Engaged Learning Summit highlights community action

Community engagement is a lynchpin of education at Drury University, and a recent event spotlighted students’ efforts  to reach out beyond the campus’s borders.

Drury’s first Engaged Learning Summit was a chance for local leaders to hear first-hand from students who are translating their course work into community action in a variety of ways. The efforts are also summarized in a new Annual Community Engagement Report available online.

“We are committed to measuring our worth in part by our capacity to leave the Ozarks better than the way we found it,” Charles Taylor, vice president for academic affairs, told those gathered.

When measured in time and dollar value, that worth is large indeed. Drury students provide more than 148,000 hours of local service annually, and the estimated value of those hours is more than $2.8 million.

Students discussed projects such as multi-year study of invertibrates and water quality in Jordan Creek. The data collected and analyzed by environmental science students could help guide the City of Springfield’s efforts to further update the waterway with a more natural streambed. Another highlight was the “Art of Space” projects undertaken by architecture students who create interactive spatial art installations during events such as First Friday Art Walks.

Former Springfield Mayor Tom Carlson listens to Drury architecture students describe "Art of Space."

Former Springfield Mayor Tom Carlson listens to Drury architecture students describe “Art of Space.”

Others included Drury Scholars, which gives local African-American middle and high school students a taste of the college experience, and the Intergenerational Rock Band, which pairs music therapy students with older community members to perform live concerts together.

“What is good for Drury is good for the community, and vice versa,” said Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce President Jim Anderson. “This event is the embodiment of what’s good for Drury and the community.”

Brian Fogle, president of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, appreciated hearing from the students themselves.

“It’s a rewarding experience to see students so engaged in the community, and excited to talk about their work and impact,” Fogle said. “Not only will that benefit them throughout their lives, it should benefit Springfield as they feel more connected to our community.”


Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Nonprofit educator Marcia Mitchell to speak at Drury’s May commencements

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 8, 2014 — Marcia Mitchell will serve as the keynote speaker for Drury University’s two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 17, at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Mitchell will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Drury president Dr. David Manuel will address graduates at a commencement for the first time, as he completes his inaugural year in the university’s top post.

The first ceremony, for Day School and graduate students, will be held at 11:30 a.m., when 293 undergraduate degrees and 54 graduate degrees will be conferred. The second ceremony, for the College of Continuing Professional Studies, will be held at 3 p.m., when 219 bachelor’s degrees and 97 associate degrees will be conferred.

Mitchell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education from Drury in 1967. After her daughter, Missy, was born legally blind, Mitchell saw a need for educational services for children like her. In 1972 she co-founded The Little Light House, a faith-based center in Tulsa dedicated to providing therapeutic intervention and early education to children with disabilities on a tuition-free basis. Professional staff and volunteers work with students who struggle with challenges such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, deafness and much more.

The Little Light House’s many accolades include being named as the nation’s 536th “Point of Light” by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, Outstanding School of the Year by the International Christian Accrediting Association in 2003, and recipient of the ONE Award for Oklahoma’s top nonprofit by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. Mitchell herself has won the Whitney Young Jr. Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America and has been inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.

“Marcia Mitchell is one of a long line of Drury graduates who have made important contributions to the improvement of society and to the betterment of their communities,” Manuel says. “Her work with children who have special needs and their families has gained national attention and is the model for many other similar providers. Drury University is fortunate to count Ms. Mitchell as one of our graduates and is pleased to honor her with the Honorary Doctorate.”

Media: Members of the news media are invited to photograph or videotape the graduation ceremonies. Please contact Media Relations Director Mike Brothers about coverage plans or for more information about 2014 graduates.

Public contact: Dr. John Taylor, (417) 873-6356, jtaylor3@drury.edu


Winners named in annual Startup Drury business plan competition

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 7, 2014 — Following weeks of hard work, the winners of the “Startup Drury” competition were recently chosen. The competition is sponsored by Drury’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and is open to students of all majors who think they may have “the next big idea.”

Ten teams made live pitches before the judges in April, following five weeks of working together to form an idea for a business and create a business plan. Teams could have one or more members and each team was assigned a mentor from the community. The mentors met with their teams in person or electronically throughout the process.

The winners were:

Overall winner  – Teleigh Martinez, for “Elektro Sustainable Dance Club;” $1,000 prize

Runner-up – Ali Barnes, Isaac Weber, Grant Brallier and Josh Avers, for “Yoga U;” $500 prize

Honorable mention – Melissa Buckner and Jake Jobes, for “Audio Vortex;” $250 prize

Broadest Appeal – Audio Vortex. This project will have the opportunity to raise capital via CrowdIt, the Springfield-based crowd funding website.

Best Green Business Model – Elektro Sustainable Dance Club

Best Social Business Model – Cody Stepp, Dakoda Trithara, Albeejohn Hummel and Rudy Daus for “EcoFin.” This project will represent Drury in the Barrentine Value and Ventures Business Plan Competition at Texas Christian University in 2015.

Judges for the competition were Rob Wheeler, owner of Marbeck Appliance Parts; Christine Daues, owner of Granolove; Jason Graf, founder of CrowdIt; Kailey York, partner at Clayton, York & Hopp, CPAs; and retired entrepreneur Leon Combs.

The presenting sponsor was Marbeck Appliance Parts. CrowdIt, Engineered Packaging and Chuck Banta were supporting sponsors.

Team mentors included Steve Nurnberg, Chris Jarratt, Chuck Banta, Hallie Sale, Terri Thornton, Brad Moulder, Lyle Foster, Loa Freeman, Jim Conley, Paula Adams, Terry Reynolds, Brenda Jackson, Sara Cochran and Katie Henderson

For more information, contact: Dr. Kelley Still, Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, (417) 873-7458 or kstill@drury.edu.


Seven political science students present original research

After almost a year of gathering data and developing a thesis, seven political science students recently presented their original research at the Midwest Political Science Research Conference at Park University in Parkville, Missouri.

All Drury students in the political sciences department complete a capstone course in the fall and create a research proposal of a topic of their interest. These seven students took their proposals a step further and actually gathered statistics and data to complete a study.

At the conference, students were divided into different panels based on their research topic. A discussant provided feedback on both their papers and presentation, and opened discussion for attending audience members.

Max Byers, a senior majoring in American Political Studies, presented “The Effect of Democratic Party Mobilization on Black Voter Turnout” and worked closely with his professors throughout the research process.

“Voter turnout is one of the most studied topics in political science, so I had to dig through a ton of information to determine what was meaningful and what was relevant,” Byers said. “It was eye-opening to see how much work goes into journal articles.”

Byers is currently an intern for Meryll Lynch and hopes to receive his MBA in the future and work as a financial analyst.

Lindsay Lehmen, a senior double majoring in Mathematics and Politics and Government, presented “Voting Isn’t Fair: The Underlying Voting Power Distribution of the United States’ Electoral College.” Lehmen’s research doubled as her senior-year Honors project.

Lehmen began her research in January 2013 after she studied the power index in her math senior seminar class. In the fall, she interned with the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and had the opportunity to do much of her research in the Library of Congress. She was still enrolled as a full time student at Drury and completed class work in D.C.

Lindsay Lehmen

Lindsay Lehmen

Seeing the presentations from a variety of students from other universities left Lehman with a strong sense of pride in the work she and her fellow classmates had done at Drury.

“It was clear that Drury has an incredible research requirement for their students,” Lehmen said. “All of our professors really pushed original thinking instead of piggybacking off of someone else’s research. The discussant was really impressed with my project and it was big confidence booster.”

Other student researchers and their topics included: Lexi Brewer, “How Internal Factors of States Influence International Diplomacy;” Kate Elam, “More than Material: Explaining Public Support for Environmental Protection in Western Democracies;” Garrett Hurd, “Contemporary Conservatism in America;” Dakoda Trithara, “South China Sea: A U.S. Foreign Policy Dilemma;” and Aaron Tucker, “Corporatism, Economic Equality, and Unionized Labor: An Empirical Survey.”

Lehmen attributes her and her classmates’ success at the conference to Drury’s small class size and the study-faculty interaction.

“Our professors really know our strengths and capabilities, sometimes better than we know them ourselves. We’re not just a number to them.” Lehmen said. “We have incredible faculty that care about our success and I’ve never felt like I was on my own. They were there every step of the way.”


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, an English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story originally appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Drury, North Arkansas College sign reverse transfer agreement

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 5, 2014 — Drury University and North Arkansas College (Northark) in Harrison, Arkansas, have finalized a new agreement that enables students to retroactively earn an associate degree by combining their Northark credits with those earned at Drury.

The Reverse Transfer and Articulation Agreement allows Northark students to transfer back academic credits for course work completed at Drury to satisfy associate degree requirements. This means students who have earned some but not all of the required credits for an associate degree could be awarded both the two-year and four-year degrees at the same time, provided all requirements are satisfied.

In addition, Drury University and Northark are working together to provide students with transfer guides to outline coursework required for bachelor’s degree completion options through the College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS) at Drury.

“This agreement allows both Northark and Drury to help our respective students complete their degrees and get the recognition they deserve,” says Aaron Jones, Dean of Drury CCPS. “It gives them credit where credit is due and makes them more attractive to employers.”

As part of the agreement, Drury is extending a 10 percent reduction in tuition costs for all Northark students pursuing a bachelor’s degree from Drury CCPS if the student has earned an associate degree from Northark. Drury is also extending a 10 percent reduction in tuition costs for all Northark employees seeking a bachelor’s degree from Drury CCPS.

A celebration ceremony with representatives from both institutions was held on April 29 at on Northark’s Center Campus in Harrison.

For more information, contact: Aaron Jones, Drury CCPS Dean, (417) 873-6829 or ajones11@drury.edu; or Kristy Nelson, CCPS Director of Marketing, (417) 873-7317 or knelson008@drury.edu.


Summit will highlight Drury’s present and future engaged learning efforts

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 30, 2014 — Drury University will host its inaugural Engaged Learning Summit on Friday, May 2 to discuss the many ways in which students, faculty and staff are reaching out beyond the campus to enrich our community. The summit also marks the beginning of an enhanced collaboration with community leaders to strengthen these efforts.

The event is by invitation only but media are invited to cover the summit. The summit will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center, located on the southwest corner of Drury Lane and Bob Barker Boulevard.

Drury leaders and students will report on the already robust state of community engagement at the University, as well as look ahead to the “Drury Connect” concept, which aims to strengthen those efforts. The heart of Drury Connect is the establishment of nine advisory councils in areas that include the environment, business and economic development, healthcare, the performing arts and architecture. Members of these councils include some of the region’s most influential leaders who will help shape Drury’s academic and community agenda in each area. Several of those who have committed to serve on a Drury Connect advisory council will be in attendance Friday.

“Springfield’s history of collaboration between town and gown is one we cherish and are committed to strengthening,” says Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We want to demonstrate the added value we can provide to the community we serve, and show the community that this is the lens through which we view the work of educating our students.”

In addition to an overview of Drury Connect, several students will be on hand to make poster presentations about their recent engaged learning efforts. These efforts include work with local schools, performing arts projects, architecture and design projects, and more.

For more information about the Engaged Learning Summit and Drury Connect, contact: Dr. Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs, (417) 873-7391 or ctaylor@drury.edu


Season’s final Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra concert features Mahler

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 29, 2014 — The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra (SDCO) will present its final concert of the year at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 1 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts. The concert is free, although donations help insure the orchestra’s continued operations.

Finishing its season of “First Symphonies,” the orchestra will perform the mighty Symphony No. 1 (once subtitled “Titan”) by Gustav Mahler – marking the first time the SDCO has performed a work by this composer. The concert will also feature Charles R. Hall Young Artist winner pianist Mei Mei Chao, who will perform the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saens.

The Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra is southwest Missouri’s regional community orchestra. Founded in 2005, the 90-plus-member ensemble comprises a combination of Drury students, students from most of Southwest Missouri’s regional universities, professional performers and educators, and dedicated community members. Now in its 9th season, the SDCO presents a yearly four-concert season of orchestral masterworks — all free and open to public.

For more information, visit sdco.drury.edu or find the SDCO on Facebook.

Media contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, SDCO Music Director & Conductor, at (417) 873-7298 or ckoch@drury.edu.


Founder of Living Lands & Waters will speak at Drury on April 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Apr. 28, 2014 — Drury will host Chad Pregracke, the President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W), at 6 p.m. tonight in Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center.

LL&W is the world’s only “industrial strength” not-for-profit river cleanup organization. Pregracke formed the organization at age 23 after spending his life growing up and working on the Mississippi River. Over the last 16 years, the organization and its volunteers have removed over 7 million pounds of garbage out of the United States’ rivers.

LL&W has also broadened its mission to include a MillionTrees project and an Adopt-A-River Mile Project, as well as a floating classroom aboard a barge that Pregracke and his crew live on 7 months of the year.  Its goal is to teach students, educators and individual citizens about the value of rivers and natural resources. Pregracke was recently named the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year.

His presentation, “Helping to Clean America’s Rivers: From the Bottom Up,” will discuss his life growing up on the Mississippi and how his experiences led to a career in conservation. This event is free and open to the public, and is part of Drury’s 2014 Earth Day.

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Wendy Anderson at wanderso@drury.edu.


Drury hosts first International Culture Fair for local schools April 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Apr. 28, 2014 — Drury hosts an International Culture fair for local school students in the Findley Student Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

About 400 students from Boyd, McGregor, Pipkin, and Central will be attending the fair.  Throughout the day, students will have the chance visit 11 booths representing 13 different countries. Drury volunteers will lead the students through the fair to learn more about each country’s culture and language.

At each booth, students will also participate in a traditional activity from the represented country. Activities may include learning a traditional dance, playing an instrument, or tasting authentic food from one of the highlighted cultures.  Students will also receive a passport booklet with questions relating to the country and receive a stamp in their passport after each visit.  They will also receive souvenirs related to the fair and their visit to Drury.

“The hope is that student will not only learn about what life is like around the world, but that they will also grow to understand and appreciate the incredible cultural diversity here in Springfield,” says Dr. Heidi Backes, assistant Professor of Spanish at Drury. “I am very excited to be able to offer this experience to local students, and my campus volunteers are equally thrilled to get to share their love international culture and travel.”


“Reflections” features work by local street photographers at C-Street Gallery

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 28, 2014 — The Drury on C-Street Gallery will open “Reflections” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2, at the Drury on C-Street Gallery, located at 233 E. Commercial St. Curated by Drury Professor Emeritus, Tom Parker, the exhibit will highlight the photography of area street photographers Steven Spencer and Andrew Harris.

Steven Spencer says of the show, “I do believe unless you bring Truman Capote in to make something better this show is going to rock. So as I always tell Tom Parker, you better get extra crackers because we’re going to break the record.”

The reception will feature musical entertainment by Orlando native and producer DJ Nick Fury. Food and drink will be provided.

“Reflections” will run May 2-16, 2014. Gallery viewing hours after the opening reception will be 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call (417) 873-6359 or visit Drury on C-Street’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DruryCStreet.

The Drury on C-Street Project is an initiative by Drury University, in partnership with other local organizations, to establish a Drury Center on Commercial Street. This center includes an art gallery, a business resource center, space for weaving looms, architecture classroom, and a multi-use area for additional classes and seminars. The Drury on C-Street Gallery is a professional, student-run gallery featuring emerging and established artists. The Gallery aims to inspire and enrich the community through a diverse, quality experience. To further its goals, the Gallery strives to create and maintain strong local partnerships.