Candidate for Treasurer: Phillip Taylor

Phillip Taylor

PhD. 1981, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, U.S.A. Master’s, 1977, Biological Sciences California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, U.S.A. Bachelor’s with Honors, 1974, Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, U.S.A.


Biographical Information

Phillip TaylorI am the Associate Dean for Research Advancement at the University of Southern California, Dornsife College. I work closely with faculty in the natural, social sciences, and the humanities to attract support for research and project, from early-career faculty awards to large interdisciplinary research centers (e.g., NSF STC's). My office is responsible for identifying funding opportunities for research, building faculty awareness, and leading workshops on proposals. I also work across the Dornsife College, and with the Office of the Provost, to develop nominations for prestigious awards and accolades amongst the faculty (humanities and sciences): national, international, and society-based.

I'm a marine coastal ecologist and my academic credentials are seen above. I currently serve on the Board of Directors, and as Treasurer for the ALSO, and on the Board of Trustees, and as Treasurer for the California Ocean Sciences Trust.

Before joining USC, I was a senior executive at the National Science Foundation as Head of the Ocean Section (Chemical, Physical and Biological Oceanography, Long-Term Ecological Research; at the time a budget of ~$110 M), and before that the Director of the NSF’s Biological Oceanography Program for many years. I have a deep understanding of the NSF, and considerable experience with other federal agencies, having formulated interdisciplinary/interagency programs that included NASA, NOAA, EPA, USDA and the Office of Naval Research. I worked with the ocean science community, and other Federal Agencies, to build national and international, ocean and environmental sciences research programs on ocean ecosystems, climate change, harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification, marine biotechnology and sustainability. I led the Geosciences into the NSF’s heralded Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER), helped to formulate the Sustainability portfolio, and led the development of the Ocean Sciences Broadening Participation programs (for under-represented minorities and women scientists).

Candidate Statement

I have been truly delighted and honored to serve on the ASLO Board and as the ASLO Treasurer (the financial “lead”) for several years, and I am very committed to helping our organization for one additional term.
The Board has made very important financial progress over the past five years, starting from the strong foundation recommended with the strategic planning efforts begun in 2012, and going far beyond this guidance. Much of my attention has been aimed at attaining goals in the strategic plan pertaining to financial well-being of our scientific society, as well as targeting many additional improvements for the Board to consider for implementation. What have we done recently?

The Board has enhanced the financial health and security of ASLO through multifaceted attention to the ASLO operations, publishing, programs and investments, as well as the establishment of practices to integrate these four major sectors. We have grown ASLO programs (e.g., international, student, early-career), the ASLO executive offices, and the ASLO publishing efforts, and we continue to have very successful conferences alone and with partners; all of this in a financially strong and sustainable fashion. We have created ASLO’s unique Raelyn Cole Editorial Fellowship Program with the help of the Cole family’s donations and the Board’s allocation of investment funds. Our publishing partnership with Wiley has resulted in a new journal (L&O Letters), the growing size and impact of our overall publication efforts, while yielding better financial underpinnings and net results for ASLO. The above, of course, was accomplished working with our Executive Director, Director of Science and Communication and Schneider Group.

The Board has diversified and clearly articulated to our membership the specific roles for our investment portfolio components. Our Long-Term Fund is the primary financial reserve (recommended for all non-profits), keeping in reserve an amount to weather potential tough financial times in order to sustain operations, and also used as a source from which we pay for those infrequent and significant expenses that cannot be supported in the yearly budget for routine operations (e.g., necessary upgrades and modernization to ASLO’s management, information and communication systems). If we need funds to meet short-term shortfalls in operations, we can transfer from the Long-Term Fund, and in turn when we have some net revenues more that the short-term needs, we can augment the Long-Term Fund. The Raelyn Cole Fellowship Fund is a bona fide, small, endowment of which the proceeds are intended to support the ASLO editorial fellowship program. Finally, our ASLO Futures Fund was created with the idea of eventually supporting, via the proceeds from these investments, our important discretionary programmatic activities to foster a strong future for ASLO (e.g., international, student, and early-career activities; and other initiatives for the membership).

As your Treasurer, I’ve been instrumental in developing clearer and simpler financial budgeting and reporting for the Board to more easily digest, in the two recent external audits of ALSO’s financial activities, and in so many other matters. With (a) significant discussions about changes in the financial support of scientific publications, (b) dialogue ensuing on the nature of scientific conferences in a environmental sustainability context, and (c) a flat-to-slightly declining membership fidelity, we see financial risks to ASLO, yet we are confident of our strength to buffer perturbations to our financial health.

There are matters on my mind for improvements at ASLO, and I’m excited to help the Board build an ever stronger future in support of our members and our science.

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