Ella Taylor accepts director position for The Teaching Research Institute
The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University will undergo significant changes in the near future. Its current director, John Killoran, is retiring and Dr. Ella Taylor, who currently works at WOU as the director of sponsored research, will take over the position during the summer. The experience from her current position will be invaluable to TRI. She has helped faculty and staff all over campus find grants, write proposals, put ideas together, work on budgets, served as the grant submittal point, and helped with compliance. The latter duty will be most essential to her role as TRI’s director because that position requires compliance work for the $7 million in grants currently awarded to TRI. The collaboration between WOU and TRI is something she has enjoyed.
“Together, TRI and WOU make a phenomenal package for a comprehensive master’s university. It’s something that many other university’s our size do not have. It’s good for both of us.”
Taylor joined WOU in 2002, working half time on a grant within TRI and the other half within the Division of Extended Programs. After a year she found grant money to be fully funded within TRI. Three years ago she was hired through a national search for her current position. Before coming to WOU she worked at the University of South Florida (USF), where she earned her doctorate, and taught special education, particularly focusing on gifted education. She put together USF’s first online master’s program in gifted education and was involved writing grants for a summer program at the university that brought gifted middle school and high school kids to campus to learn leadership skills.
Her ideas and enthusiasm will make a major impact on TRI. She has already identified several plans of action, including the creation of combined centers within the organization. She wants to blend areas together to promote ideas and collaboration within TRI and on campus. In addition to the existing Center on Brain Injury Research and Training, she wants to expand the Child Development Center/Center on Inclusion and to create a Center on Deaf-Blindness, and a Center on Teacher Effectiveness. Taylor plans to develop a visiting scholars program to complement each of these centers. She hopes to secure funding to bring faculty to TRI during their sabbaticals to conduct research. The program would benefit both TRI and the visiting scholars through an exchange of ideas, new research avenues, and bringing research to practice.
She wants to work with students as well. One of her goals is to develop a scholarship program to fund a student during their senior year who wants to do research around education. This student would work with TRI’s staff and faculty to create new knowledge for a senior thesis or research project. Taylor also wants to create an advisory council for TRI, which will include representatives from on- and off-campus.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Taylor. “Anytime that you get to move in to a leadership role with an agency that has such a strong history, it is really exciting. It’s an opportunity to highlight all TRI has accomplished in our first 50 years and to launch into the next 50 years with high expectations for accomplishing even greater goals.” ”