary-treasurer from 1999-2004, and he now succeeds Austin Kerr of The Ohio State University in his position as president.
In his term, Kerr set a new agenda that "challenged the Academy to act more forthrightly on what unites us as historians living and working in Ohio."
"In this regard, we should focus mainly on what transpires in the high schools, and we should include in our concern the preparation of teachers for those high school history classrooms," Taylor said.
Earlier this year, Carol Lasser of Oberlin College, who chairs the Academy's Standards Committee, presented proposals that would recognize undergraduate programs that set rigorous standards in history for future social studies teachers. Taylor stated that this was a natural role for Wittenberg, "since we are one of those programs."
As for his new role as president, Taylor said he is "excited about the advocacy role the Academy now plays on behalf of elevating the standards for preparing secondary social studies teachers."
"The fun thing about this for me is personal," Taylor said. "Wittenberg faculty have played prominent roles in the academy for decades, and the academy has been good to Wittenberg faculty."
Since its creation in 1981, OHA's Distinguished Teaching Award has been won three times by Wittenberg faculty: Cynthia Behrman (1984), Jim Huffman (1992), and Tom Taylor (2001). Likewise the academy has recognized Wittenberg faculty three times for distinguished service. Robert Hartje (1984), Richard Ortquist (1986) and Albert Hayden (1994).
For now, Taylor is gearing up for the statewide annual meeting of the OHA, which Wittenberg will host in April 2005.
Taylor teaches early American history, constitutional and legal history, religious history, the history of American film. In past years he also teamed with Timothy Lewis, professor of biology, to co-teach a course about the history of the Lewis and Clarke expedition.
To read an excerpt of Tayor's presidential address, titled "A Murder, a Car, a Genius, and a House: Frank Lloyd Wright's Westcott House" click here.
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