Katherine Conway-Turner

SUNY Buffalo State

Katherine S. Conway-Turner, Ph.D., began her tenure as the ninth president of Buffalo State College on August 3, 2014. Her professional leadership can be seen in the many and varied aspects that are part of a major academic anchor institution. As president of SUNY’s largest and only comprehensive college located in an urban setting, Dr. Conway-Turner oversees and manages more than 1,500 faculty, staff, and administrators who provide more than 200 academic degree and certificate programs to 8,500 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students each year.

President Conway-Turner’s vision for Buffalo State to become “Buffalo’s College” through engagement, excellence, and social responsibility has been embraced and is paying off in dividends for both the college and the community. Buffalo State’s commitment to service has been recognized nationally under President Conway-Turner’s leadership. In 2016, Buffalo State was among five colleges and universities from across the country chosen to share in the Washington Center’s annual Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards. The college has also earned the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Community Engagement Classification under Dr. Conway-Turner, as well as accolades from the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. One of President Conway-Turner’s signature events, “Bengals Dare to Care Day,” was initiated as part of her inauguration week of activities in 2014, and she officially launched the annual service day the following year. Buffalo State students, faculty, alumni, staff, and friends of the college provide community service within the City of Buffalo one Saturday during the fall semester. In 2016, more than 650 members of the Buffalo State community provided service to 40 community agencies throughout the city. Dr. Conway-Turner also lends her talent and time to several boards, committees, and programs nationally, statewide, and locally.

She serves on the Distinguished Alumnus Award Search and Selection Committee for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and she is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities Presidents Trust www.aacu.org/leap/presidentstrust. She is also a member of the review and selection panel for the American Council on Education Fellows Program, and she is a Pathway Program mentor for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. President Conway-Turner is an evaluator and team chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is the accrediting body for higher education institutions in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Her statewide commitments include service on the New York State Education Department’s Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation and the TeachNY Steering Committee for the State University of New York.

In Buffalo and Western New York, she serves on the boards of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, the Western New York Women’s Foundation, Say Yes Buffalo’s Operating Committee, the Richardson Center Corporation Board, and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. One of her long-term commitments is to the board of directors of Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.), based in Rochester, New York. She travels to Haiti regularly as a member of this nonprofit volunteer organization assisting the people of Borgne, Haiti, with educational, medical, and community development needs.

President Conway-Turner earned her Ph.D. and master of arts degrees in social psychology, and her bachelor of arts degree in microbiology, all from the University of Kansas. Her scholarship focuses on adult development and aging; the psychological impact on family relations, health, and development; and women and intergenerational relationships. She is the author of numerous articles, chapters, books, and book reviews. Before coming to Buffalo State, President Conway-Turner was provost and vice president for academic affairs at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, from July 2010 until July 2014. From 2004 to 2009, she was provost and vice president for academic affairs at SUNY Geneseo. Dr. Conway-Turner was the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware, where she also served as director of the women’s studies program and graduate program coordinator. She was an American Council on Education (ACE) fellow at the College of New Jersey, and she has held teaching positions at Santa Clara University and California State University, Long Beach.

President Conway-Turner’s personal journey mirrors that of many of her students, past and present. As a first-generation college student, she appreciates the process of education and embraces its transformative aspects. She listens to the ever-changing needs of her students and attempts to implement and monitor new programs and processes to help these students become successful and contributing members of society. She has also become known on campus and in the community for her social media outreach, including blog posts, tweets, and Instagram posts that highlight activities occurring on campus, as well as many of her humanitarian efforts. Dr. Conway-Turner is married to Dr. Alvin L. Turner, a psychologist licensed in New York and Delaware, who is engaged in the independent practice of psychotherapy, supervision, training, and forensic psychological services. They have three adult daughters and in 2016, they became first-time grandparents.