Drury Lane: News Around Campus

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Trova sculpture restored, returns to Pool Art Center

After a trip to St. Louis for some much-needed restoration, Ernest Trova’s sculpture “Abstract Variation” returned to the Pool Art Center on Drury University’s main campus thanks to funding from alumna and longtime Drury supporters Dr. Mary Jane ’46 and Earl Pool. The new and improved three-ton steel sculpture was lifted into place by a crane in the early afternoon of Aug. 14. For many years, water had slowly damaged the piece by infiltrating parts and rusting bolts. After a portion broke Trova sculpture restored, returns to Pool Art Center off, the sculpture headed to St. Louis for restoration by Trova expert Nick Burgett of SOAC Fabrication. Burgett has restored Trova sculptures across the United States for more than 30 years. A world-renowned artist, Trova originally donated the sculpture to Drury in 1979, following a 1971 solo exhibition of his work in the Harwood Gallery. The piece was installed in front of Lydy Hall on Benton Avenue and in 2004 moved to Pool Art Center. Trova was a prolific artist best known for his “Falling Man” series. He donated 40 sculptures to St. Louis County to start the Laumeier Sculpture Park in 1975. Pace Gallery represented Trova from 1963 to 1985, and major museums such as MoMA, the Tate, the National Gallery, the Smithsonian and the Walker Art Center own his work. In addition to this large abstract sculpture, Drury owns three prints by Trova. Originally from Clayton, Missouri, the artist passed away in 2009.

Drury recognized in multiple national rankings

Drury University is frequently noted by national outlets for outstanding value and academic excellence. In 2019, the university built on that tradition of excellence through three notable sources. Drury was again ranked by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

U.S. News & World Report top 20 in the Midwest
Drury boosted its standing in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges 2020” rankings, jumping nine spots to the No. 20 overall position on the Midwest Regional University list. The long-running U.S. News rankings are recognized as the most rigorous national ratings for colleges and universities. The annual list uses data on student outcomes, graduation rates, faculty resources, alumni giving and expert opinions to compare institutions.

In addition to landing in the Midwest Top 20, Drury racked up appearances on other “Best Colleges 2020” lists, including:

  • Ranked the No. 10 Best Value on the Midwest Regional list, which recognizes schools with outstanding quality-to-price ratios, according to U.S. News editors.
  •  Ranked No. 23 for Best Undergraduate Teaching in the Midwest Region. This list is based solely on surveys of top academics who were asked to name schools where they believe faculty and administration have an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.
  • Ranked No. 42 on Top Performers for Social Mobility in the Midwest region. The list identifies schools that do well in graduating students who were awarded federal Pell grants.
  • Drury was also recognized by peers in the region for the quality of its business school programs.

Princeton Review top 385
For the second consecutive year, The Princeton Review named Drury one of the top 385 schools in the nation – putting the university among the top 13 percent of America’s 3,000 four-year colleges.

The 2019 edition of The Best 385 Colleges ranks schools based on surveys of 138,000 students at top colleges that include a wide representation by region, size, selectivity and character. Published annually since 1992, the book includes detailed profiles of each college with rating scores in eight categories.

Drury’s vibrant campus atmosphere helped the university rank No. 8 on TPR’s short list of schools where students from different types of backgrounds say they interact frequently and easily; and No. 20 on the “Best College Radio Station” list thanks to KDRU-FM. Both rankings are new for Drury this year.

Kiplinger’s top 400
Drury was again named one of the best values in American higher education by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Drury is one of 44 private universities in the Midwest on Kiplinger’s list of 400 Best College Values. The analysis is based on objective measurements of academic quality and affordability.

MBA program launches real-time, synchronous video format

The Breech School of Business Administration’s highly regarded MBA program is now more accessible. Starting in fall 2019, the fullyaccredited 30-hour master’s degree was made available entirely online – but with a twist. The new format goes beyond the typical online offering. Students and professors meet for class via synchronous video conferencing, blending the convenience of distance learning with highly engaging and personal classroom experiences.

“Professors will be able to see your face and know whether or not you understand the material, just like in the classroom,” says Dr. Robin Soster, director of Drury’s MBA program. “Face-to-face interactivity is what we do best at Drury, and we’re extremely excited to begin offering our MBA in this format. I think students are going to love it.”

Students use Zoom meeting technology to interact with professors, classmates and guest speakers in real-time from their home or office, ensuring they can participate in the valuable dialogue, networking and teamwork that are the program’s hallmarks.

While online MBA programs are common, synchronous video options are less so, especially in the Midwest. According to Best Colleges, only four of the top 10 MBA programs in the country offer a 100 percent online synchronous option.

“We’re eager to continue Drury’s tradition of being a regional leader in MBA programs,” Soster says.

The synchronous option is offered in addition to the traditional on-campus MBA courses. Interested students can apply to claim a spot as class sizes are capped at 30 participants.

Alumni donors buck national trend, increase total 9.4%

The number of Drury University alumni donations increased significantly for the year, signaling strong support for the direction of the university and the new Your Drury Fusion academic experience.

During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the number of alumni who gave to the university increased 9.4 percent, bucking a years-long national trend in higher education. Alumni giving at all colleges and universities has decreased steadily for nearly two decades, according to the National Council for the Support of Education.

“Our connections with alumni are invaluable,” says Amy Amason, executive vice president for development and campaign director. “Universities across the country understand their institutions are only as strong as the alumni who support it, which is why we are so grateful to each and every Drury alumnus who made a gift this year.”

Overall gifts and commitments totaled $16,510,734 during the fiscal year, which ended May 31, 2019 – another strong year of fundraising. Many of the gifts support elements of Your Drury Fusion, as well as the campus master plan, unveiled in 2017. The two initiatives tie together form and function in a vision for Drury’s future.

“This is an incredible total for a small, private university like Drury. Our alumni and friends are continuing to build on our momentum by investing in the vision we’ve cast together as the Drury community,” says Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd, who took office three years ago. “Their support makes it possible not only to meet our mission, but to do so in bold new ways that will have a lasting impact for generations to come.

“On behalf of all of us at Drury, I offer sincere thanks to everyone who donated this year.”

Crowder College partnership expands bachelor’s options

A partnership between Drury University and Crowder College will make it easier and more convenient for Crowder College students to continue their education and pursue a bachelor’s degree at Drury.

Crowder College President Dr. Glenn Coltharp and Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 4 at the Crowder College Cassville Instruction Center.

“We are excited to offer these degree options to Crowder students, and look forward to working with our colleagues at Crowder on teaching, advising and guiding students toward furthering their lives and careers,” says Kimbrea Browning, executive vice president of enrollment management and operations for adult and online education at Drury.

Through the partnership, Drury is providing upper-level seated and blended courses at the Cassville campus in two bachelor’s degree programs: Organizational Communication & Development and Behavioral & Community Health, with the option of Addiction Issues minor. Crowder College is providing 100- and 200-level courses toward these degrees.

Drury also agreed to provide academic advising and promotion of its four-year degree completion option to Crowder students in Cassville.

“Crowder College believes in providing opportunities for our students to be challenged in a supportive environment while working on their associate degree,” says Coltharp. “After graduation from Crowder, if a bachelor’s degree is necessary to meet their dreams, it is our hope that our students will be able to continue their education in a similarly supportive educational setting. Drury University provides this opportunity for its students, and we are honored to partner with them.”

The partnership builds on a 2017 articulation agreement providing students the opportunity to transition several degrees seamlessly into Drury’s bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration, Behavioral and Community Health, Emergency Management, Organizational Leadership and Health Services Management.

Crowder degrees that align with the Drury programs include: Associate of Arts – Business Administration, Computer Science, Information Science, Psychology, and Social Work; Associate of Science – Occupational Therapy Assistant; and Associate of Applied Science – Paramedical Science.

Mental health services expand with Burrell Behavioral Health partnership

Mental health is an increasingly important issue on college campuses and Drury University has taken steps to expand services for students. In April, the university inked an agreement with Burrell Behavioral Health to make more services available on campus. Under the partnership, a Burrell staff member is co-located at the on-campus Panther Clinic for up to 20 hours per week, building on the university’s existing team of two full-time counselors. The counselors will collaborate on services, education and outreach to the student body. Services are free for full-time traditional undergrads. In addition, students have access to up to five free visits per year with additional mental health professionals through the Burrell system.

Joslin named first director of Robert and Mary Cox Compass Center

Dr. Jennifer Joslin was named inaugural director of the Robert and Mary Cox Compass Center and associate vice president of academic affairs effective July 1. The Compass Center is a foundational component in the Fusion curriculum, which launched this fall. Joslin brings deep experience to the role, most recently serving as associate director of NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, in the Office of Academic Advising at the University of Oregon and in development at the University of Iowa. Joslin holds both a Ph.D. and a master’s in health and sport studies from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s in diplomacy and world affairs from Occidental College in Los Angeles.

The Princeton Review recognizes Drury in Guide to Green Colleges

The Princeton Review has again named Drury University one of the most environmentally responsible schools in the United States on its annual Guide to 399 Green Colleges. This marks a return to the list for Drury, which last made the guide in 2015. The Princeton Review uses data from annual surveys to evaluate a school’s environmental and sustainability-related policies, practices and academic offerings. Rather than focusing only on the institution’s environmental impact, the guide also considers the degree to which students themselves report that sustainability issues influence their education.

Caroline Conrad memorial bench dedicated outside Pearsons Hall

The Drury University community gathered Aug. 22 to pay tribute to student Caroline Conrad, who passed away June 25 after a car accident in her hometown. Following a remembrance service in Stone Chapel, a memorial bench was dedicated outside Pearsons Hall featuring her signature phrase, “Crushed it!” The location near the west entrance was chosen adjacent to three trees Conrad helped plant her freshman year. The Memphis native completed her sophomore year as a Drury bowling team member and Warren White Scholar.

Harris fills top HR spot, named diversity and inclusion officer

Just five months after joining Drury University as director of Human Resources, the university named Marilyn Harris diversity and inclusion officer. In the role, Harris will serve as point person for Drury, helping raise the visibility of diversity efforts; clarify goals and assess progress; and provide expertise on issues of access, equity, diversity and inclusion. With more than 20 years experience in human resources, Harris succeeds Scotti Siebert, who retired after 13 years as head of the department. Harris comes to Drury from the Monarch Fire Protection District in Chesterfield, where she was the human resources director since 2014. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southeast Missouri State University and a master’s degree in human resources management from Lindenwood University.

Prater wins Kenworthy Award

Drury Trustee Dr. Thomas Prater was honored with the 2019 Kenworthy Award For Outstanding Leadership from Leadership Springfield. Presented during the One Big Class Reunion event June 11, the award remembers Franklin Kenworthy and recipients must demonstrate a commitment to Leadership Springfield’s mission; involvement in community service activities; good citizenship; outstanding leadership qualities; and high moral and ethical standards.

Petty named Breech interim dean

Dr. Clifton Petty assumed the role of interim dean of the Breech School of Business in June. Petty, a professor of management at Drury since 1993, was appointed to a two-year term. After graduating from Baylor University in 1984 with his MBA, Petty took a job with Texas Commerce Bank. He served as a corporate banker for several years before getting his Ph.D. in management and organizational behavior at the University of Houston.

General Studies online program ranks among nation’s best

TheBestSchools.org ranked Drury University’s online bachelor’s degree in general studies as one of the top 20 in the country. Drury was ranked alongside schools such as Boston University, the University of Missouri and Saint Louis University. In evaluating Drury’s general studies degree, TheBestSchools.org praised its flexibility and noted it was “an excellent option for students who hold a technical associate degree but must earn a bachelor’s degree for career advancement.” The general studies degree is available through Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies and provides an alternative to conventional majors.

Marketing and Communications wins two international awards

Drury University’s Marketing and Communications team earned two international awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for its work to promote the university. Drury won a gold award for its 2018 Go Beyond brand video and silver for its overall marketing and branding campaign surrounding Your Drury Fusion. The CASE Circle of Excellence awards honor outstanding work in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing at colleges, universities and independent schools across the country and around the world. In 2019, CASE received 2,856 entries by 611 member institutions in 20 countries.

Faculty news and notes

“Vinification” was recently on display in California.

Rebecca Miller’s and Dr. Tom Russo’s works “Vinification” and “Dionysian Dreams” were selected to be in the national juried exhibition “Art of Wine With a Vintage Palette” at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts in Healdsburg, Calif. The show took place from June to July.

Dr. Shannon Cuff was elected to a three-year term as a member of the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education executive board as well as a Civic Design Team member of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ Parent Leadership Training Initiative.

Dr. Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols helped launched Drury’s first cosplay club. The organization celebrates creativity by providing a space for students to design and build costumes related to their favorite elements of popular culture.

Drury’s Omega Eta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society was named one of six Best Chapters for universities under 5,000 students. Dr. Elizabeth Paddock is the chapter’s faculty adviser.

The Springfield Art Museum invited Jackie Warren to design an installation dealing with the artistic work of Rose O’Neill. Warren also opened “My Life as Landscape” in the Pool Arts Center Gallery.

Dr. Peter Browning published “A Review of the Literature on Obesity, Health Measurement, and the Food Industry: A Theological Commentary on Three Approaches to These Problems.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a nearly $2 million grant to the 39th Judicial Circuit written by Chrissy Fortner, Dr. Vickie Luttrell and Dr. Jana Bufkin. Luttrell and Bufkin will also serve as project evaluators.

A peer-reviewed study by Dr. Michael Beshears and Dr. Michelle Beshears was published in the International Journal of Social Science  Studies.

Jacqueline Tygart

Jacqueline Tygart presented a paper, “DIY Storage: Reusing existing infrastructure in an archival vault to store framed artwork,” at the Missouri Association for Museums and Archives annual conference in October.