Academic Search Recruits Provost for Aurora University

July 10, 2024 – Education-focused executive recruitment firm Academic Search has assisted in the recruitment of Paaige Turner as the new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs for Aurora University. Maya Ranchod Kirkhope led the assignment. “Dr. Turner is an exceptional individual who embodies the enterprising, service-oriented, and creative academic leadership that defines our university,” said Susana Rivera-Mills, president of Aurora University. “Throughout her career, she has exhibited commitment and care for the intellectual growth and personal well-being of students. I am confident she will be a dynamic addition to our university community.”

Dr. Turner most recently served as dean of the College of Communication, Information, and Media at Ball State University in Muncie, IA, a post she held since 2018. During her tenure, she oversaw operations and strategic planning for the college, managing more than 80 faculty members, 1,500 students, and more than 40 campus organizations. Her work helped the college realize its potential in an age of information and new media, including the expansion of the sports production program, and the launch of initiatives to support workforce development, in areas including virtual work and social media.

Prior to her time at Ball State, Dr. Turner served as the executive director for the National Communication Association, associate dean at Webster University, and associate vice president at Saint Louis University. As a scholar and consultant, she has more than two decades of experience examining, documenting, and theorizing how cultural beliefs and practices create, sustain, and challenge ideological frameworks.

Dr. Turner will report to Ms. Rivera-Mills as a member of the president’s cabinet and will lead the academic affairs team as they continue Aurora University’s rich history of serving a diverse undergraduate and graduate student body.

“As a first-generation college student whose first attempt at college ended in the fall of my sophomore year, I appreciate Aurora University’s commitment to helping every student succeed,” said Dr. Turner. “President Rivera-Mills has set a bold vision for Aurora University’s future. I am honored to share in Aurora University’s work as a relationship-intensive institution, fostering a culture of collaboration and partnership among faculty, staff, and students as we realize that vision.”

Related: Academic Search Places New Provost for New Mexico State University

Aurora University is a private university in Aurora, IL. In addition to its main campus, the school offers programs online and at its George Williams College campus in Williams Bay, WI. Approximately 6,200 students are enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Aurora University offers 60 undergraduate majors and minors, a wide variety of master’s degrees, several graduate certificates in education and social work, and online doctoral degrees in education and social work.

Higher Education Recruiters

For over three decades, Academic Search has been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed hundreds of executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles ranging from presidents to provosts to deans. Academic Search has a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the firm provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development, and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. The firm is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Just Released: 2024 Corporate Culture Report

As leaders recognize the critical role of culture in organizational success, building sustainable cultural change for engagement, performance, and growth is now essential. Emphasizing psychological safety allows employees to express ideas, take risks, and voice concerns, driving innovation and engagement.

Hunt Scanlon Media’s 2024 Corporate Culture Report shows how a strong, cohesive culture transforms organizations. By prioritizing cultural synergies and shared values, companies can attract and retain top talent while fostering innovation. Download now!

Ms. Kirkhope is an Academic Search senior consultant, vice president of the firm, and senior executive coach. She has worked in higher education for the past 20 years and specifically with presidents and governing boards for the past 10 years. She has extensive knowledge of the culture of public and private higher education, academic governance, and good board management and practices at colleges and universities. Since joining Academic Search, Ms. Kirkhope has conducted dozens of searches for public, private and international institutions, from dean to president.

Recent Search

Jay Lemons, Jennifer Kooken, and George Ross of Academic Search recently assisted in the recruitment of Jeffrey P. Gold as the ninth president of the University of Nebraska. Past president Ted Carter left the school last year to become the president of Ohio State University, a search that was led by Santa Barbara, CA-based Education Executives. Dr. Gold’s appointment concludes a national search launched last fall that engaged the university community and key stakeholders across the state, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and leaders in agriculture, business and philanthropy. He was named the board’s priority candidate for president on March 20, after which he underwent a vetting period required by state law that included a dozen public events across Nebraska.

“As chair of the board when we first brought Jeff Gold to Nebraska, this has come full circle for me,” said regent Tim Clare, who chaired the presidential search committee. “I’ve come to know Jeff as a good friend and colleague, someone who listens to students and has truly made Nebraska his adopted home. I believe Jeff will bring the same success to the entire University of Nebraska that he has achieved at University of Nebraska Medical Center over the past decade and I’m confident he will devote his full energy to our ambitious goals for academic excellence, competitiveness and AAU readmission.”

Related: Academic Search Recruits President for Norwich University

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief and Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments