Sandra Jones
University Communications


AURORA, Ill. (May 8, 2024) – Aurora University named Paaige Turner, PhD, to the new position of provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, effective July 1.

Turner is currently dean of the College of Communication, Information and Media at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, a post she has held since 2018.

“Dr. Turner is an exceptional individual who embodies the enterprising, service-oriented, and creative academic leadership that defines our university,” said AU President Susana Rivera-Mills. “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.”

Turner will report to President Rivera-Mills as a member of the President’s Cabinet and will lead the academic affairs team as they continue AU’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 Turner. “President Rivera-Mills has set a bold vision for AU’s future. I am honored to share in AU’s work as a relationship-intensive institution, fostering a culture of collaboration and partnership among faculty, staff and students as we realize that vision.”

During her tenure at BSU, Turner 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, 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, Turner has more than two decades of experience examining, documenting and theorizing how cultural beliefs and practices create, sustain and challenge ideological frameworks.

Widely published in the area of organizational communication, Turner has earned international and national awards for her meritorious work in the field of communication, including a Presidential Citation for Service from the National Communication Association, Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators Award for India, Learning Happens Everywhere Award for exemplary collaboration, Faculty Excellence Award, and SLU Star Award. She also was an associate editor for the “International Handbook of Organizational Communication,” which received the NCA Organizational Communication Division 2017 Edited Book Award.

Turner earned her master’s and doctorate in organizational communication from Purdue University and her bachelor’s in rhetoric and marketing from the University of Oregon.



Aurora University is a four-year, private, nonprofit, accredited higher education institution offering students an excellent education that will prepare them for success beyond AU. The university was founded in 1893 in Mendota, Illinois, as a seminary college before moving to Aurora in 1912. Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois, located approximately 45 miles west of Chicago.

Aurora University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. The university, which was designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2018, enrolls approximately 5,900 degree-seeking students and fields 24 NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletic teams.

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Paaige Turner, PhD, provost