University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen today announced the selection of Dr. Kenya Taylor as dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
Dr. Taylor, who currently chairs the UNK Department of Communication Disorders in the College of Education, will assume the responsibilities of dean effective July 1, upon approval of the Board of Regents.
In making the announcement, Chancellor Kristensen noted: “Dr. Taylor is devoted to academic excellence and committed to continuous improvement of our graduate and research programs.
“She has direct experience in developing and delivering online courses, and she is eminently qualified to provide leadership in all facets of the responsibilities of the dean of Graduate Studies and Research,” he said.
Last spring, Dr. Taylor received the university-wide Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA), the highest award given in the University of Nebraska system, and she has been a Pioneers in Research professor since 2002.
In the fall of 2002, she was presented the Pratt-Heins Foundation Award for Teaching, which is the highest award presented on the UNK campus. In addition, she has been a UNK Profiles in Excellence professor since 1998.
Her work with UNK students earned her the Mentoring of Undergraduate Research Award for the College of Education in 2002 and again in 2005. Further, she has received the Mortar Board Recognition for Teaching Excellence in 1999, 2001 and 2005.
However, Dr. Taylor is probably best known for her work with hearing loss among Nebraska’s farmers. Her research showed that 78 percent of Nebraskans working in agriculture suffer irreversible hearing loss. She and her students have consistently provided hearing conservation counseling to farmers and ranchers each September at Husker Harvest Days.
Through Dr. Taylor’s grant writing efforts, she was successful in securing the necessary finances to purchase more than $126,000 worth of specialized equipment used for training UNK students in the latest technologies available for speech and hearing.
A member of the graduate faculty of the University of Nebraska since 1997, she has directed numerous graduate theses, served on thesis committees, and has directed graduate and undergraduate student research projects not related to thesis work.
Since 1997, she has been a member of the Graduate Council, serving on the Executive Graduate Council since 2002. In addition, she has been a member of the Research Services Council 1997-2000.
Dr. Taylor will succeed Dr. Ken Nikels, who is retiring from the position of dean of Graduate Studies and Research.