Teacher spotlight: Retiring Jean Batson-Turner


Summer Hoagland-Abernathy

JEAN BATSON-TURNER EDUCATES STUDENTS ON THE HUMANITIES Professor retires after 17 years of service to Illinois Valley Community College and many more to the New Mexico educational system and Texas Rape Crisis Centers.

Alex Martinez and Regan Baker

Professor Jean Batson-Turner has dedicated most of her adult life to assisting others and has taught at IVCC for almost 17 years.

To summarize someone so monumental, so full of love and light, is a daunting task.

This is a woman who picked up her entire life to come to Oglesby, Illinois. to educate others on how to help people.

A Southern belle through and through, Batson-Turner hails from South Carolina, but if you ask her she will tell you Ottawa, Illinois. We all know her here as a savior to those in need, but where did the drive come from?

Admittedly, Batson-Turner will tell you that she comes from a long line of be-whatever-you-want-to-be women. So in 1989, when Batson-Turner had earned
her second Masters degree, such a feat was nothing compared to the mettle that she possesses.

While she worked as a Rape Crisis Director in Texas, Batson-Turner was barraged  with rather difficult questions, which required her to further her education. She was able to recognize that to help others, she had to better herself first.

In 2000, she was teaching in New Mexico, in a time when there wasn’t tenure. Although she wasn’t looking for anything in particular, a friend had recommended that she check out the position for human services coordinator that had just opened up at IVCC. This was something that had caught her interest, so she applied.

After the interview, Batson-Turner recalls being told, “You never know how these interview things can go. You should really look into seeing if you can move to Illinois.”

So she picked her life up, along with her partner Katherine, and together they made their way to the cold, isolated wasteland that is the Illinois Valley.

“I had to start up the entire program from scratch,” Batson-Turner recalled. “It was challenging in the beginning, though. I ordered a lot of materials, handpicked books. I had a lot of time to prepare, certainly a progressive process.”

Batson-Turner mentioned how open the faculty was to her and how enjoyable it made the transition from South Carolina to Illinois The self-proclaimed “transplant” stated that had it not been for such a warm reception from her colleagues, she may not have

She stated, “I find myself continuously inspired by my students because they want to help others. Sometimes it’s because they didn’t get the help that they deserved themselves.”

She continued, “To my students: continue on with [the] career aspirations that they are developing, and don’t give up. Because they are going to be awesome helpers in our world, and we desperately need that. We need caring, compassionate citizens in this crazy world. And I wish all of the students and teachers here at IVCC the very best.”