Missouri Western continued its push towards becoming a stronger school last month when the school announced the decision to hire its new Career Services Director.
Donnell Turner held off 33 candidates by becoming Western’s choice to lead the students. He was chosen based off his hard work and excellent resume, but also what he proved when he made his pitch last March.
“He was really impressive,” Matthew Gregg, student employment coordinator said. “He’s got a good grasp of what we’re looking for.”
Turner will take over for Linda Garlinger, the previous director, who retired last October after 20 years at Western. Western believes Turner is the right guy to take over for somebody who was the director for so long.
“His energy is contagious,” Gregg said. “He really wanted to know where the students are and really wanted to serve the students. The students will notice the difference.”
Turner spoke to many students and faculty in attendance when he presented his case for employment on March 3. He spoke about how the students are going to have to help themselves, help each other and he will guide them along the way.
Student Affairs sent out a press release two weeks ago to announce the new hire, stating Turner provided career-related counseling and guidance to students as well as mentioning his past history.
“I enjoy new challenges,” Turner said. “I would do what I do for free because I love what I do so much. Having your own passion or own calling is very important.”
Turner has a BA in Education-Theological Studies and a Masters Degree in Education Ministries. He graduated from Wheaton College of Illinois and previously worked for Loyola University of Illinois. He will start May 16, a date Gregg and others are looking forward to.
“The summer is when we sit down and narrow down the process and [we] start training for the fall semester,” Gregg said. “I encourage students to speak with him. He is very student centered.”
“Students get students out,” Turner said, when asked how he would help a student from the street start attending class. He also spoke about how he would handle non-traditional students. “(I would) help lead them with skills they’ve had in the past, researching them. The reality is, we never really stop learning.”
Taye Trigg, assistant dean for student development, said Turner would start right away when he arrives here. He will be the supervisor on certain special projects, one including the Sophomore Jump. This project will focus on sophomores who, nationwide, tend to lose focus in school and start struggling. When a student can get past this point, statistics show they will likely graduate.
“[Students] are confused about career choices and they come in and have no clue what they want to major in,” Triggs said. “He’ll catch them before they think about dropping out.”
Triggs also said that when Turner begins his job, he is going to be working hard because the summer is when they do their planning.
“Donnell’s strong professional background and commitment to community services is something our students can look to as a model,” the release read. “Donnell does ministerial outreach and provides support to men within drug/alcohol treatment facilities and is a full responder for the American Red Cross.”
That, as well as his leadership skills and 12 years of experience in personal development and coaching helped Turner land this new opportunity over the others.