Drury University seeks to disrupt higher education with innovative new curriculum
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 15, 2018 — Drury University unveils an innovative new academic curriculum that goes beyond the typical college education by fusing academic and professional learning with valuable real-world experience and life-changing mentorship.
The new program, called Your Drury Fusion, is the result of nearly two years of work by more than 100 Drury faculty members following an in-depth, empirical study of what prospective students are seeking in a college education. Its distinctive design moves past single majors and narrow areas of study, challenging students to become flexible and creative problem-solvers in a highly supportive, yet intellectually rigorous environment.
Your Drury Fusion, which will be offered in the Fall of 2019, isn’t merely about new electives or a handful of additional majors. It is a cohesive, universal program that guarantees every Drury student will graduate having identified the power that comes from connecting their professional and intellectual passions.
“Drury University has a long legacy of transforming lives by allowing students to pursue both intellectual passions and professional preparation. With Your Drury Fusion, we’re building on that foundation of excellence, evolving and adapting in a way that reflects the very best of American higher education,” says Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “I am extremely proud of the work our faculty and staff have done in creating this new experience. But I’m even more excited for the opportunities that Your Drury Fusion provides for our students. I can’t wait to see where they take it.”
Your Drury Fusion combines three distinct components:
Career & Life Credentials
Your Drury Fusion blends academic and pragmatic experience, ensuring every student earns credentials beyond their majors or minors, in areas of both intellectual and professional interest. Students are guaranteed to earn credentials from both areas by graduation.
To accomplish this, Your Drury Fusion introduces themed, multi-disciplinary certificates that cross intellectual boundaries and challenge students to prove and apply what they’ve learned. Each certificate is 12 credit hours and consists of three hands-on courses followed by a capstone project. Students in professionally-oriented majors will earn additional majors, minors, and certificates in areas of interest that are more purely academic in nature. Likewise, students majoring in more purely academic fields earn additional majors, minors, and certificates in professional fields.
For example, a student majoring in architecture might also get a certificate in Graphic Storytelling. A business major might get a certificate in Holistic Health and Well Being. The combinations are unique to each student. This intentional blend will give Drury graduates a broader perspective as they consider matters of career, life, community, self and service.
“I imagine there will be as many different paths to a Drury degree as there are Drury students,” says Dr. Saundra Weddle, a professor of architecture who played a lead role in the creation of Your Drury Fusion.
Your Drury Fusion guarantees students will graduate with at least three hands-on experiences that give them the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned to solve real-world challenges inside and outside of class. This includes independent projects, team projects, research, service, and more. The focus throughout is on learning by doing, constant reflection and iteration, and collaboration.
Students themselves will design these projects, under the guidance of faculty. And, thanks to the generosity of Drury donors, students will be able to apply for grants that will help fund them. In this way, students will gain experience pitching their ideas, earning funding, and making them a reality.
The projects will then become part of a digital portfolio students can use to market themselves with prospective employers or graduate and professional schools. A competitive advantage, Drury graduates will have proven experience in their field, making them ready on day one to contribute to business, nonprofit, government or any other organization.
As part of Your Drury Fusion, each student will be assigned their own mentoring squad through the newly established Compass Center. Even before setting foot on campus, students will be matched with a team of individuals who serve as their life and career coaches during their time at Drury. This holistic advising approach goes far beyond the outdated model of a single faculty advisor and will help guide students on their path to self-discovery.
The Compass Center will work with students in each of three critical areas:
- Academic Advising – Students will have a primary faculty advisor who will be complemented with Compass Center advisors trained to assist with questions about Your Drury Fusion, credentialing opportunities, and competitive scholarships.
- Career Planning – Students will have access to career counselors, professional mentors, and Drury alumni, who will help them discover career opportunities. The alignment of academic advising with career planning is done intentionally with the direct purpose of helping students incorporate their academic passions with their professional pursuits.
- Learning Center – Students will boost their educational success through access to discipline-specific tutors, writing coaches, peer mentors, and workshops on topics such as study habits, financial literacy, and more.
Additional elements of the new curriculum include courses that are team-taught by professors from vastly different disciplines, and newly designed physical spaces to support these experiences as outlined in the university’s campus master plan unveiled last year.
One key element of the program begins right now: Prospective students can apply for Go Beyond Scholarships for demonstrating how, in their high school career, they have exemplified the fusion of intellectual and professional passions, making them a great fit for Your Drury Fusion.
The launch of Your Drury Fusion comes as Drury University is bucking national enrollment trends. While many small, private colleges – particularly those in the Midwest and Northeast – are experiencing enrollment declines, Drury has seen undergraduate enrollment increase by 13 percent over the last three years. Your Drury Fusion is expected to drive further interest in the university in coming years.
“We believe Your Drury Fusion will set Drury – and Drury graduates – apart,” says Provost Dr. Beth Harville. “It will define Drury as a leader in higher education. But, more important, it’s the right approach for our students in a highly complex and changing world.”
Prospective students can find out more by visiting www.Drury.edu/yourdruryfusion, scheduling a campus visit, or applying for admission.