Dedication and Creativity Key as Virginia Taylor Lands VP Position at Genesee

In the end, Genesee Community College leaders didn’t need to look very far to find their next Vice President of Student and Enrollment Services.

The college’s search committee interviewed several high-caliber candidates from across the nation before turning to one of its own, Virginia “Ginny” Taylor, to succeed George W. Walker, who is retiring after 20 years of service.

“Ginny’s broad experience, her insight and creativity, and her dedication to the community college movement in general and Genesee Community College in particular, made her the best person for this challenging position,” according to President Stuart Steiner.

Dr. Taylor, 49, is a lifelong Western New Yorker who has compiled an impressive resume since 1980 while providing direct services to students, coordinating programs, directing and supervising small departments and managing a large campus unit.

The Lyndonville resident advances to her new position – she has served as Dean of Enrollment Management at Genesee since 1999 – on July 24. A forward thinker who embraces a collaborative management philosophy, Dr. Taylor has implemented programs and initiatives resulting in a 20 percent increase in enrollment at Genesee since 2000.

In late 2004, Community College Week, a Fairfax, Va.-based professional periodical, ranked Genesee Community College as the eighth fastest growing mid-sized community college in the United States.

“GCC actually is bigger than it should be,” Dr. Taylor said. “We just reinvent and are very innovative in our approach to recruiting students. We have the freedom to try new things. Being a part of a team that has been able to increase enrollment is a big thrill for me.”

Dr. Taylor came to Genesee seven years ago after holding a variety of positions at Niagara County Community College. Prior to that, she was a financial aid counselor at Niagara University.

She holds an A.A. degree from Niagara County Community College and B.A. and M.S. degrees from Niagara University. In June 2004, she earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy and higher education administration from the University of Buffalo. She said her continuing education and her experience working with students have served her well as an enrollment specialist.

“I’ve always been one to provide direct student services; that is something that I really love. The (Ph.D.) program at UB is very practitioner-oriented and it has given me the skills to take the next step.”

As Vice President of Student and Enrollment Services, Dr. Taylor will be responsible for the leadership of non-instructional student services and co-curricular activities. Her duties include oversight of student activities programming, intercollegiate athletics, admissions and enrollment management, financial aid and veterans services, health services, child care, career and transfer counseling, academic advisement, the Adult Educational Opportunity Center, the Center for Academic Progress and student support services programs.

Dr. Taylor said she emphasizes the importance of conveying the message that “a college education will improve your quality of life.”

“Even a few courses can help,” she said. “College definitely is a place of opportunity. The more students who attend GCC mean more opportunities for community members.”

An active member in several community and civic organizations, Dr. Taylor said she is committed to improve the overall quality of life in the GLOW (Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming) region. As Dean of Enrollment Management, she has initiated new and returning student outreach programs, developed web-based tools for prospective students and has fostered a working relationship with high school counselors.

“Getting them to the door is the challenge,” she said. “Once they’re here, somebody will be there to help them. It is paramount that we help students move through to graduation. That’s our ‘Success to Graduation’ program. That degree is what the student will need down the road. When the promotional opportunity arises, he or she must have the credentials.”

Dr. Taylor also pointed to the need for the college to be accountable and will make sure the college evaluates and student learning outcomes and other pertinent data.

A Buffalo native, she and her husband, James, moved to Lyndonville about 15 years ago. She has a stepdaughter and a grandchild. She said she plans on staying in this area for awhile.

“I love this campus. I’m a Western New Yorker. No question, this is where my roots are. And we’re proud to let people know that a community college education is where it happens. This is where we as educators and our students can make a big difference.”