Baker Proud Spring 2015 - (Page 26)

26 BAKER PROUD | Spring 2015 Baker's 100th doctoral graduate P am Turner's path to becoming Baker University's 100th doctoral graduate was a self-proclaimed "journey to the mountaintop" and lesson in perseverance. Between completing her coursework in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program and starting her dissertation, Pam's husband of nearly 30 years, Michael, was diagnosed with colon cancer. After surgery to remove the tumor, he underwent 24 chemotherapy treatments, never complaining, as was his nature. Pam was researching for the second chapter of her dissertation before they were notified that he had metastatic cancer of the liver, forcing more rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery in August 2013.During his battle with cancer, Mike often asked his wife whether she had finished her dissertation. "I told him, 'I hadn't but once he got home and was on the road to recovery, I promised that the dissertation would be my primary focus.'" Mike passed away in November 2013 and three months later she began the arduous work of completing her dissertation. She officially became Dr. Turner in early February 2015. "I think working on the dissertation was therapeutic and it kept my mind focused on something that he had been a part of for four years," said Turner, a secondary math and science district facilitator for the Leavenworth (Kan.) Public School District. "I can honestly say that my promise to Michael pushed me every day to complete the study. My study is dedicated to him and while I could not have made this journey without the help of others, it was that promise which inspired me daily to complete the work that Michael had unselfishly supported and encouraged." Dr. Harold Frye, an associate professor for Baker's School of Education graduate program and an adviser to Turner, admired the doctoral student's determination. "I was amazed at how Pam and other Baker doctoral candidates seem to persevere through difficult times and challenges that face them," Frye said. "I was particularly impressed and humbled at how she was able to focus on her studies during her husband's illness and passing." Turner's dissertation, "Temperament Types, Job Satisfaction, Job Roles, and Years of Service of Doctor of Educational Leadership Candidates and Graduates," investigated the relationships of factors than can influence a leader. Focusing on temperament types of candidates and graduates from Baker's first nine cohorts, she examined archived data from a personality test, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. "I have always been interested in human behavior and leadership, so the potential study appealed to me," she said. An educator for more than 30 years, Turner is in her fifth year with the Leavenworth Public School District. She had been an instructional coach before she transitioned this year into the secondary math and science district facilitator position. In this role, she works closely with the administration to ensure teachers have the resources and materials necessary to assist with their instruction. "I make classroom visits, collect data around the areas of concern, and collaborate with the teacher to develop a plan, determine the course of implementation which will hopefully result in creating a safe, highly engaged classroom for students and teacher," she said. "My parents encouraged me to use my God-given gifts and talents, encouraging me to learn something new every day." - Pam Turner Turner became interested in Baker's doctoral program because of the cohort model, attentive faculty and a flexible schedule that accommodated her schedule with a full-time job and responsibilities outside of work. She and her classmates met every Wednesday night for two years at the Overland Park campus. "Each course prepared me with knowledge and skills necessary to experience success not only in the classroom, but on a broader scale in my educational career as a teacher and leader," she said. "The coursework was balanced with educational and leadership theory as well as practical application. I think the Baker doctoral experience equipped me for the climb as a professional as well as experiences in my personal life. I gained confidence in my leadership competencies as a result of the process. "I appreciated that faculty knew us personally and each one of them was willing to provide help and support when we needed assistance, and the expertise that each brought to the course was nothing less than exceptional. I became a better student as a result of Dr. Frye's guidance. "Turner has known since kindergarten she wanted to be a teacher. In grade school, she often was placed next to students who needed her assistance in the classroom. Her parents also played a role in allowing her to become more responsible at an early age. "My parents encouraged me to use my God-given gifts and talents, encouraging me to learn something new every day," she recalled. "They taught me the importance of perseverance, diligence, persistence and determination."

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baker Proud Spring 2015

Campus News
Alumni Faculty
Thirst for Knowledge
Mungano Momentum
Alumni Notes
Finding His Calling
Let Thy Praises Ring
Vietnam Documentary
Alumni Weekend
Prison Fellowship
Anatomy of a Student
100th Doctoral Graduate
Sports Highlights
Event Calendar

Baker Proud Spring 2015