Redefining the Horizon

Charting new courses to strengthen our position in the higher education landscape.

Letters From Leadership


Dr. Steven Combs Executive Vice President, Provost

Drury is now, and always will be, a liberal arts institution. Yet, it has enacted its own vision of the liberal arts. For example, in 1960 we added a school of business, something that was not considered part of a traditional liberal arts profile. Similarly, we added a school of architecture in the 1980s. We believe our identity as a liberal arts institution that offers professional programs is not only uncommon in higher education but also is a point of distinction and strength. Unlike some institutions, we require all of our students to complete a liberal education drawn from multiple university disciplines, which strengthens and enriches their major areas of study and adds value to their education. In addition, we offer graduate programs and built an evening school of continuing and professional studies that today is nearly twice as large as our day school. In each case, we sought to bring the excellence of a liberal education to new audiences.

“The liberal arts are more valuable than ever and necessary in order to achieve well-being across one’s personal, communal and career lives.” At one time, being a liberal arts institution simply meant offering a particular set of majors, especially those in traditional areas of humanistic thought, such as my field—rhetoric. The liberal arts evolved, however, and became more demanding. They no longer refer to mastering specific content but also to the difficult and noble task of embodying a set of crucial competencies and dispositions. The liberal arts now demand that we intentionally build curricula and learning environments, inside and outside the classroom, that help shape students with passion and purpose, curiosity and creativity, ethical insight and social awareness, intercultural competencies, and the courage to take intellectual risks. The liberal arts are more valuable than ever and necessary in order to achieve well-being across one’s personal, communal and career lives.

Drury’s commitment to that liberal arts mission is steadfast. First, we will always center our general education on the liberal arts, including the humanities and arts, and the natural and human sciences. Every Drury student will have substantial coursework in liberal arts disciplines. Furthermore, I have made a public commitment to keep the amount of required coursework in majors reasonable so that students have many elective hours which they can use to explore courses and programs outside their majors. Finally, realizing its essential place at the heart of our community, I have invited faculty and staff to have a university-wide discussion on the meaning and value of the liberal arts organized around reading Colleges That Change Lives.

It is also crucial to note that the definition of liberal arts disciplines has broadened. For example, whereas the “arts” once included only studio and performing arts, it now includes media arts, which involve the same strengths and creative habits of mind promoted by traditional artistic disciplines. Looking forward, we are working on a degree in English that focuses on professional writing with an emphasis on new media. We also plan majors in animation, film and television production, and digital design; all of which highlight the intersections of art, communication, and business, and are strengthened and informed by our deep liberal arts foundation.

Drury was, is, and always will be, a liberal arts institution. Our enactment of the liberal arts has always been unique and special, and it will remain so as it continues to evolve.

Dr. Steven Combs


Jay Fedje Vice President of Enrollment Management

What a spectacular fall day!

Looking out my window on Burnham Circle, I’m reminded of how well our campus wears a stunning fall day. In the midst of this brisk Friday afternoon, I also see our community of students, staff and faculty moving about campus doing the work of education. I’m encouraged by this amazing university, and it’s this scene that I want every prospective student and their parents to experience first-hand.

“We are dedicated to enrollment growth at Drury.” We’re in the middle of a shift in the higher education landscape and many small, private, liberal arts colleges are figuring out their role. Drury has been deep in those very conversations for the past two years in our Strategic Enrollment Planning process. Drury is positioning itself for success in this new higher education environment, but it takes a lot of work, planning and commitment. In spite of the challenges we face, we are dedicated to enrollment growth at Drury.

Over the next few years I hope you’ll hear a great deal about our Strategic Enrollment Plan. This plan includes deepening our roots locally in what we’re calling “Springfield First.” We’re also committed to expanding our reach to new metro markets around our “super region” in order to establish a diverse geographic footprint that can withstand the shifts in higher education and competition. Early indicators reveal that we are reaching new audiences in Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City, while maintaining our home front of Springfield. Additionally, we’re investing in new academic and athletic programs to support our enrollment growth as well as a new cutting edge marketing campaign to firmly establish our presence in these new places. Our new marketing tagline says it all: “We’re the best university you’ve never heard of!”

Now for the “ask.” I’m asking for your support in our enrollment efforts by providing the Office of Admission with information on great students that you may know (or be related to). You can direct these students to our information request form: I want a chance to show every student how great Drury is—especially on spectacular fall days like this!

Jay Fedje


“We want to make sure we continue to give everyone that sense of pride in programs that are doing things the right way, 'The Drury Way.'”

Mark Fisher Director of Athletics

I consider it a privilege to serve Drury University as its new Director of Athletics. My family moved to the Ozarks 27 years ago, and the hospitality and friendliness that we witnessed then still thrives to this day in Springfield, the surrounding communities and on the Drury campus.

When it comes down to it, friendliness and hospitality can be construed as a direct product of pride—pride in where a person lives, pride in where they work, and pride in the school where a person is educated to set them up for success after graduation.


I witness that pride and passion now as I interact with the Drury coaches, faculty, staff, administration, and loyal boosters. I want to cultivate those feelings by continuing the great tradition that Drury Athletics established on the fields, courts and in the classrooms. It’s an expectation of athletic and academic excellence that started long before my arrival here, but it’s one that I have respected and admired for many years from both my previous positions in athletics in Springfield and as a father of a former Drury student-athlete.

One Drury coach phrased it “The Drury Way,” and that’s the way I believe we need to continue conducting business as an athletic department. I have an opportunity to interact with our dedicated coaches, faculty, staff and alumni to ensure that those standards of maximum effort, sportsmanship and success continue to be the focus of our approach. Whether it’s winning national championships, Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships or simply competing with a rival in a single game or match, we want to make sure we continue to give everyone that sense of pride in programs that are doing things the right way, “The Drury Way.”

That belief extends into our efforts to create new competitive opportunities for current and future Drury University students, with new ventures currently underway and others in the works in the coming years. It will always be a driving motivation to build tremendous partnerships with area and national businesses and alumni, and ensure that all parties involved have reason to be proud of their association with Drury University.

Mark Fisher

Grow Our Value

Dr. Erin Kenny Director of Teaching and Learning Center, Associate Professor of Anthropology

A vibrant and strong faculty is at the heart of every successful university, inspiring students through meaningful moments in the classroom and enhancing the reputation of the institution through research. In the last few decades, many institutions of higher learning have implemented on-campus centers to help faculty members connect with needed resources—and with one another—to achieve excellence in their professional goals.

“The Teaching and Learning Center aspires to be a space for people, projects and initiatives that advance the art and science of effective teaching.” In May, Drury created its first “Teaching and Learning Center.” Working out of our new digs on the second floor of the library, the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) aspires to be a space for people, projects and initiatives that advance the art and science of effective teaching. We recognize the importance of collaboration in the pursuit of transformational learning environments and are committed to encouraging conversation, experimentation and research that contribute to a dynamic academic community at Drury University.


To fulfill this mission, we:

  • Promote faculty development and renewal during all stages of one's career.
  • Foster the adoption and sharing of innovative, inclusive, and effective teaching and learning practices.
  • Encourage research and scholarly conversation related to teaching and learning practices.
  • Provide instructional technology support and mentorship to faculty, staff and students in one-on-one and group settings.
  • Advocate for engaged learning initiatives on Drury's campuses and communities.
  • Promote a distinction between “learning” and “knowledge” to create an environment of curiosity and intellectual growth for faculty and students alike.

This fall, the TLC promoted a series of training workshops for faculty members to familiarize themselves with the latest updates to our online learning platform and learn about innovative new tech applications for the classroom. The TLC partnered with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations to offer two programs on grant seeking and grant writing. Pairing with other groups on campus, the TLC co-sponsored faculty research talks and workshops on the digital humanities and engaged learning. We’ve also resumed the time-honored Drury tradition of occasional Friday faculty lunch in order to collaborate on projects and share insights about best practices in the classroom.

Looking forward, the TLC plans a number of book groups and writing retreats, as well as more workshops and trainings designed to enhance existing pedagogies. We are proud that the traditional chalkboard classroom may always be the gold standard for great teaching at Drury, but we’re also eager to embrace new media, new technologies and a bright future.

Erin Kenny


Dr. Richard Schur Professor of English, Director of Drury Honors Program

Drury’s Honors Program was created in the late 1980s to help exceptionally prepared students engage in interdisciplinary inquiry and research. Over the past 30 years, this model has worked well and generated scores of high quality honors theses. Higher education, however, has been rapidly changing over the past decade, and Drury faculty and administration realized that it was time to transform the Honors Program.


“Today’s honors students are looking for “hands on” courses that allow them to take ownership over their education.” To better meet the needs of today’s students and the current job market, we will be launching a new honors curriculum for the 2016-2017 academic year. Today’s honors students are looking for hands-on courses that allow them to take ownership over their education. After a comprehensive review of its curricula, we have identified over 70 honors courses that emphasize student-directed learning. In these classes, students pose solutions to scientific, social, and cultural problems, engage in service-learning projects throughout the region, work with faculty on research projects, and dig deeply into the scholarly literature in their fields. The culmination of the program will remain the honors thesis, but the new curriculum will require each student to complete the thesis in their major and present their work at an academic conference. Honors students will also create online portfolios to document their honors activities, which they can share with graduate schools and employers.

Drury has also focused on improving the student experience for honors students. Upperclassmen started the Honors Student Association this past summer. The group hosts regular dinners with faculty, plans weekend trips, and comes together to attend local theatre shows and films. Honors students may also choose to live together in Living and Learning Communities (LLC) during their freshmen year.

With these changes, we believe that the Honors Program will be able to help today’s students realize their dreams for the future.

Rich Schur



“The future is bright for Drury’s College of Graduate Studies.”

Dr. Regina Waters Dean of the College of Graduate Studies

Drury awarded more than 100 master’s degrees in 2015. We are honored that these graduates, and the 4,700 alumni who preceded them, entrusted Drury with their graduate education and professional dreams. As the new Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, I am eager to advance Drury’s commitment to graduate studies and look forward to implementing initiatives in 2016 to deepen and grow our portfolio of degree offerings.

Currently, Drury offers master’s degrees in four areas: business, communication, education, and studio art and theory. These programs are led by passionate, responsive and dedicated directors who are committed to program quality and student learning. At the instructional level, our graduate faculty work tirelessly to shape and deliver outstanding learning experiences that seamlessly connect theoretical knowledge with practical applications.


Building upon this excellent foundation, we are excited to announce several new initiatives:

  • In January, the Department of Communication will launch a new Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership. It’s a 30-hour degree designed for individuals who aspire to lead nonprofit organizations or simply want to be a better board member or volunteer.
  • The College of Education is offering two new degrees. The Online Teaching program supports the growing number of educators who are faced with course delivery in an online environment, and the Instructional Leadership program meets the needs of elementary and secondary education teachers who want to lead, but not serve in an administrative role.
  • The Studio Art and Theory degree, an intensive three-year summer program, will be renamed in 2016 to Visual Arts to better capture the curriculum’s focus.
  • Finally, efforts are underway to develop educational opportunities (degrees and certificates) that serve employer-based cohorts who seek distinctive and timely professional development opportunities for employees. The Breech School of Business Administration is leading the way with an extension of the MBA degree that is designed for professionals working in healthcare administration.

The future is bright for Drury’s College of Graduate Studies. We aim to offer degrees that enrich the lives of students while enhancing their leadership potential in their respective professional fields. As we grow the breadth of our degree offerings and expand student accessibility to our degrees, I look forward to recognizing the achievements of an even greater number of graduates who choose Drury for their advanced degree.

Regina Waters



Aaron Jones Dean of the College of Continuing Professional Studies

The College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS) continues to focus on student success and access to education.

“CCPS is working to involve faculty members in the advising process to help facilitate student engagement and retention.” A few years ago, CCPS implemented a conditional admittance status for incoming students who previously struggled academically. This conditional admittance limits the number of classes a student can take and increases the advisor’s ability to oversee and communicate with the student. While the conditional admittance may decrease our total credit hours, the results have been worthwhile—students are succeeding in their classes and our overall default rate is falling. Our advisors continue to meet with students in person, and they have expanded these meetings to phone conferences, and soon, to video conferences. CCPS is working to involve faculty members in the advising process to help facilitate student engagement and retention.


CCPS recently inducted 89 members into the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society—one of our larger classes of inductees. These new inductees will begin serving as peer mentors to fellow students to help motivate and encourage them. In addition, CCPS has several alumni who are serving on the Alumni Council to encourage CCPS students to stay involved with Drury after graduation. We look forward to seeing our past students at future alumni events.

Our biggest news of the fall involves our Monett campus, as we received the incredible gift of the former United Methodist Church building from Glen and Sharon Garrett. The Garretts have longstanding ties with Drury, and this wonderful donation will help us to further expand our presence in Monett and the surrounding area. Our Monett location has experienced rapid growth over the last eight years, and this gift allows Drury to offer even more for this diverse population once remodeling is finished.

CCPS also launched a new degree program: an Associate of Science in pre-ministerial studies. This program is available completely online and gives ministry students early acceptance to the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This program also serves as an accompaniment to bachelor degree programs such as organizational communication and development, psychology and others. We are also offering our emergency management degree program online.

Our dual credit program has been growing rapidly as both parents and high school students seek affordable ways to begin a college career. We are happy to announce the launch of the Associate of Science in behavioral science as our first program that can be completed through dual credit seated and online classes. This unique program offers high-achieving high school students a chance to work on a college degree.

CCPS continues to explore and implement pathways to higher education through the use of online and blended classes. We will establish several new cohorts in the coming semesters to help students in our outlying sites a degree completion option. CCPS will also utilize technology to offer a variety of classes, including graduate-level courses, to areas in which students have been limited due to location constraints. We look forward to continuing the Drury tradition of serving those in underserved markets.

Aaron Jones

Promise for the Future


Dianne Johnson Vice President Development and Alumni Relations

It is alumni commitment to Drury students and to the future of Drury University that makes the difference.

“Total giving from alumni and friends topped $3.5 million in 2014-15.” Because of you and your dedication to Drury, our overall giving is on the rise. This includes undesignated support, which is up nearly 15% from last year. Total giving from alumni and friends topped $3.5 million in 2014-15. A major reason for the growth is the increased giving by our alumni through the Harwood Circle Society, alumni class gifts, and the Loyalty Society.

Your support and participation helped distinguish Drury University with the ranking of #1 Best Value Midwest Regional University in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2015. Alumni participation in class giving over $2.7 million helped Drury achieve this ranking.


More than participation, it is alumni commitment to Drury students and to the future of Drury University that makes the difference. Like all alumni who treasure memories of their time at Drury, you are helping current and future students share in the university’s unique, personalized educational experiences and engaged learning opportunities.

As we look to Drury’s future, we know it is more important than ever to attract new students and financially help exceptional students who can’t afford to attend our outstanding university. Recent national graduate surveys reflect that the average U.S. student graduates with $35,000 in debt. Drury students have fared far better and graduate with less debt than the state, regional and national averages.

To attract highly qualified students, to address the problem of rising post-graduate debt and to adapt to the rapid changes taking place in higher education funding, the university will introduce a new initiative to support direct financial need-based scholarships. Please look for information in the coming months about this opportunity to invest your money—dollar-for-dollar—in scholarships for Drury students. The impact of your investment will be immediate and direct—giving new students the chance to attend Drury, get a first-class education and create memories of their own that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

In the meantime, your participation and support as alumni and friends to The Drury Fund, your college or school fund, and scholarships continues to sustain one of the best college values in the Midwest.

Dianne Johnson


The longstanding relationship between Drury and Ferrell-Duncan Clinic is growing even stronger. The clinic is providing $30,000 annually over the next five years to create three new programs for undergraduates seeking careers in the medical field.

The agreement strengthens the longtime connection between the clinic and the university, furthering both organizations’ mutual goal of enhancing the state of the healthcare industry in southwest Missouri. The deal is a win-win, bolstering Drury’s historically strong pre-med program while adding a valuable physician recruitment channel for the clinic.


The connections between Drury and Ferrell-Duncan run deep: Ferrell-Duncan’s co-founder Dr. Thomas Ferrell was a Drury alumnus; Dr. Loren Broaddus ’57 is a life trustee; and 10 Drury alumni currently serve as physicians at the clinic.

“Being a physician is a lifelong journey,” says Dr. Broaddus. “I was a different person professionally when I retired than when I started. I took care of three generations of families, and there was a maturation of compassion that comes about from understanding that you take care of people—not diseases.”

The new programs include:

Loren Broaddus Medical Service Scholars – This initiative will build upon the Drury Health Services Corps (DHSC), which sends pre-med students to Jordan Valley Health Clinic for a structured volunteer experience. Drury will now expand that program and send students to other medical facilities following their work at Jordan Valley.

Thomas Ferrell Medical Relief Travel Grants – These grants will provide funding for travel associated with participation in medical relief programs. Such efforts offer valuable opportunities for students to work with medical professionals providing healthcare to underserved populations.

Douglas Duncan Research Experience in the Natural Sciences (RENS) Fellowship – This program will provide summer funding for students in biomedical research under the direction of a member of the natural sciences faculty.

An additional portion of the agreement will place a practicing physician from the Ferrell-Duncan Clinic in a fellowship position in Drury’s Department of Biology. The physician fellow will teach an annual course in clinical medicine, with lecture and clinical rotation experiences through Ferrell-Duncan, to third- and fourth-year pre-health sciences students.

Partnerships like this put Drury graduates at an advantage as they work toward establishing lives and careers of meaning and purpose.



Dr. Daniel Ponder L.E. Meador Endowed Chair of Political Science
Professor of Political Science

Many who grew up in or near Springfield have known the name L.E. Meador as we played and swam at the park that bears his name. But what we might not have known is that Meador was a professor of political science at Drury College and an intellectual powerhouse in Missouri state and local government. Now, Drury’s Department of Political Science is using the Meador endowment to establish the L.E. Meador Center for Politics and Citizenship.

The Center represents the ideals best expressed by Meador: “I had in mind my chief objective to impress upon my students the importance of solving the many perplexing problems and questions that they will meet in the society in which they live. They should take a constructive and active part in trying to bring about a more democratic and more hopeful world.” The Center’s work inspires and engages the Drury community toward those goals.


The Center has established scholarships to support students’ study abroad/study away, community engagement and scholarly work. Additionally, we have established a theme-based speaker series. The 2015–2016 inaugural year theme is “Created Equal: Civil Rights, Liberties and Citizenship.” New Yorker columnist and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin gave the inaugural speech on October 28 at Drury. In March 2016, University of California Professor Rodney Hero, the foremost expert on racial politics and immediate past president of the American Political Science Association, will visit Drury to talk about “Race, Ethnicity, and (In)Equality in American Politics.” Next year’s series is titled “45: Prospects and Challenges for the 45th President.”

Stay tuned as the Meador Board of Advisers—composed of faculty, students and community members—and I host Wilson fellows, and develop engagement programs, including high school outreach and an immigration clinic. Visit us next time you’re on campus, or visit

Dan Ponder



Whether you are a recent graduate or a longtime supporter, you are each incredibly valuable and important to the future of Drury.

“When you give to Drury, you are helping to sustain Drury's vision for today and tomorrow.” When you give to Drury, you are helping to sustain Drury's vision for today and tomorrow. Through The Drury Fund, your annual contributions provide needed scholarship assistance to our undergraduate and graduate students, ensure students’ engaged learning experiences and support our outstanding faculty. Gifts to The Drury Fund—no matter the size—have an immediate and valuable impact on Drury students and our institution.

It’s easy to make a tax-deductible gift to Drury University. For gifts to The Drury Fund, you can use a check, cash or stock. If you wish to make monthly installment gifts, consider using a credit/debit card at Gifts of stock, real estate and bequests can provide tax benefits or even a fixed stream of income for you. Gifts of all kinds may be designated for immediate or current use or as a long- term investment through an endowment. Whether giving through The Drury Fund or a bequest, your support may be undesignated or allocated to a particular school or program. For more information on how to donate, visit

Many companies match your contributions. Contact your human resources office and inquire about a matching contribution. If so, you could double or even triple your gift. Questions? Contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 888-353-7879 or



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