By FELLEY LAWSON | OBU News Bureau
Dr. Caroline B. Taylor, professor of music and interim chair of the Division of Music at Ouachita Baptist University, has been named dean of Ouachita’s School of Fine Arts. She will provide leadership starting June 2023 to the school’s divisions of and Applied Arts in pursuing their goal of producing artists and scholars who integrate their intellect and faith with their art, and their art with their worldview.
“I am thrilled to be appointed the next School of Fine Arts dean and excited to be in a position to continue the long-held tradition of excellence the arts have always held at Ouachita,” said Taylor, who has served since July as Division of Music interim chair. “I want to ensure that all students at Ouachita, regardless of their major, have the opportunity to experience and stay involved in the Arts during their time here.”
She added, “I hope to provide opportunities for increased visibility of the arts at Ouachita within our community and across the region. I’m looking forward to even more communication with our alumni and hope to continue to improve existing degrees while exploring new possibilities.”
“As interim Division of Music chair, Dr. Taylor has demonstrated the ability to think creatively and to engage with and listen to others, which is an important part of effective leadership,” said Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president. “Just as she has done in the classroom, as dean she will uphold Ouachita’s commitment to personal investment in the lives of students and to fostering a love of God and a love of learning.”
Taylor is a native of Petit Jean Mountain, Ark. At the University of Central Arkansas, she earned a Bachelor of Music Education with high honors from the Department of Music and was a magna cum laude graduate of the Honors College. She earned a Master of Music degree in woodwinds performance and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance at the University of Georgia. Taylor taught at Eastern New Mexico University from 1993 until 1998, when she joined the SOFA faculty at Ouachita as an associate professor of music; she was named professor of music in 2005 and Department of Applied Music chair in 2018.
“I knew from my freshman year of college that I wanted to teach music at a small liberal arts college,” Taylor recalled. “Teaching and working with young adults is simply what I am called to do; it is incredibly rewarding, enjoyable and challenging. Students each have their own story to tell. It’s my job to serve as a role model and to prepare them for lives of meaningful work.”
In addition to administrative duties such as recruiting students, managing personnel and overseeing strategic planning for curriculum development, Taylor teaches Applied Saxophone, Clarinet, Oboe and Bassoon and Woodwind Methods I and II. She also coaches several of Ouachita’s woodwind chamber ensembles.
“Dr. Taylor has served Ouachita students for more than two decades as a Christ-centered faculty member and servant leader,” said Dr. Justin K. Hardin, vice president of academic affairs, dean of interdisciplinary studies and professor of biblical studies at Ouachita. “She has a wonderful gift for building innovative teams, empowering faculty and students and implementing creative solutions to current challenges. I am thrilled she is stepping into this new role as one of Ouachita’s six academic deans.”
Taylor is a performing artist for Yamaha Corp. and a founding member of the Arkansas Symphony Quartet; she has performed frequently at the World Saxophone Congress, the North American Saxophone Alliance, the Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, the College Music Society and the Hawaii International Conference on the Arts & Humanities in Waikiki Beach. She has recorded a collection titled “The LYNX Duo: Music for Saxophone & Percussion”; her recording of Patrick Houlihan’s “Snoqualmie Passages” is included on “Ascend” from the Society of Composers.
Taylor’s husband of 22 years, Doug Taylor, retired recently as an IT manager at Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The Taylors have two daughters, McKenna and Madeline, and are members of First Baptist Church, Arkadelphia.