After serving as the interim director of residence life since May 2020, Turner Middendorf was recently named Newman University’s full-time director of residence life.
Middendorf has been at Newman since July 2019, when he began as residence life’s graduate assistant. In that role, he worked 20 hours a week while also pursuing his Master of Business Administration, which he recently received. When the previous director took a different job at the university, Middenforf moved into the interim director position.
Middendorf’s role requires him to oversee Newman’s four residence halls and all its residents — currently about 200 of them. He also leads a team of 14 staff members.
“A lot of my job up to this point has been dealing with COVID,” he explained, like making sure residents wear masks, doing contact tracing and handling quarantines, if needed. “I don’t really know what this job looks like without it.”
Middendorf has taken these unusual circumstances as a learning opportunity.
“It’s definitely made me grow up real fast, and I’ve learned a lot about myself in the past 18-ish months,” he said.
Leadership and life skills
Middendorf’s favorite part of his job is working with his staff and honing his own leadership skills while also providing his team with leadership opportunities. Since he specialized in leadership for his MBA program, Middendorf said his position comes full circle.
While he never expected to work in residence life for his career — he initially got into it as a student when he was a resident assistant at Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas — he’s happy with “how the cookie crumbled.”
“I certainly have no regrets,” Middendorf said. “I love what I do. It’s definitely worked out for the best.”
Right now, Middendorf is focused on improving residence hall facilities, especially the laundry areas. Next academic year, he also hopes to revamp the Living Learning Communities, which were eliminated these past two years because of the pandemic. He feels that starting them up again would help encourage student involvement.
“If we can increase that involvement, I think it would go a long way all-around in every aspect of the university,” Middendorf said. “I’m just excited to keep going and keep improving.”
Learn about on-campus living at Newman University
There are several unique and convenient aspects of living on campus in the residence halls — including being near your friends, never having to commute and being the first to know about new campus happenings.