Lauren Turner image

Lauren A. Turner, PhD, Joins Worcester Polytechnic Institute as Senior Vice President for Talent & Inclusion

Turner brings extensive experience, service, and innovation in higher education human resources management, organizational effectiveness, and diversity and inclusion.
Media Contact
December 20, 2021

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) announced today that Lauren A. Turner, PhD, an accomplished administrator in public and private higher education, as well as educator and researcher, will join the university February 1, 2022, as senior vice president of Talent & Inclusion. Turner is currently senior associate vice chancellor for human resources and organizational strategy & effectiveness at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  

“Lauren Turner brings to WPI an impressive array of experience, having worked in and achieved increasingly responsible human resource management, diversity, and strategy roles in higher education over many years, while providing broad service to the academy, continuing her own education and research, and educating the next generation of human resource professionals,” said WPI President Laurie Leshin. “She joins WPI at a pivotal moment as we launch Lead With Purpose, a new strategic plan that has us pushing boundaries in such critical areas as student well-being and access, purpose-driven education and research, and shaping a culture of belonging and inclusion in alignment with WPI’s values. To achieve our ambitious goals requires recruiting, retaining, developing, and supporting best-in-class faculty and staff whose diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives effectively serve our excellent and diverse student body.”

Lauren Turner brings to WPI an impressive array of experience, having worked in and achieved increasingly responsible human resource management, diversity, and strategy roles in higher education over many years.
  • President Laurie Leshin

Turner was appointed after a national search and will report directly to President Leshin. She will oversee all aspects of WPI’s human resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) functions, including compensation, benefits, talent acquisition, performance management, learning and development, organizational development, employee engagement, labor relations, and employee relations, HR information systems, data and analytics, DEI and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The university employs about 1,200 faculty and staff and serves about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join an institution focused not only on STEM, but on broadening and strengthening STEM by also preparing our students to be caring global citizens, critical thinkers, and innovators who are attuned to the need for and value of social justice, and to have respect and empathy for each other and the people in communities around the world where they co-create solutions to problems that matter,” said Turner. “The education WPI offers, how it’s offered, and who it’s accessible to is critically important to the future of work—and the world. I have watched with admiration how WPI has worked to increase gender parity, to focus on racial and ethnic diversity, and to double down on the well-being of students, faculty, and staff in these COVID-plus times. I look forward to being one of the contributors in a community so clearly focused on improving the human experience.”


I look forward to being one of the contributors in a community so clearly focused on improving the human experience.
  • Lauren Turner

Before joining UMass Lowell in 2011, Turner spent 30 years at Mount Holyoke College, starting as a receptionist in the Office of Personnel Services and working her way to become the director of human resources/affirmative action officer. While at Mount Holyoke, she completed her bachelor of general studies in human resources at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and then her master of arts in psychology at Mount Holyoke College. There she began the teaching aspect of her career, which continued when she joined UMass Lowell, where she has developed and taught undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in human resources, leadership, workforce diversity and inclusion, fostering a learning organization, as well as leadership, law, and policy.  

Turner earned her PhD in leadership and organizational studies at the Robert J. Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell in 2018. Her dissertation, Leader Cultural Intelligence and Transformational Leadership as Antecedents to Organizational Diversity Management Practice, aligns with her teaching and continued research focus. Her most recent publications have delved into why there aren’t more human resources leaders who are champions of diversity, how cultural intelligence influences diversity management practices, and restoring trust in a #MeToo workplace.

Turner has been an active member and contributor to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) for over 35 years.  She has served in multiple volunteer roles across CUPA-HR, serving on its board of directors and as Chair of its board in 2011, during which time she provided leadership in the development of CUPA-HR’s DEI framework which continues to inform the work of the association and higher education human resources practitioners.  Recognizing the extent and depth of her service to CUPA-HR and to the human resources professional, she received the Donald E. Dickason Award from CUPA-HR in 2014. Turner is also an active member of the Eastern Academy of Management (EAM) and the national Academy of Management (AOM), communities of college and university educators and scholars dedicated to helping the world work better. Turner is a three-time recipient of the EAM’s Outstanding Reviewer Award and was nominated for best paper in 2015. She is a prolific reviewer of peer publications, including Human Resource Management, IGI Global, and Organizational Management Journal. Turner is a frequent presenter on topics related to human resource and organizational effectiveness at regional and national conferences including CUPA-HR, EAM, AOM, the National Association of College & University Business Officers, and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Academy of Management (AOM).