2022 Best Undergraduate Professors: Jan Taylor, Miami University, Farmer School of Business

Jan Taylor
Miami University, Farmer School of Business

“Jan Taylor is truly one of a kind. She somehow seamlessly blends the ability to inform you, inspire you, be your friend, and even kick you in the butt when you need or deserve it. No Miami professor had as much impact on my career, and she is the first one I see out anytime I’m back ‘home’ in Oxford!” – Kyle Schlegel, former student

Jan Taylor, 72, is Senior Lecturer at Miami University, Farmer School of Business.

She is the recipient of the highest teaching award from Miami University, the William Holmes McGuffey Award given by the Alumni Association. She is also the winner of the Richard K. Smucker Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Clinical Faculty Member, the Outstanding Faculty Award from Honors College and the Outstanding Professor Award from the Associated Student Government.

Taylor is director of the Farmer School of Business Honors and Scholars Program, and she has developed and taught undergraduate, graduate, and online courses at Miami since 1986. She has been nominated 12 times for the Associated Student Government Outstanding Professor and is winner of the Excellence in Career Development Award, among numerous other teaching awards.


At current institution since what year? 1986
Education: BA from Bucknell University; English and Art History; MBA from the University of Rhode Island
List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Honors Marketing Principles, Developing Customer Insights, Honors Marketing Capstone


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was asked to teach an evening class at American University while I was on maternity leave from the Marriott Corporation. I didn’t go back to my full time job. I found teaching to be exhilarating and rewarding.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… a therapist. I’m a good listener.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? Knowing when to be understanding and when to kick butt. I try to be available to my students to discuss academic and personal issues, if needed, because being a college student today is very stressful, and many times students just need someone to listen. I was raised with the mantra “suck it up and move on.” I tell this to my students on day one, but that doesn’t mean I’m not empathetic, and they know that.

One word that describes my first time teaching: intellectually stimulating when they asked questions and I had to really think about the issue. It’s what I love most about teaching.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: this doesn’t just pertain to business school teaching, but storytelling may be one of the most important things teachers do. It gives the concepts context and relevance and it helps students remember.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I learn from them every day. They keep me relevant.

What is most challenging? Understanding the different values today’s students have. I find myself comparing them to me at their age. They are so much brighter and determined. I just wanted to graduate from college, whereas, they are more focused and GPA is so very important to them because it has to be. I have to stop myself from saying “breathe and relax.”

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: determined/hard-working

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: extremely bright but hasn’t learned that hard work pays off.

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…fair


What are your hobbies? reading, spending time with grandchildren and attending their sporting events

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Europe, particularly Italy, the beach and mountains.

Favorite book(s):Pride and Prejudice – the satire is amazing and so understated. I think it is so important for a society to be able to make fun of themselves and Jane Austen does it beautifully.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? “A League of Their Own” My dad played major league baseball for a short time and I grew up loving baseball. This movie speaks to my love for the game and my feminist side. Best line EVER – “There is no crying in baseball.” I’ve modified that and said it to my daughters and granddaughters countless times.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Anything Motown. I love to dance


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… experiential learning with companies as clients

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at…recruiting undergraduate students. They don’t understand that many students have multiple offers and the students are judging the company based on the interaction they have with the recruiters. If the recruiter doesn’t respond to them or get back to them in a timely manner, that reflects on the company and students will turn down offers based on issues like that. Company culture is very important to today’s college students.

I’m grateful for… my dad who understood the importance of women having a college education in a time period when most parents believed their daughters would get married, have a family and become a stay-at-home mom. He changed the trajectory of my life.


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