When she arrived at Montclair State more than 35 years ago, Professor Marilyn Tayler, the coordinator of the Jurisprudence Program and the University’s pre-law advisor, didn’t start in the Department of Political Science and Law. “I came to Montclair State in 1975 as an assistant professor of Spanish,” she says, “a newly minted PhD specializing in Latin American Literature.”
Since then, she earned a JD from Seton Hall University and has taught more than 20 different undergraduate and graduate courses—often developing the courses herself—and advised students in Spanish, paralegal studies, legal studies, justice studies, political science jurisprudence and pre-law. Tayler takes her role as advisor very seriously: “Advising, to me, has always meant ‘making a difference’—motivating, encouraging, inspiring and challenging students to do and be their very best.”
Tayler’s dedication to advising and mentoring has made a difference in the lives countless former students. “She always makes herself available to any student who needs guidance and gives individualized attention to everyone,” says Dorothy Kenney ’09, a former student who recently graduated from Rutgers Law School. “I am happy to call Dr. Tayler not only a mentor but a true friend as well.”
Alireza “Ali” Abedin ’09 who graduated from Rutgers Law School with Kenney agrees: “She is a mentor in the truest sense of the word, and her guidance and counseling surely does not end once her ‘kids’ graduate. To say that she cares is an understatement.”
Tayler’s exemplary commitment to her teaching and advising has not gone unnoticed by the University either. She has received many awards from Montclair State including the Outstanding Academic Advising Award (2010), the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Recognition Award for Teaching (2008), the University’s Distinguished Teacher Award (2005), the University’s Outstanding Faculty Award (1995), the Student Government Association Excellence in Education Award (1995), the Educational Opportunity Fund Service Award (1986 and 1989) and Montclair State Merit Awards (1982 and 1987).
“I consider student mentoring to be a fundamental aspect of my role as a teacher,” says Tayler. “That one-to-one relationship…often endures for many years after the student leaves my classes. Helping students to achieve their professional and personal goals has always been a high priority for me.”
As one of the many students that Tayler has taught and mentored, Kenney knows this first hand: “Dr. Tayler not only taught me the law, but also imparted an appreciation of how and why it applied in the real world,” she says. “She has been instrumental in shaping my education and career and I will be forever grateful.”