SMHS Faculty & Staff Spotlight
SMHS Faculty & Staff Spotlight
CFE (Center for Faculty Excellence)

GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences Center for Faculty Excellence 

January 2024 Staff Spotlight

Excellence in teaching & learning, scholarly endeavors, and leadership are all around us at SMHS. The Center for Faculty Excellence would like to Spotlight our faculty and staff contributions to SMHS, George Washington University, and beyond. Each month we will spotlight faculty or staff from across SMHS, MFA, and Children's. We want to thank our highlighted members for sharing with us their advice and perspectives!
SMHS Center for Faculty Excellence

- SMHS Center for Faculty Excellence
Tayla Beckles, Program Associate, Center for Faculty Excellence
Join the CFE as we highlight Tayla Beckles, who discusses her role as the Program Associate of the Center for Faculty Excellence. Tayla is an integral part of all of the CFE’s operations and our four main pillars. Tayla is also one of the 2024 Academic Medical Enterprise Staff Excellence Award winners!


Tayla Beckles, is the Program Associate for the Center for Faculty Excellence within GWSMHS, serving as the primary point of contact for the CFE, and overseeing the coordination of all programming, events, and initiatives. She is originally from Delaware and graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Marketing in 2021. While at UD, she enjoyed fully immersing herself in campus life, as an active member of the university marketing club, the university’s radio station 91.3 WVUD, and television network, serving on the leadership committees of all these clubs. Before coming to GW, Tayla worked in banking as a management associate. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Human Resource Management at GWSB. In her free time, she enjoys painting, writing poetry, and listening to music.

Interview Q/A

How long have you been at GWSMHS? What drew you to your current position?
Tayla: I've been part of GWSMHS since March 2022, which is almost two years now. I was drawn to this position because I was interested in working in academia and specifically within higher education. For me, the academic environment has always been one that I enjoyed because it is a place that promotes the development of people. I’ve had various experiences working in the academic setting, and have been able to provide creative ways to promote and coordinate programming and events.

Specifically, I was interested in this role because it afforded me the opportunity to gain a perspective on learning and development for educators. I found this to be a very unique aspect of the CFE and gave me a great opportunity to be a part of the team. Working in the center, I get first-hand knowledge on the importance of promoting the continued educational development of teachers, and I find that to be so valuable and impactful!
What are your major responsibilities here at GW? What programs or initiatives do you support or lead?

Tayla: My role is the Program Associate for the CFE. The CFE supports faculty development in four major areas: teaching and learning, education research, career development, and leadership. My role as the Program Associate is to lead the coordination and support for all our initiatives of the center and manage the operations internally. I work one-on-one with the respective Associate Directors in those pillars as well as with the Director of the CFE, Dr. Dee Dee Herrmann. 

In this role, I coordinate program planning, whether that is creating new programming or adding on to existing programs, which includes anything from designing marketing efforts and promoting the advertising of the programs, assisting the day of functions of coordinating catering and speaker arrangements, communicating deadlines, to helping with our internal evaluation process. I also manage the participating faculty, serving as the main point of contact for the center for all programming. If you’ve gotten an email or reminder from the CFE, it's probably been from me! 

In addition to these duties, I oversee the budget, manage scheduling for the Director and Associate Directors of the CFE, curate the monthly newsletter, assist in our Faculty (and now Staff) Spotlight Series, and provide website updates. I coordinate the collaboration of all pillars and often provide creative ideas to enhance offerings and impact. I also provide coordination and promotion for the Clara Bliss Hinds Society monthly meetings and lead the coordination of their annual event in the Spring.

Teaching & Learning
Tayla: Within the Teaching and Learning pillar of the CFE, I work closely with Dr. Kirsten Brown as well as Dr. Dee Dee Herrmann to provide support for our departmental and divisional workshops, such as Teaching on the Fly and Feedback That Sticks, our two most popular workshops. This pillar also includes our Peer Assessment of Teaching and our Teaching Essentials Workshops Series.
Career Development
Tayla: In this pillar, I work closely again with Dr. Kirsten Brown to run a series of in-person workshops (e.g. Early and Mid Career Faculty Development) that help faculty think about career progression and promotion. We also offer resources, such as our Elevating Others With Your Words Seminar Series, that provide faculty with knowledge on enhancing their careers.
Education Research
Tayla: Within this pillar, I work closely with Drs. Pat Latham, Tony Artino, and Zareen Zaidi to promote initiatives around education research and scholarship. This includes the Generating Scholarship workshops as well as the scholarly writing program. I coordinate the promotion of our Academy of Education Scholars meetings and events. We facilitate internal and external speakers and various skill-building sessions throughout the year. As part of my role, I provide administrative support for the Education Research Grants, including coordinating the review process and tracking the budget and progress reports.
Tayla: I work closely with Dr. Ellen Goldman in this pillar to support the Fundamentals of Leadership Program. This is an 8-month program that allows faculty and staff to meet once a month to work on a work-related project. I provide administrative support for this program and coordinate the end-of-year celebration and presentation of projects.
What is your favorite part of teaching at SMHS?

Tayla: Overall SMHS is an amazing place to be. I have always been fascinated by the institution's work. My favorite part of working here is that, as an institution, there is something for everyone. When working with faculty and other staff members inside and outside the CFE, I find it fascinating to hear what people are working on and participating in. Being in an environment geared towards constantly learning and working to improve oneself is wonderful.
What about the future of the Center for Faculty Excellence excites you?
Tayla: There are many exciting things on the horizon for the CFE. As a team, we have some exceptional people who bring substantial experience and knowledge in their individual areas of expertise. What makes it such a special place is that, as a center, we are constantly seeking to identify ways to provide excellent support to faculty, enhance current programming, and develop new ones. We always have development at the forefront of our minds and in our daily operations and work, and we'll continue to be impactful in the lives of faculty, our residents, trainees, and, ultimately, students.
You were recently awarded the Bicentennial Academic Medical Enterprise Staff Excellence Award Congratulations!

Can you tell us a little more about the award? How were you nominated? Anything about the process that you can share?

Tayla: It is truly an honor to be awarded the Academic Medical Enterprise Staff Excellence Award! I was nominated by my colleagues within the CFE for this award and am super grateful to be recognized in this way. The award recognizes staff within the Academic Medical Enterprise who uphold the institution's mission through their outstanding performance. My colleagues all wrote exceptional letters of recommendation for me to be nominated for this award, and I am grateful that they considered me for this. 

You’re also pursuing a graduate degree while you work. Can you tell us more about your program and coursework?  What classes are you taking? What are you learning that you hope to implement in your job?

Tayla: Yes, I am in the Masters in Human Resource (HR) Management Program at the GW School of Business. This program provides insight into the role of HR within an organization and team. The program has taught me how HR aids organizations to meet goals and identify ways to improve. This semester I am taking courses regarding leading teams within the virtual environment and measuring performance and development. Overall the program allows me to explore both the theoretical and practical approaches of HR that all seek to understand the ‘why’ behind strategies that lead, develop, and create an institution's culture and people. 

In many ways, this program has helped me enhance my role in the center, by thinking of ways to increase engagement for the CFE through data analysis, tracking, and organization.
What impact do you hope your efforts will have on colleagues and peers?

Tayla: In addition to its impact on my colleagues in the center, I hope it also impacts other staff to explore the opportunities and expand on curiosities within their roles. I want everyone to identify ways to make their role their own and display their skills and talents in those roles because they all have a profound impact on the entire institution.
How does this spotlight/recognition make you feel?
Tayla: It feels great to be recognized in this way. I am typically a very humble person and naturally lean more into the organizational side of things, ensuring things function seamlessly in the background, but I appreciate the opportunity to share about my role in the center and and journey thus far.
What is one thing that keeps you motivated during the day?
Tayla: A few things keep me motivated- First is my family, who are the foundation for the person I am today. Their strong work ethic was instilled in me from a very early age, and that continues to inspire and push me to be the best version of myself every day. My colleagues in the CFE also motivate me; they have supported my professional development and encouraged me to be creative and help develop ideas and bring them to fruition. I feel that I've grown so much since I’ve been here, so working here at GW and within the CFE has been extremely beneficial and rewarding.
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