Academic Affairs

Office of Academic Affairs Staff

Steven C. CombsSteven C. Combs, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and Provost

Provides primary strategic and operational leadership for all of the university’s academic programs, serves as the senior member of the university’s leadership team, contributes as appropriate to work in enrollment management and resource development and serves as an effective advocate for the university with a variety of internal and external constituents. Oversight of all instructional and faculty affairs of the university, including, but not limited to:

  • Development and evaluation of curricular patterns and teaching methods
  • Enforce policies  and procedures established by the faculty in pursuance of their academic responsibilities
  • Selection, promotion, professional development, tenure, and salary of the faculty/staff responsible for academic services and instruction
  • Appraise the effectiveness of academic counseling  and to devise organization and procedures to improve its effectiveness
  • Determine current and future requirements for the facilities and equipment needed for instructional programs and academic services
  • Coordinate and direct the budget process for academic departments
  • Direct administrators of academic and academic service departments, programs, and services in the performance of their administrative duties

Biographical Information:

Combs comes to Drury from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a public comprehensive university, where he has spent the past year as founding dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. Prior to that, Combs was at Hawaii Pacific University from 2006 to 2013, where he served as dean of the College of Communication and later, founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. While in that role, he oversaw a 20 percent enrollment increase from 2009 to 2011 in the wake of the Great Recession. He led efforts to revise the curriculum to emphasize program relevance and distinctiveness. Combs worked closely with faculty to help them achieve their goals as scholars, and he helped secure more than $2.7 million in grants – accounting for nearly 70 percent of HPU’s externally funded projects.

“My approach to leadership focuses on people and the organizational culture.  We all have differing gifts,” Combs said. “I hope to work with the faculty and administrative staff to bring forth their unique talents in ways that make them excited to come to campus every day.”

Combs holds a Ph.D. in Communication Arts & Sciences from the University of Southern California and a master of arts in communication studies from the University of Kansas. The VPAA position is the top academic post at the University, reporting directly to the president.

Peter MeidlingerPeter Meidlinger, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Academic Quality & Professor of English

Provides key leadership in the development, implementation, staffing, assessment, and oversight of the general education curriculum and works to assure coherence and integrity of students’ general education experience. Collaborates with university grants officer to identify external funding opportunities to support faculty and course development initiatives.Works closely with Community Outreach to strengthen Engaged Learning offerings for students that build partnerships between Drury and the community.

Biographical Information:
Dr. Meidlinger has been a member of the Drury University faculty since 1992 and assumed his current leadership position in 2012. He received his Ph.D. (1994) and M.A. (1985) in English from the University of Iowa and his B.A. from University of Iowa (1981).

Bruce CallenBruce Callen, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Academic Operations and Professor of Physics

Provides key leadership in the development, implementation, assessment, and oversight of the course evaluation process. Collaborates with academic leadership team and faculty to identify to support faculty and course development initiatives. Oversees the Center for Academic Planning and serves as division representative on the Student Intervention and Retention Team.

Biographical Information:
Dr. Callen has been a member of the Drury University faculty since 1991 and assumed his current leadership position in 2007. He received his Ph.D. (1988) in physics from the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. from Carleton College (1981).

Marline FahertyMarline Faherty, M. S.

Director of Academic Affairs Support Services

Supports the Division of Academic Affairs by providing management and oversight of various processes pertaining to faculty (i.e. faculty contracts, promotion/tenure, faculty awards, sabbatical leaves, faculty governance, and faculty evaluations), budget, academics, and institutional accreditation. Serves as coordinator for annual faculty salary surveys (i.e. CUPA and AAUP).

Biographical Information:
Ms. Faherty has been a member of the Drury University staff since 2007. She received her M.S. (2006) in administrative studies from Missouri State University and her B.S. from Drury University (2001). 



Justin Leinaweaver, Ph.D.

Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness
Assistant Professor of Political Science

An integral part of the university’s strategic planning, the Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness provides leadership for activities and initiatives that support institutional decision making and effectiveness. Dr. Leinaweaver collects, develops, analyzes, and communicates institutional data and other information to constituents throughout the university and to relevant external audiences, to support and enhance informed decision-making, problem solving, strategic planning, policy development, and institutional self-assessment.

Dr. Leinaweaver's research focuses primarily on the use of policy to solve environmental problems at both the domestic and international levels. His other research interests include quantitative methods, technology issues, political economy and the use of experimental methods.

Dr. Leinaweaver has been a member of the Drury University faculty since 2012 and assumed his current leadership position in 2016. He received his Ph.D. (2012) in Political Science from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland; his M.S. (2008) in International Relations from the University College (also in Dublin); and his B.S. (2004) from Florida State University.