This is the 12th installment of a yearlong series about women at Georgia Tech. See the full series.
Bonnie Taylor is associate dean of students and director of the Office of Student Integrity in the Division of Student Life. People often introduce her and her team by saying, “She has one of the most difficult and worst jobs on campus.”
“If it was, I wouldn’t be here every day,” she said. “I have one of the best jobs. I confront situations, resolve complex issues, and have conversations that a lot of people don’t want to have. Someone has to do it, and I happen to be good at it.”
Taylor talks about her role on campus and what it means to her.
Taylor leads a five-person team and describes Student Integrity as community accountability and community responsibility — for the academic integrity and value of the Georgia Tech degree and for the safety and security of the campus and community.
“Our charge is not only to enforce the code of conduct and the academic honor code, but also to make sure our campus community is safe and secure,” she said. “And that we’re holding people accountable for their behavior, which occasionally includes separating people from the Institute when we need to.”
As director, Taylor said she doesn’t get to interact with students as much as she would like. But as an associate dean, she helps students who have questions, need guidance, or exhibit problematic behavior, such as substance use.
“We always want to get to the root of the issue so we can help students find healthier alternatives to substance use. We often pair up with the Counseling Center to help students in crisis so they can get the resources they need,” she said.
Taylor believes that the work of student conduct professionals is not widely understood.
“One misperception among the campus community is that Student Integrity is ‘the place you go when you’re in trouble.’ Yes, we are responsible for accountability,” she said. “But the other piece is educating students about their behavior and the impact of their behavior on the community.”
She wants to empower students to hold each other accountable because the safety and security of the campus depends on everyone paying attention and speaking up when something is amiss.
“Another huge misperception is that all we do is case management — managing incident referrals. We have professionally trained, credentialed, and dedicated student affairs professionals who happen to specialize in student conduct. We want to make sure students have the best educational experience possible. The most rewarding times for our staff are having one-on-one conversations with students and watching those students flourish.”