Drury Leadership Academy Courses

Morning Courses

Film as Literature

This course investigates the relationships between film and literature, studying works linked across the two media by genre, topic, and style. It aims to sharpen appreciation of major works of cinema and of literary narrative. The course explores how meaningful works of art can challenge (and bridge) cultural, political, and aesthetic boundaries. We will consider classic and contemporary literary pieces and theories of film adaptations to gain an understanding of the possibilities—and problems—involved in the transportation of literature to film.
Including excerpts from: Big Fish, The Social Network, Life of Pi, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Forrest Gump, Silver Linings Playbook, The Wizard of Oz, Wild, I am Legend, The Martian, Perks of Being a Wallflower, classic fairy tale adaptations, and many more!
Instructor: Wendy Robinson, Glendale High School, Springfield

Living the College Life

Are you ready to leave home and go to college? This course will help you make the final preparations for a healthy and successful journey. College is a time of significant stress and change. You will learn how to deal with that stress in a positive way – whether it be through physical activities such as climbing a rock wall or getting down-time with friends at a local coffee shop or meeting with a local personal strength coach and nutrition expert who will help you establish a healthy eating plan and workout program for your own specific needs. There will also be interactive activities such as learning cooking hints from vendors at the Farmer’s Market to even competing in a winner-take-all Iron Chef cooking competition. We culminate the course as you team up to present a technology-based presentation to Drury’s Wellness Department – with the possibility that the proposal will be implemented by Drury University! You will have an impact on others! $30 FEE.
Instructor: John Post, Willard Schools & Lindsay Paulsell, Springfield Catholic Schools

Civil Discourse

Can you agree without being disagreeable? Do you wonder why Congress has trouble passing legislation? Are you tired of the entire name calling in politics? Civil Discourse will teach you ways to have meaningful, constructive discussions about controversial topics. Drawing on principles from argumentation, group problem solving, and conflict resolution, you will gain respect for the ideas and beliefs of others while clarifying your own personal beliefs and values.
Instructor: Tom Gist, Drury University, Springfield

Making Trouble

Revolution, protest, and entrepreneurship: The United States is a nation built on the breaking of rules. Creative questioning of the sacred cow has produced rapid social change, an efficient economy, and an extraordinary exemplar of the democratic process. While we often revere the individuals behind this rabble rousing, however, there is always a cost, and breaking the rules can be counter-productive. In this class, we will be exploring our individual angles on pushing the boundaries, drawing on figures from literature and history to help us answer the following questions: When is it okay to make trouble? When is it necessary? And what is the difference between trouble made poorly and trouble made with intelligent intent? We will be taking field trips, hearing from guest speakers, and engaging each other’s values as we look for answers.
Instructor: Dr. Kris Wiley, Drury University in Springfield

Apocalypse Wow!

"The end is nigh!" "The apocalypse is upon us!" "Civilization is declining!" For millennia and in every corner of the world, the idea that things are in decline (physical, moral, etc.) and that the world might actually end has fascinated and troubled the peoples of every culture and religion. Myths from ancient Egypt to the snowy land of the Vikings foretell destruction from floods, famine, or fire. Likewise, nearly every faith of the modern world has some vision of what will happen. In addition, for centuries, the literature of every nation has produced tales of storm and stress, plague, volcanic eruptions...even whole continents sinking into sea. Today, modern popular culture, in the form of novels, film, and television, has hopped upon the creaky bandwagon of doom and presented us with visions of destruction and the end of humankind courtesy of everything from aliens to zombies. What is it about such tales and visions of destruction that fascinates us? Have cataclysmic destructions of humankind occurred in the past to cause these seemingly irrational fears? Rome fell. Is Western Civilization in decline again, and, if so, who or what will take its place? What fears about ourselves and our own societies could such tales also conceal? These and other questions will be addressed as we enter the realm of eschatology in Apocalypse Wow!
Instructor: Scott Henderson, Columbia Independent School, Columbia, Missouri

Afternoon Courses

Improv Everywhere!!

Using Improvisation Skills to Create Out of the Box Performances.
Love Whose Line Is it Anyway? Love making things up to make your friends laugh? Students of Improv Everywhere will not only learn basic improvisation techniques, but will also participate in The Harold, a long-form improvisation performance originated at Second City Improv by Del Close. The Harold was used to train comedians Chris Farley and Mike Myers among others. In addition, students will perform guerilla improvisation performances in the style of NYC’s Improv Everywhere made popular on YouTube.
Instructor: Gretchen Teague, Central High School, Springfield

Philosophy 101: It's All In Your Head

Of all the disciplines, philosophy asks the deepest and most far-reaching questions. How does one obtain wisdom? Does knowledge come from reason or from experience? What is the ultimate substance of the world? Is it material or ideal? Are human actions free or determined? Is morality relative or absolute? We will investigate these and other problems as we become acquainted with the nature of Western philosophy and philosophical life. To accomplish these goals, you will investigate the works and ideas of such famous philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Bacon, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and others. Required materials: a sense of wonder.
Instructor: Scott Henderson, Columbia Independent School, Columbia, Missouri

Digital Photography and Photo Realism

Digital imaging allows endless possibilities for creative expression. Be unique as you explore and compose your own photomontages based on thematic subjects. You will also learn how to create realistic photocomposition from imaginative sources. This experience provides elements of choice, personal investigation, individual problem-solving skills, and personal expression. You will produce outcomes that will leave your viewers saying, “Wow, how’d you do that?” Digital cameras will be provided, though you may choose to bring your own.
Instructor: Gary Strunk, Retired Central High School, Springfield


Is euthanasia a viable option for pain? Is cloning the key to immortality? Are genetically custom made children the future? Just because we can, does it mean we should? As science and technology advance these and many more bio-ethical questions will need answers. Answers that will decide our future! Join the discussion so you can answer the question…Should we or shouldn’t we?
Instructor: Jackie McCarthy, Phelps Center for Gifted Education - WINGS, Springfield

Senior Leadership Experience

If you have graduated from high school, this is the class available for you to participate in DLA. This program allows you to attend DLA while participating in an intensive experiential leadership program. You will take a Drury University Leadership Certificate class in the morning which will focus more on theory and take a leadership laboratory class in the afternoon. You will use some of the residential activities as a hands-on learning experience to apply what they have been working on in class. You will live in the dorm and participate in all residential activities. There will be some time when your role in these activities may differ from a traditional resident as you will be applying your classroom knowledge in a leadership position. $30 FEE .
Instructor: Drury University Leadership Professor, Drury University, Springfield