Tim Taylor named new UM-Dearborn registrar
The former UM-Ann Arbor assistant registrar brings his slate of soft skills to campus
Tim Taylor says people are often “entertained” by his eclectic resume. Before he carved out a career path through registrar's offices at Concordia University, UM-Ann Arbor and now UM-Dearborn, his work life included owning a couple Subway restaurants, coaching both high school and college baseball, managing a local oil change chain and leading bus tours for senior citizens.
He credits his tour guide gig, by the way, for his ability to keep a cool head in a crisis: “Just about anything can—and does—go wrong on a bus tour,” Taylor said, laughing. “And you learn a lot about yourself, and a lot about people.”
Taylor, who started his new role as university registrar earlier this month, is indeed a people person. When asked why he decided to make the leap to UM-Dearborn, he cited a passion for his new campus’ student-focused mission.
“In preparation for my interviews, I looked at the stats, and I was pretty stunned by some of them: Ninety-six percent of undergraduate students are in-state, about a quarter are students of color and almost half are first-generation college students. Clearly, this is a place where there are a lot of important things going on—where lives are changing—and I wanted to play a part in it.”
As registrar, Taylor will oversee a diverse office that manages everything from record keeping, to enforcement of academic policy, to getting students enrolled and registered for classes. He’s particularly interested in figuring out creative ways in which the registrar’s office can leverage its expertise to assist the university’s push to boost graduation and retention rates.
But above all, he wants his team to stay focused on the human beings behind all the records, data and policies that comprise the day-to-day. He still, for example, remembers a former Concordia student, who, when facing academic probation, was given a chance to turn things around. Rather than being expelled, the student was allowed to continue his studies, while getting guidance via regular check-ins with advisers, including then-registrar Taylor.
“He got back on track, graduated, and today he’s a teacher and basketball coach,” Taylor said. “He still stays in touch and thanks me regularly—even though he was the one who pulled himself out of the fire. But having someone count you among the people who helped change their life is something that sticks with you.”
Expect Taylor to bring that same people-centered approach to the leadership of his own team—complete, he says, with occasional “coach-’em-up”-style pep talks and a penchant for “terrible puns.”
“I like to keep the mood light so people stay loose and connected to what they do,” Taylor said. “When you’re asking people to spend half their waking hours at work, I think that’s important. It’s part of a leader’s role in giving people what they need to succeed.”