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Colette Taylor, EdD

Program Director

Education Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Empowering Leaders to Collaborate

Colette Taylor, EdD, is changing how leadership is taught and practiced. The program director for Seattle University’s College of Education Doctorate in Educational Leadership (EDLR) is encouraging students from the corporate, nonprofit, health care and educational sectors to break down silos and collaborate to address societal issues.

“Leadership to me is about community,” Taylor says.

Taylor’s students are director- and executive-level professionals committed to promoting social justice and equity, particularly for historically underrepresented groups, within their organizations. They are college professors, hospital directors of training and development, executive directors of nonprofits, corporate human resources directors, superintendents, university deans and high-tech industry representatives.

For her part, Taylor says two life experiences shaped her for this role. Before graduating from the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa, Fla., Taylor lived in 48 states because of her father’s military career.

“Growing up I was surrounded by diverse populations. Coupled with my high school education, I draw upon being able to understand myself in relation to other people,” she says. “I know everybody comes with a different story that impacts their leadership journey.”

The three-year EDLR program requires students to take a personal inventory of their leadership skills before examining how they can influence an organization’s ability to achieve their equitable leadership goals. The reason? Personal biases can “frame their perception of leadership,” Taylor says.

During the organizational leadership courses of the program, student teams collaborate with real-world community partners to identify opportunities for social change within their organizations, thereby giving students practical experience and insights.

Graduates often go on to impact their companies and institutions at both a professional and personal level, Taylor says.

“Our students are going into the world with a different perspective of what leadership is about,” she says. “A lot of our grads have been asked to make change in organizations as it relates to diversity and inclusion. They know how to do this and understand that they can start small. It doesn’t happen overnight. But, it can happen.”