West Lafayette, IN | Certificate of Distinction: 2006
Bob Taylor is a professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue, where he has distinguished himself as a teacher, a counselor and an extension specialist in farm management. A native of New York, Taylor received his B. S. in 1956 from Cornell University. He received his graduate degrees at Purdue, earning an M.S. in 1959 and a Ph.D. in 1963, both in Agricultural Economics.
Taylor has spent his entire professional career as a member of the Purdue Agricultural Economics faculty. Since 1962 he has taught over 30,000 students. He lived in Brazil as part of Purdue’s international project at Vicosa and has taught farm management in Portuguese in both Brazil and Portugal. In his role as an extension specialist, he has helped numerous Indiana farm families with farm management issues that often involve sensitive interpersonal relationships. Understanding the complexities of combining business and family is his specialty, and his sensitive and caring manner provides the perfect platform for reaching these farm family business partners and helping them to become happier and more productive in their farming enterprises.
An engaging teacher with a dynamic delivery, Bob Taylor’s impact on students can be summed up in the sentence, “He reaches them.” One colleague said “he has a gift to make each situation a teachable moment and handles each of these with warmth.” All his nominators spoke to his ability to touch students where they are, and help them reach beyond that point to achieve their maximum potential. One nominator asked, “Why would I take time to write about a professor I had in class 33 years ago? Because Bob Taylor is one of those rare individuals who not only touched my life, but changed it forever.” As one of his many student mentoring activities, for many years Taylor has met weekly with students who are on academic probation, with the objective of helping them alter their approach to academic situations and giving them tools to change their behavior. A colleague reports that Taylor has a 100% success rate with these students remaining academically eligible and continuing their enrollment at Purdue. He is a faculty advisor to the Farm Management Club, where he has led a tour group to Brazil for the past several years during Spring Break, providing an international experience to many students who would not have considered traveling or studying abroad prior to their involvement with Taylor.
Taylor is a long-time volunteer at the Pioneer Farm and Home Show at the Indiana State Fair, and is a founding advisor of the Homesteaders, a student group to whom he teaches woodworking skills that they display at the show. He served on the board of directors of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association for 10 years (1994 to 2004), including a two-year term as President from 2000 to 2002. Taylor is an active member of Evangelical Covenant Church of Lafayette where he teaches a junior high Sunday School class.
Taylor’s many awards over the years include outstanding teacher awards from Purdue’s College of Agriculture (1970 and 1976), the Purdue student body (1970), Purdue University (1980), and two awards from the American Agricultural Economics Association (1970 and 1980). He has also been named Purdue’s Outstanding Counselor (1985), Outstanding Professor by Alpha Gamma Rho (1982), and an honorary member of Golden Key National Honor Society (1983). In 1991 he received the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence In Educational Service To Rural People of Indiana, and in 1999 Purdue named him as an inaugural member of its Book of Great Teachers. In 2001 the Purdue Alumni Association presented Taylor with the Special Boilermaker Award in recognition of his significant contributions to improving the quality of life and betterment of the educational experience for Purdue students. In 2004, he received the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association’s Career Award and was named a Fellow of the Purdue Teaching Academy.