Professor profile: Jeff Taylor on politics, pedagogy

Emma Stoltzfus–Staff Writer

The door to professor Jeff Taylor’s office is adorned with several colorful pictures drawn by his children. Upon entering the office, the walls are covered with campaign signs and a large bookshelf fills the right side of the room. More crayon drawings make appearances around Taylor’s desk.

Taylor is the sole full-time political science professor at Dordt. His courses are included in both the CORE and political science programs and range from classes on Public Policy to Ancient & Medieval Political Thought.

Taylor first became interested in politics around the age of 10 or 11 when he had the opportunity to meet various candidates as they toured through Iowa. As a kid, he was also fascinated by history, and that meshed nicely with his interest in politics.

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When he is not teaching, Taylor spends time with his family, enjoys music and nature and writes books. He has published three books on politics over the course of the last twelve years. The first was a novel on the history and thought of the Democratic Party, the second a broader historical book that focused on concentrated power in government and states’ rights and the third a co-writer on how the political worldview of the singer Bob Dylan changed over his career.

“I’m a big Dylan fan,” Taylor said, regarding his third book. “So that one was really a pleasure to work on because I was writing on something I cared about for a long time and had a chance to work with my friend.”

He is currently working on a fourth book.

Taylor is a member of the Republican Party, but does not define himself by it.

“At heart, I am more of an independent. My first loyalty is to my principles, not to a party, and I choose to work through the Republican Party because I think it’s the best vehicle overall for my principles.”

In class, Taylor endeavors to teach in a way that encourages students to think for themselves and develop their own worldviews. He hopes students learn three things:

  1. Think it through, and be open to other ideas.
  2. Get your news from a variety of sources.
  3. Be grounded in Scripture

When asked his favorite part about teaching at Dordt, Taylor again had three points: Dordt takes its faith seriously, the students are sincere and respectful and the facilities are nice and well-maintained.

“There are a lot of good things about Dordt.” Taylor said. “So when students come to visit I can be genuinely enthused and hoping that each person who comes as a prospective student will end up here. Because it may not be the perfect fit for everybody, but I think generally speaking students are going to be happy here because it’s a good school.”

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