Tracey Taylor joins the OUWB Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Microbiology professor Tracey Taylor is named assistant dean of OUWB’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Courtesy of Oakland University

Microbiology professor Tracey Taylor is named assistant dean of OUWB’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Katelyn Hill, Staff Reporter

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) has added a micro professor to a macro role. 

Tracey Taylor, microbiology professor, has joined the OUWB’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion as an assistant dean.

The Canada native said she is hoping to make a big change in the world of diversity and inclusion and to learn more about being an assistant dean.

“It’s interesting to learn more ‘big picture’ issues and what’s going on that’s great and what we need to work on that’s going on in the school,” she said.

Taylor is one of the two new assistant deans, the other being Robert McClowry, an assistant professor in Family Medicine and Community Health. The reason for expansion: helping the growing level of students, staff and faculty.

“Everyone wants the same thing. Everyone wants more diversity and inclusion,” she said. “We want to make sure that everyone feels included once they’re here.” 

For Taylor, the biggest challenge of this new position is going to be that it isn’t what she has studied her whole life.

“I feel like I need to read more about it and educate myself,” she said. “I want to build myself up to be an expert in it.”

She is, however, an expert in microbiology.

Taylor completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Calgary, her doctorate at the University of Western Ontario and her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta.

She taught at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences for 10 years before coming to Oakland University in August 2014.

“Especially during my master’s, I did a lot of teaching and I loved teaching,” she said. “ I didn’t want to end up in a traditional academic teaching environment where teaching is something you have to do, not something you do because you love it.”

After coming to OU, Taylor said she has been offered many leadership opportunities such as serving as vice chair of the OUWB Department of Foundational Medical Studies, a position she held from January 2018 until August 2019.

Part of what sparked her interest to join the Office of Diversity and Inclusion was her upbringing in Calgary, Alberta.

She said growing up where she did, she saw much more diversity than she has seen since moving to the United States.

“Half my class was not originally Canadian. A lot of them had relatives at home that didn’t speak English,” she said. “Being in Canada, we all learned French, so it didn’t stand out at all that everyone was speaking different languages.”

After moving to Kansas City, she noticed that people of different backgrounds tended to separate themselves into groups, which was unlike what she had grown up with in Canada. 

When she came to OUWB, there was already a strong Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Because of this, there were educational opportunities where she learned more about American history and even took unconscious bias training. 

Since Taylor became assistant dean, the office has started offering open office hours for faculty, staff and students which Taylor hosts on campus.