Vice President for Academic Affairs
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:
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.