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Baishakhi Taylor Named Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life

News of Note

Baishakhi Taylor

Published April 10, 2020

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney today announced the appointment of Baishakhi Taylor as the dean of the college and vice president for campus life effective July 1, 2020.

Taylor is currently the vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. In her current role, Taylor serves as the chief student affairs officer on the president’s cabinet, overseeing residential life, judicial affairs, health and wellness education, student activities, orientation and spiritual and religious life. She is also an assistant professor in gender, sexuality and feminist studies and a faculty mentor for Middlebury’s BOLD Women’s Leadership Program. During her tenure at Middlebury, Taylor co-led the Alliance for Inclusive Middlebury, a presidential committee charged with developing a strategic plan for making inclusion a priority for the institution.

“Baishakhi is a strategic leader and program builder with a passion for working with students,” wrote McCartney in her letter to campus announcing Taylor’s appointment. “Her commitment to inclusion and her scholarship on gender, sexuality and feminist studies are clearly aligned with Smith’s core values.”

In her new role at Smith, Taylor will report directly to the president. She will serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and oversee a variety of offices that work collaboratively to ensure students are successful during their time at Smith. Specifically, she will have responsibility for academic advising, international students, student affairs, residential life, student engagement, health and counseling services, athletics, career services and disability services. She will also oversee several centers, including the Jandon Center for Community Engagement, the Lazarus Center for Career Development, the Lewis Global Studies Center, and the Wurtele Center for Leadership. 

“I am honored and excited to join the Smith community,” said Taylor. “I came to the United States in 2000 to start a graduate degree in Women’s Studies. Smith alumnae like Betty Friedan ’42 and Gloria Steinem ’56 have influenced my professional and personal journey for more than two decades. I’m looking forward to meeting—and supporting—the students who will continue the tradition of women leading change at Smith College.”

Prior to her work at Middlebury, Taylor served as the associate dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University and the program director of DukeEngage-Kolkata. She was also a member of the faculty at the Duke Center for South Asian Studies and Program in Education. 

Taylor holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Kentucky, a M.A. in women’s studies from the University of Northern Iowa and a M.A. and B.A. in comparative literature from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India. 

Taylor succeeds Susan Etheredge ’77, who has served as dean of the college and vice president for campus life since 2017.