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Dr. Jaime Taylor named dean of APSU College of Science and Mathematics

4/13/2010

In the late 1970s, a young choir teacher at Montgomery Central High School named Joe Jerles met a young eighth grader named Jaime Taylor. The teacher immediately noticed something special in this student.

“He was striking in that, even back then, you could tell he was sharp and of above average intelligence,†Jerles said. “We’d learn more than just singing in that class, and he was quick to pick up on a concept.â€
In the late 1970s, a young choir teacher at Montgomery Central High School named Joe Jerles met a young eighth grader named Jaime Taylor. The teacher immediately noticed something special in this student.

“He was striking in that, even back then, you could tell he was sharp and of above average intelligence,” Jerles said. “We'd learn more than just singing in that class, and he was quick to pick up on a concept.”

Dr. Jerles is now an assistant professor of education at Austin Peay State University, and he got to reminiscing about his former student last week after learning that Dr. Jaime Taylor was named the new dean of the APSU College of Science and Mathematics.

“I applaud the choice,” Jerles said.

Taylor, APSU professor of physics, was named interim dean of the college in 2008. A University search committee interviewed candidates from across the nation for the post before officially offering Taylor the position last week.

"It is a great time to be at APSU,” he said. “It is amazing how high the morale of the APSU faculty, staff and students are considering the difficult financial situation in higher education nationwide. The University is growing, the quality of the programs offered is increasing, every phase of the University is improving."


Taylor first arrived at APSU in the mid-1980s as an undergraduate, and he quickly made a name for himself as a promising young physics and mathematics student.

"The physics department at APSU was like a family to me when I was a student; I cannot emphasize enough how the faculty and staff at APSU changed my life,” he said.

Taylor went on to earn a Master of Science and a doctorate in engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute. In 1996, he returned to Clarksville to join the APSU faculty as an assistant professor. He has served in various capacities throughout the years, including eight years as chair of the physics department.

“I have known Jaime for several years, and he is an excellent choice for dean,” Dr. Dewey Browder, chair of the department of history and philosophy, said. “He is first and foremost a faculty member with high standards, but he is also a conscientious and competent administrator who has not forgotten what it is like to be a student. He is a problem solver with the human touch.”

Taylor helped build at Austin Peay one of the top undergraduate physics departments in the southeast. Students looking to attend universities such as the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon and Harvard are now opting to enroll at APSU as undergraduates due to his recruiting efforts.

Sophomore Megan Wolfe said she chose APSU because of Taylor, and once she arrived on campus, she discovered a physics department that is extremely student friendly.

“As a freshman, they made it clear we were always welcome up here,” Wolfe said last fall. “We'd have study sessions until 2 in the morning right across the hall. The teachers gave up their conference room for us to use as a study room. They have office hours, but we're allowed to come in at any time.”

That is exactly the type of atmosphere Taylor has tried to foster in the physics department.

“My goal as a faculty member, a chair and now as a dean is to do all I can to create that same type of caring and nurturing environment I received, for the students that now attend APSU,” he said. “It is obviously a huge honor to have been selected by my peers to become the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics and to be able to continue to work toward that goal." -- Charles Booth