Drury is a member of a national consortium, the Associated New American Colleges. Drury is a mid-sized (4,500 students), private institution dedicated to the integration of liberal and professional studies and serving a diverse student population. Drury has programs at the undergraduate and masters level and serves both traditional age and non-traditional students. Drury maintains the values of its founding as a liberal arts college through an emphasis on excellence in teaching and a model of the faculty member as teacher-scholar. The collegiate ethos is student- and values-centered, and the institution encourages integrative practices which bring together the qualities of a personalized liberal arts institution with some of the breadth and richness of programs and resources found at universities. Drury promotes the integration of theory and practice, liberal and professional education, scholarship and teaching, education and service, curriculum and co-curriculum, academic community and the broader community.
The statement of mission and goals is found in the catalog (p.11) and in buildings throughout the campus. The mission emphasizes the liberal arts tradition of the university, the integration of theory and application, and the preparation of students for responsible lives in a global community. A particular focus and distinctiveness of the university lies in its particular an steady attention to the mission and goals.
Drury is distinctive in its commitment to a personalized approach to education. From the first contact in the admission office through our contacts with alumni after they graduate, we are committed to treating students as individuals and responding to their individual needs. Your responsibility as a faculty member is to help each student reach his or her potential. In advising, this means being aware of the needs of the students whom you advise; it means helping them to develop a program which meets their individual goals. It means helping students devise opportunities to enhance their education including work experiences and internships. It means providing that special, personal touch. In all cases it means being available on campus for informal as well as formal contacts with students.
A good test of what we do is to ask, "is this in the best interests of our students?" That focus can keep our attention on the most important aspects of our work.
The commitment to personalized education also includes our outreach to prospective students. We each have an obligation to help students understand the special qualities of the Drury education, and to counsel students in a way that will ease the transition from high school and enhance the college experience.
All of our programs prepare students for professional lives. That preparation includes a careful integration of liberal arts with professional programs. The Global Perspectives 21 curriculum is designed to give curricular expression to the goals of the university and provide the basis for the integration of liberal arts and professional studies. The GP21 curriculum is the responsibility of every faculty member. It is defined by the six goals (or student outcomes) which the faculty identified for the comprehensive educational experience at Drury (majors and GP21). Those six goals are the following: developing writing skills, oral communication skills, global awareness, critical thinking, values analysis, and creativity.
Faculty should be completely familiar with the general education curriculum and make every effort to help students see connections between their majors and GP21. Faculty and, particularly advisors, should help students understand and appreciate the value of the GP21 curriculum. In particular, faculty have an obligation to help develop coherence throughout the curriculum including connections between majors and GP21.
Certain values are expressed in the goals of the university and underlie the curriculum. The Drury education is interested in synthesis, in helping students understand the connections across disciplines. The Drury education is reflective, and we hope that students will develop habits of reflection. The liberal arts education as it is practiced at Drury engages students actively in the learning experience. As teachers we need to be intentional in encouraging students to become involved and take responsibility for their own learning.
A liberal arts education, at its best, creates a bridge between the theoretical and the practical and helps students understand the way theory and experience relate to and enrich each other. Faculty and students are encouraged to engaged in service learning, internships and other kinds of experiences that will complement the classroom.
Faculty members are significant role models. If you are interested in interdisciplinary work and supportive of the Global Perspectives 21 curriculum, that interest and excitement will be shared by your students. Faculty are expected to teach in the GP21 program as part of their responsibility to the university.
As a faculty member at Drury University, you are expected to maintain the highest standards of professional behavior. You should have the same high standards for your students. Values and value judgments are implicit in everything we do and everything we teach. Global Perspectives 21 has as one of its goals to help students do a better job at values analysis. Faculty should be familiar with the language of that course so that they can integrate the discussion of values across the curriculum in a manner which supports GP21.
Our classrooms should be inquiring, open, and tolerant. We should encourage those same virtues in our students as we help them learn to consider questions of value and to make reasoned value judgments. A part of a liberal education is to learn tolerance and openness to other views. A free and open discussion of ideas must characterize our community. Just as the university will respect and protect your right to academic freedom as a faculty member, you should protect the rights of your students to academic freedom. You should encourage them to feel that they are in an environment of free and open discussion.
Civility in discourse is absolutely essential. We teach that best by modeling it in our behavior. We should encourage students to be courteous in their relationships with other students, particularly during debate and disagreement in class. Courtesy is expected in communication with all of the employees of the university, with students, with parents and, indeed, all of our constituents.
Our community is a place where we can manifest as well as discuss these ideas. This gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the relationship between the theoretical and the practical, the idea and the application of the idea. Through involvement in community service, through service learning and through ethical behavior, we can teach students what it means to be responsible members of a community.
With your students, you should be clear about your expectations: your expectations about attendance, your expectations about academic honesty and integrity, your expectations about the students' need to perform at the best level that they can, and your expectations regarding priorities. As in all other regards, you are a role model for students with regard to professional behavior. You are a mentor. The way you dress, the way you meet your classes, the way you prepare for your classes, all of these things will be "read" by your students and given more meaning than you imagine. Your respect for faculty colleagues and for your students will be translated into student respect for you and for fellow students. Your high standards for yourself and for students will be translated into high standards of personal expectation by each student.
The model for faculty members at Drury University is the teacher-scholar. Faculty members are expected to be excellent teachers. The single most important criterion for continued employment, promotion, and tenure is the quality of your teaching. Since teaching is never perfected, faculty must continually work to improve their teaching, accepting and understanding all of the sources of information regarding their teaching including student evaluations, comments from department chair and peers, etc. Faculty are expected to discuss their teaching, as part of their annual professional development plans.
Faculty are expected to be engaged in scholarship; promotion and tenure will depend on demonstrating a pattern of scholarship. "Scholarship" is defined broadly in the Faculty Handbook Four kinds of scholarship are defined: the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application, and the scholarship of teaching. While research universities may, primarily, value the scholarship of discovery, we value all four kinds of scholarship. At Drury, the scholarship of integration and teaching are central to the institutional mission, and faculty are particularly encouraged to engage in those kinds of scholarship. Likewise, the scholarship of application relates directly to the interest of the university in integrating theory and practice. Faculty are encouraged to establish patterns of scholarship early in their career, developing a record which can be reviewed.
You are encouraged to seek balance in your life. The profession you have chosen is a demanding one, and excellence in teaching and scholarship are not easily attained. You will spend more time on your teaching, and that will weigh most heavily in your evaluation at Drury. Your teaching and your professional life will be enhanced by regular and serious engagement in scholarship. You will also be asked to demonstrate that you are serving the institution, and that is discussed as part of the governance responsibility.
Drury has a collegial governance system which is described in the Faculty Handbook: "The University invites participation in shared governance and in its shared commitment to common values. This commitment depends upon openness and trust among all the members of the Drury community. The structures and procedures of governance are the means by which we organize ourselves to achieve institutional goals which transcend our individual interest and make possible the achievement of larger objectives."
The role of new people in the community is an important one. New ideas complement and challenge the ideas of those who have been at the institution for some time. The development of the very best policies, practices, and curriculum will result from a strong interchange of ideas.
All of us must share a concern for both the individual and the collective well-being. Because the faculty play an important role in the governance of the university, it is essential that there be good faculty leadership. Your role in governance is an important part of the contribution that you make. Without faculty involvement and faculty leadership, the governance system would not work.
A particular prerogative of the faculty is the curriculum. In this regard it is the responsibility of all faculty members to set aside individual interests to have the best and most forward-looking curriculum to meet and serve the needs of our students.
By virtue of being a faculty member, you will be perceived by students and staff as one of the leaders in the institution and as an exemplar of what we ought to be. Your concern for educational excellence, for our common values, for individual students and their needs will help to set the tone for the institution. You have a very significant responsibility. From the students' point of view, you are an expert and model of what the educated person is and should be.
Faculty are expected to be supportive and positive about the mission and goals of the university. Obviously, this is not intended to preclude debate and discussion regarding those goals and values, but the university has made commitments and faculty need to be supportive of and enthusiastic about those goals and commitments which have been shaped by the faculty in this community over the years.
Your work with individual students will help to insure that the largest number of students possible are able to complete their education successfully. The retention of students is important to us because many of the students who choose to leave any institution leave because of dissatisfaction with the institution not because they can't get the kind of educational experience that they need. The students who come to Drury have the ability to achieve their educational goals. It is our responsibility to create an environment which enhances the opportunities for each student and encourages students to reach toward their educational potential.
Implicit in all that has been said about personalized education, collegiality, faculty governance, advising, and interaction is the expectation that faculty members will be available on campus to meet both formally and informally with students and faculty colleagues. It is the expectation of the university that all full-time faculty will be available a significant portion of each day when regularly scheduled classes are held. Such availability makes possible the committee work of faculty governance and the informal contacts which are so essential to a community in which conversation and the life of the mind are important.
Let me welcome you to a place that will provide splendid opportunities for you as teacher and scholar. Let me encourage you to learn from your department chair and the senior faculty members with whom you will work. Let me encourage you to call upon any and all of the institutional resources to support your important work here. And let me encourage you to enjoy the place, your colleagues and students, and your work.