New MSU faculty member honored by national body

Contact: Paige Watson

Leonard Taylor Jr. (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education is honoring a newly arrived College of Education faculty member at Mississippi State.

Leonard D. Taylor Jr., an assistant professor in the university’s educational leadership department, is receiving the organization’s 2017 Dissertation of the Year Award.

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native, Taylor came to Starkville prior to the fall semester after receiving a doctorate from the University of Minnesota in organizational leadership and policy development. He also holds two degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

His research is focused on how higher education administrators, faculty and staff members utilize data and promising practices to enhance student success and encourage more astute consumption of knowledge to help improve quality, quantity and diversity of U.S. graduates.

“This recognition is humbling and affirmative that I’m in the right place doing what I’m called to do,” Taylor said.

With offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, AABHE works to advance the status of members at every higher education level. In addition to faculty, it provides administrators, practitioners and graduate students with continuing opportunities to collaborate and network, both nationally and internationally. 

As part of the award, Taylor has been invited to share his research at the association’s national convention taking place in Raleigh March 23-25. “Pathways to Success in Higher Education: Transforming Lives through Education, Equity and Social Justice” is this year’s theme.

Taylor said the opportunity to share the results of his academic investigation should provide “valuable exposure” on a national level for him, the College of Education and MSU.

For more about the AABHE, visit

Complete information about MSU’s educational leadership department is found at

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