Drury Leadership Academy Courses

Morning Courses

The Day Everything Changed

“The only thing constant in life is change,” says the philosopher Heraclitus. Yet some changes, historians tell us, were more significant than others and- - through numerous connections and instances of cause and effect - - have have had such significant changes upon or mindsets that they have essentially “changed our universe.” In this course, we will examine the events, inventions, and discoveries that have perhaps forever changed our reality and investigate how basic ideas of love, beauty, heroes, failure, manners, and the like have changed dramatically over the centuries. Then again, there others who suggest that change and progress are mere illusion and that history is “eandem, sed aliter” (the same, but different). Join us as we trace the origins of basic attitudes from humble and often totally unrelated beginnings in The Day Everything Changed.

Instructor:  Scott Henderson, Columbia Independent School, Columbia, Missouri

Wellness Throw Down: DLA Style

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 to college and adulthood. You will learn how to deal with stress in a positive way – whether it be through physical activities such as climbing a rock wall and yoga or getting down-time with friends at a local coffee shop. We will meet with local strength coaches and nutrition experts 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 visiting the Farmer’s Market and touring local health/medical facilities and 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! This course addresses all aspects of wellness, not just physical activity. $30 FEE.

Instructor: John Post, Willard Schools & Lindsay Paulsell, Springfield Catholic Schools

Civil Discourse

Can you disagree without being disagreeable? Do you wonder why Congress has trouble passing legislation? Are you tired of all the 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


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

The Big Bang Theory and Other Big Stuff

You will explore the Big Bang beginning of the universe and the universe’s structure. Among other mysteries you will also reflect on unexplained or half-explained phenomena such as dark energy, dark matter, the nature of consciousness, quantum uncertainty, and unusual mental phenomena. We will consider what infinity means and how scientists define time. Is there intelligent life out there? We’ll contemplate the odds.

Instructor: Joe Miller, Lawyer

Afternoon Courses

DLA Community Improv

What you can expect from the DLA COMMUNITY IMPROV: First, you will become “experts” at what it means to improvise, both in performance and in life.  Most people think of the popular television show, Whose Line is It Anyway, when they think of improvisation. However, there is so much more to learn. We will, of course, explore the games made famous by Drew Carey and his cast, but we will also look at the historical references to improvisation. In addition, we will explore how improvisation enhances life skills of spontaneity, collaboration, communication, and confidence.  Finally, we will use improvisation not only for entertainment, but as a technique to address social issues in our society. We will most of all have fun and learn through building a community and laughter.

Instructor: Gretchen Teague, Ed.D. 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

Protest Movements and Social Change

Media is flooded with images of people all over the U.S. taking to the streets to protest or support various causes. You may have encountered or even participated in a demonstration in your own community. How does this kind of group action, and the protest movements that support it, contribute to social change? We will explore why protest movements form and how past movements have influenced them; what role social media, like Facebook or Twitter, plays; and what might drive an individual to engage in group action that may entail great personal risks?

Instructor: David Derossett, Drury University

Late Night Politics

Do you like late night TV? This course is all about politics and late night TV. We start at the beginning of popular late night TV programs and work all the way through the 2016 election. You will watch SNL sketches and current late night TV shows, learn about the impact and voice your opinion on its effectiveness as well as learn about parody and satire. In the latter half of the course, you will choose your own group to write and perform a SNL worthy sketch on any political point you choose.

Instructor: Jordan Butcher, Missouri University, Columbia

Senior Leadership Experience

If you have graduated from high school, this is the class available for you to participate in DLA. You will use some of the residential activities as a hands-on learning experience to apply what you 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 – Seniors only.

Instructor: Drury University Leadership Professor, Drury University, Springfield