Professor Landi Turner
From dancing to teaching
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 19:04
“The profession chose me,” Dr. Yolanda “Landi” Turner states regarding her career as a psychology professor. It is a perfect fit for her, as she enjoys helping others learn about themselves and their relationships in and to the world.
Turner encountered many twists and turns on the journey that led her to where she is today—impacting the lives of thousands of Eastern’s students. She explained that many life-changing events occurred as a result of personal relationships.
“I think God works through connections and relationships. Get to know people!” Turner says.
There have been people in Turner’s life who have encouraged her participation in activities that she would not normally have pushed herself to try. They were able to recognize her strengths and help direct her toward her true passions.
For instance, it was a friend who exposed Turner to the art of dance. She started dancing when she was recruited to join a high school dance company and has loved the activity ever since. She even minored in dance while pursuing a bachelors of arts in religion at Bates College.
After college, Turner taught dance and worked as a bartender. It was during this period that she heard about dance-movement therapy while at a party in Philadelphia.
Although Turner’s interest in psychology developed after her interest in dance, psychology was what most resonated with her. What better way to combine both passions than in dance-movement therapy? The field suited her so well that she received her Master’s degree in it and began working in the field of counseling psychology.
Turner was first introduced to Eastern University when one of her friends, a professor at Eastern, requested her as choreographer for the school’s production of “God Spell” in the early 1980’s. Eventually, she began working for The Cushing Center for Counseling and Academic Support (CCAS).
So how did the talented dancer end up becoming one of the great psychology professors here at Eastern? Lori Schreinier, then-chair of Eastern’s psychology department, knew Turner through a discipleship group at Central Baptist Church in Wayne, Pa., which Turner still attends. Schreiner was a close friend who was aware of Tuner’s private practice and work at CCAS.
When Schreiner was preparing for sabbatical leave, she requested that Turner teach a counseling class in her stead. The year went so well that Turner was asked to teach more—and so began her career at Eastern University.