Turner named assistant vice provost for student affairs

Rikki Turner

As someone who has spent the past decade working in student housing, Rikki Turner could write a book about the strange, late-night phone calls she receives in the middle of the night.

Turner, the newly promoted assistant vice provost for student affairs – auxiliary services at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has heard it all.

One of Turner’s most memorable experience is what she calls the “When Frisbees Attack!” incident. An errant Frisbee thrown by a student in April set off the sprinklers, causing several floors of a men’s residence hall to flood.

“I’m on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said. “I never know what any day will be like. Nothing surprises me, but when you get called because someone threw a Frisbee, flooded three floors of West Hall, and you have to reassign all those students in the middle of the night, that’s something.”

After working as a residence coordinator at the University of Central Arkansas, Turner joined UALR as a hall director and student development specialist in 2008. She was promoted to assistant director for residence life in 2011 and interim executive director of student housing and associate dean of students in 2015.

In her new position, Turner oversees the Campus Living Department, which includes the residence halls. She also has oversight of campus dining, Donaghey Student Center, recreational facilities, as well as the campus bookstore. She also serves as the senior budget officer for the Division of Student Affairs.

“Money usually scares people,” Turner said. “Having oversight over the budget, I get to ensure that we are being good stewards of the students’ money and creating a better experience for the student.”

Turner has many ideas to improve the student experience at UALR. She plans to explore adding family and Greek housing to campus, expanding campus dining options, and updating recreational facilities.

The Division of Student Affairs is also conducting a feasibility study to identify areas of improvements for the university.

“Everything that is under my purview has a direct impact on students,” Turner said. “I know when students live on campus, they are dramatically affected by that experience and much more likely to graduate. I like to affect the student experience in a positive way and make a direct impact in their lives.”

Turner earned a Bachelor of Science in speech communication and a Master of Science in college student personnel services and administration from the University of Central Arkansas. She is pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration from UALR.

She and her husband, Justin, have a 6-year-old son, Samuel.

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