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Keynote Speaker: Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor
Beck A. Taylor, Ph.D., became the 18th president of Whitworth University (Spokane, Wash.) in July 2010. He came to Whitworth after serving as dean and professor of economics for the Brock School of Business at Samford University, Birmingham, Ala., and as associate dean for research and faculty development for the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, where he was also the W.H. Smith Professor of Economics.
Since arriving at Whitworth, Taylor has led the university in developing a 10-year vision and strategic plan, Whitworth 2021: Courage at the Crossroads, which calls for expanding student opportunities for experiential learning, intercultural engagement and post-graduate preparation while continuing to elevate Whitworth's standing as one of the finest Christian liberal arts universities in the country. He also has opened new channels of communication with students, alumni and friends of the university and has strengthened connections with business, community and legislative leaders in the region.
After earning his undergraduate degree from Baylor, with majors in economics and finance, Taylor was employed as an analyst for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in Houston. He went on to earn the M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind. After returning to the Baylor faculty, Taylor received the Young Researcher Award from the Hankamer School of Business in 2000 and subsequently was named the first holder of the W.H. Smith Professorship in Economics. In 2002, he was appointed a visiting scholar by Harvard University, where he spent one year in residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education pursuing research interests. In 2005, Taylor was named a Baylor University Outstanding Professor for his research accomplishments.
As dean of Samford's Brock School of Business, Taylor helped to lead the rapid transformation of the business school, spearheaded by a commitment from Harry B. Brock, Jr., founder of Compass Bank, to build a $100 million endowment for the school. Taylor also led the Brock School to establish an honors program and eight new academic programs, including an entrepreneurship program that was recognized in 2010 as the nation's top emerging program by the U.S. Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship.
As a scholar, Taylor has published more than two dozen studies in economics journals such as Review of Economics and Statistics; Journal of Labor Economics; Journal of Human Resources; and Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. Illustrating his diverse research interests and his connections to the social sciences, Taylor has also published research in public health and child developmental psychology. His research has been cited in testimony given before the U.S. Congress and the California State Assembly and also has been referenced in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and Chief Executive Magazine. His research has also been mentioned by organizations as diverse as the National Center for Children and Poverty at Columbia University, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Center for the Advancement of Health, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and the Heritage Foundation.
Taylor is a member of numerous professional and academic organizations, including the American Economic Association, Beta Gamma Sigma (international honor society for business programs), Omicron Delta Epsilon (international economics honor society), Beta Alpha Psi (honor society for financial information students and professionals), and the Association of Christian Economists. Additionally, he served for six years on the editorial board of the Atlantic Economic Journal. Taylor has served as a business consultant for dozens of organizations, and he was director for the NASDAQ-listed Goldleaf Financial Solutions, Inc. (Norcross, Ga.). He currently serves on the boards of Whitworth University, The Whitworth Foundation, Greater Spokane Incorporated, and Thrive by Five Washington.
Taylor and his wife of 20 years, Julie, have three children: Zach (17), Lauren (14), and Chloe (6).
2013 Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference Keynote Address:
"The Opportunities and Challenges of Interdisciplinary Scholarship"
Many of the best ideas and most promising solutions to society's biggest problems lie not exclusively within selected and more narrowly defined academic fields and sub-disciplines, but rather at the intersections of two or more areas of study. Although academic curricula often continue to maintain restrictive silos that prevent appropriate cross-fertilization across disciplines, researchers are regularly unharnessing the power of interdisciplinary investigation. Beck A. Taylor, Ph.D., president of Whitworth University and interdisciplinary scholar, will discuss the inherent challenges and opportunities as students and professors examine difficult problems from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.