Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor
White Residential College welcomes new co-college heads that will lead the school of sharks through the year.
The Office of Student Affairs appointed Justin Taylor and Beth Donovan, assistant professors in the department of mathematics and statistics, to the position a few days before Great Beginnings kicked off.
Neither Taylor nor Donovan have tenure, previously a requirement for being a college head, but both were highly involved in Hester Residential College and won the Hester faculty member of the year award previous to the appointment.
Taylor said he is highly involved in the residential college system because it makes a difference in the lives of students.
“They see a professor that is a real person,” Taylor said.
“It makes a big impact doing the things that seem small to us,” Donovan said.
Taylor said Kenny Fister, Hester Residential College head, waited to see if he could find someone who was qualified with tenure before appointing both Taylor and Donovan to the position.
Donovan and Taylor are younger than most college heads and have been working at the university for a few years, an attribute Sam Maue, White Residential College Council vice president and the college head assistant, said will be a good for the college.
“They are younger so I think they can relate to the students,” Maue, senior from St. Peters, Missouri, said.
Residents of White are anticipating changes but are excited about what is to come, Maue said. He said the residential college will have the opportunity to have more programming tailored to student interests based on the experience and involvement of Taylor and Donovan.
“We don’t know what it’s going to be so all we can do is be excited,” Maue said.
Typically, there is only one college head per residential college, making this appointment noteworthy regarding the impact on the community.
“I think having both a male and female college head will be very helpful,” Donovan said. “I think it’s helping us in building a community.”
Taylor and Donovan said the transition has been smooth despite having to jump in immediately.
“We have a great RD to work with,” Donovan said. “He is on top of everything, runs our building very well, has a great rapport with our RAs, he is great at communicating with us…life couldn’t be easier given the circumstances.”
Taylor and Donovan said they see the residential college as a family that you join just by showing up on move-in day, and they see themselves as “cool parents.”
About a month previous to their appointment, Taylor and Donovan got married.
“We called my parents and said ‘we are giving you like 350 grandkids,’” Donovan said.