Challenging students to experience all that college affords them is one motivation for Kimberly Turner as director of the University’s Multicultural Resource Center.
“Student development – watching young people grow and mature during their undergraduate years is amazing,” said Turner. “Particularly, if they are connected to campus in a way that enables them to take advantage of all that the campus offers.”
A native of northern Virginia, Turner completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s of education in counseling with a concentration in college student personnel administration from James Madison University. Her professional career in student affairs began at her alma mater.
“At James Madison, I primarily worked with historically black and Latino Greek organizations, and I developed cultural programming and leadership development opportunities,” Turner explained. “I also managed a three-week pre-collegiate program and later served in an interim associate director capacity for a year.”
Before joining UNC Charlotte in June 2014, Turner was the associate director for ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) Services at Loyola University Maryland for six years, where she coordinated a pre-orientation program and created an academic retention program for students of color.
As director of the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC), Turner, in conjunction with her team, strives to provide students “the opportunity to learn about themselves and others through a social justice lens.”
Cultural programming and diversity training are two main focus areas for her and the center’s three assistant directors.
“Our programming often is connected to the intersection of identities (race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.). We are interested in offering new programs that cater to students,” said Turner. “For example, in February during Black History Month, we hosted an event called ‘Corks and Canvases – Romare Bearden.’ Two sessions were held with about 60 students who learned more about a noted Charlottean and African American artist, while trying to replicate their own version of one of his paintings.”
A new initiative is the use of experiential learning trips for students to learn about different cultures and identities in Charlotte and beyond. In early April, a cohort of undergrads will join together to examine religious identities under the direction of the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, a unit of the center.
“UNC Charlotte has amazing students who are doing great work on campus and in the community,” Turner stated. “We want to continue to share the mission and vision of the center with others across campus so students can take advantage of our offerings.”
Turner also is vice president of programming for Bryant Educational Leadership Group (BELG). Its mission is to enable, equip and empower student leaders to transform themselves, their campuses, their communities and the world. BELG hosts the African American Student Leadership Experience (AASLE) in Washington, D.C., in January. AASLE is an intensive leadership conference for high school and college students, where participants are challenged to put theory into practice. Turner coordinates the high school component associated with the leadership experience.
Beyond work, Turner engages in various active pursuits – hiking, indoor soccer and kickball. She joined a kickball league shortly after arriving in the Queen City and has met “some amazing people.” She also enjoys attending concerts and festivals and volunteers with the Girl Talk Foundation.
This article originally appeared in Inside UNC Charlotte.