Drury community marks Banned Books Week with readings Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 27, 2016 — The Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society will host a banned book reading from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, at Olin Library on the Drury campus in recognition of national Banned Books Week.

“The Banned Books Reading has become one of our signature fall events,” said Dr. Kevin Henderson, Assistant Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and advisor to Sigma Tau Delta. “The list of what some districts still deem inappropriate for high school students – including ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘The Giver’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ – always inspires college students to celebrate what these books meant to them and what they have to offer all readers.”

Banned books stack

This year’s reading will feature some of these familiar selections but will also include novels such as “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Persepolis” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

“The Banned Books Reading is about the celebration of the transformative and liberating aspects of literature,” said Hayden Gann, president of Sigma Tau Delta and a senior English and writing major. “We believe that censoring or restricting the reading material for young people, or anyone, because it is deemed ‘inappropriate’ is a huge limitation to gaining a broader understanding of the world. Reading these banned books aloud for everyone is one great way to show our support for not only the texts, but for the freedom of ideas.”

In order to help make literature more available to everyone, Sigma Tau Delta will also accept book donations during the event for a Little Free Library located in the neighborhood west of Drury’s campus.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. Check out a list of the 10 most challenged titles of 2015.


Media Contact: Dr. Kevin Henderson, Associate Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences: (417) 873-7426 or khenders@drury.edu.

Drury’s overall Day School enrollment increases by 4 percent

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 22, 2016 — The largest incoming freshman class in five years, combined with a solid retention rate, has helped increase Drury University’s overall Day School enrollment by 4.1 percent.

The official enrollment for Drury’s traditional undergraduate population for the 2016-17 academic year is 1,372, an increase of 54 students over last year. Official totals are taken at the end of the third week of classes in order to account for late enrollees and transfer students.

Drury’s incoming freshman class is 38 percent larger than last year, with 500 new students on campus this year compared to 363 in fall 2015. This represents the largest year-over-year increase in freshman class size in Drury’s history. The Day School year-over-year retention rate was 83 percent, and the spring-to-fall retention rate was 90.7 percent. Day School students hail from 31 states and 53 countries around the world.

The boost in freshman enrollment was a result of a multi-faceted market expansion and faculty outreach plan, combined with new academic degree programs and new athletic programs. In addition, the overwhelming majority of first-time students (88 percent) are living on campus, which has helped push occupancy in Drury’s three residence halls to near maximum capacity. Two-thirds (66 percent) of all Day School students are living on campus this semester, which breaks a previous record of 62 percent.

Drury’s revamped recruiting process is in full swing this fall, with special “Fridays @ DU” events for prospective students happening nearly every week.

VIDEOS: Check out Freshman Move-In Day 2016 and the annual Service Plunge & “Fun on the Lane” kick-off events.


Dr. Rabindra Roy inducted into Drury’s Sciences Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 19, 2016 — Dr. Rabindra Roy was honored for his contributions to Drury University’s legacy of teaching and learning on Saturday when he became the inaugural inductee into the College of Natural & Mathematical Sciences Hall of Fame. A professor of chemistry, Roy retired from full-time teaching in May at the conclusion of his 50th year as a Drury faculty member.

Roy and his wife, Dr. Protima Roy, were joined by more than 100 colleagues, friends and current and former students during a reception and dinner at Trustee Science Center. The invited speakers praised Roy for his exacting standards, boundless energy and relentless positivity. Roy was lauded as a teacher and mentor, and for two accomplishments in particular that have defined his career: his dedication to undergraduate research and the founding of the Hem Sheela Model School in his native India.

Rabin Roy headshot 2016

During his tenure at Drury, Roy developed an innovative model for undergraduate research that has trained hundreds of future scientists and healthcare professionals. Thanks to this model, Roy and his students have made 485 scientific presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. He received grants and contracts totaling more than $4.5 million dollars to fund his research, and has published more than 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Roy has received numerous awards including the American Chemical Society National Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution in 1998. Roy has conducted collaborative research with more than 60 scientists around the world including Nobel Prize winners William Giauque and Johann Deisenhofer. Deisenhofer attended Saturday’s ceremony.

In 1995, Dr. Roy and his wife, Dr. Protima Roy, founded Hem Sheela Model School in Durgapur, India with 350 students. The two campuses of Hem Sheela have grown to 24 acres and now enroll more than 5,000 students. It is one of the most prestigious K-12 schools in India, routinely scoring at the top of national exams in science and math. It is a sister school of Drury University. In 2007, the Roys also founded a tribal school for first-generation learners.


Forty new students join Drury’s revamped Honors Program

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 14, 2016 — Drury University is proud to welcome 40 new students into its Honors Program for 2016-17. These talented individuals will experience a new honors curriculum under second-year director Dr. Richard Schur. The new curriculum emphasizes active and hands-on learning within Drury’s general education program and a student’s major course of study.

Honors students enjoying a float trip together

Honors students enjoying a float trip together

Drury’s honors classes ask students to pose solutions to scientific, social, and cultural problems; engage in service learning projects throughout the region; complete research projects; and dig deeply into scholarly literature. The program spans a student’s entire academic career and caps off with an in-depth senior project of their own choosing. Honors students have opportunities for connections outside the classroom through the Honors Student Association and through residential Living-Learning Communities, with themes such as “The Meaning of Life” and “Health, Happiness, and Well-Being.”

Honors graduates have recently been accepted into some of the best graduate schools in the country, including Harvard University, Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Missouri.

Admission into the program is competitive and selective. This year’s incoming Honors students had an average ACT score of 30 and an average high school GPA over 4.0. However, rather than relying solely on past academic performance, the best candidates are those students who exhibit character traits that lead to long-term success.

“We look for students who are ambitious, independent, hardworking, curious, and socially engaged with the world around them,” Schur says. “We believe that those are the attributes that both help a person succeed in the Honors Program and succeed in life.”

The 2016-17 Honors Program class includes the following students:

  • Kendall Alexander, a music therapy major from Mantorville, Minnesota
  • Cale Ambuehl, an architecture major from Edwardsville, Illinois
  • Erin Benedict, a history and English major from Owasso, Oklahoma
  • Dakota Bowen, a history and secondary education major from Springfield (Central High School)
  • Grant Bushman, a math and computer science major from Mount Vernon, Missouri
  • Meagan Carmack, an international relations, Spanish and math major from Conway, Arkansas
  • Kyra Cook, an undecided major from Springfield (Central High School)
  • Kayla Day, a biochemistry major from O’Fallon, Missouri
  • Ciera Duban, a political science major from Saint Peters, Missouri
  • Lindsay Duede, a political science and French major from Ozark, Missouri (Ozark High School)
  • Clayton Engel, a pre-health sciences and biochemistry major from Nixa, Missouri (Ozark High School)
  • Ryan Ewing, a biochemistry and physics major from Garland, Texas
  • Joe Fehr, a computer science and engineering major from Omaha, Nebraska
  • Ibby Fryman, a behavioral neurosciences and psychology major from O’Fallon, Missouri
  • Lisa Griffin, an architecture major from St. Louis, Missouri
  • Lexie Gutierrez, a music therapy major from Round Lake Beach, Illinois
  • Michael Henderson, a biochemistry major Willard, Missouri (Willard High School)
  • Kayley Hernandez, an undecided major from Rogersville, Missouri, (Logan-Rogersville High School)
  • Emily Hinkle, a biology major from Morrisville, Missouri
  • Jacob Hubers, a psychology and political science major from Holland, Michigan
  • Luke Huff, an architecture major from Springfield (Kickapoo High School)
  • Tara Long, a biology major from West Plains, Missouri
  • Shaundra Nash, an animation and writing major from Cainsville, Missouri
  • Zachary Norton, a business management major from Selgin, Illinois
  • Claire Reed, an architecture major from Ballwin, Missouri
  • Sary Rodriquez, a biochemistry and physics major from Springfield (Willard High School)
  • Jeana Scott, a psychology and sociology major from Raymore, Missouri
  • Kellie Sherrer, an education, Spanish and psychology major from Waynesville, Missouri
  • Jerrica Shine, a strategic communication major from Springfield (Kickapoo High School)
  • Katherine Sittenauer, a political science major from Topeka, Kansas
  • Mariah Skelly, a music therapy major from St. Charles, Missouri
  • Connor Stahl, a criminology major from St. Charles, Missouri
  • Chelsea Stitt, a biology major from Ottawa, Kansas
  • Kendall Stockard, a marketing and French major from Kansas City, Missouri
  • Taegan Sumners, a biochemistry major from Aurora, Missouri
  • Segadgey Thomas, an exercise physiology and French major from Bixby, Oklahoma
  • Javier Diaz Vicens, an architecture, arts administration and French major from Waynesville, Missouri
  • Katherine Vincent, a behavioral neuroscience major from Willard, Missouri
  • Madison Ward, a music therapy major from Yorkville, Illinois
  • Riley Wilson, a biochemistry major from Pierce City, Missouri

Visit www.drury.edu/honors for more information about the program and the students and alumni involved. Drury Honors is also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Drury earns high marks in 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 13, 2016 — U.S. News & World Report has once again ranked Drury among the Midwest’s top universities in its “Best Colleges 2017” publication, released today.

Drury is ranked No. 11 in the Midwest on the U.S. News “Best Regional Universities” list. Drury earned outstanding marks for its ability to deliver personalized attention to students, thanks to a high percentage of classes with 20 or fewer students (70 percent) and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10 to 1. Drury’s graduation and retention rates were also highlights.

Additionally, Drury was recognized as a Top 20 “Best Value School” in the Midwest (at No. 18) and was one of the Top 12 Midwest Regional Universities with the highest percentage of international students (13 percent).

(Please note: U.S. News creates separate lists for regional universities and regional colleges in some categories.)

The listings continue a trend of excellence for Drury, which has been in the Top 15 of the U.S. News “Best Regional Universities” list every year for the past two decades.

The rankings can be viewed online at www.usnews.com/colleges.

The U.S. News ranking comes on the heels of Drury’s selection as a “Best in the Midwest” University by The Princeton Review, and as a “Best Bang for the Buck College” by Washington Monthly magazine.

“It’s an honor to receive national recognition from publications such as U.S News & World Report, Washington Monthly and The Princeton Review,” says Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “We know the transformational power of a Drury education, and it’s wonderful to see others recognize that as well. It’s a testament to the dedication of Drury’s faculty, staff and alumni network.”

About the Rankings

U.S News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” rankings include nearly 1,400 schools nationwide, and are designed to give a quick comparison of the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as freshman retention and graduation rates and the strength of the faculty. The ranking system uses quantitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality, as well as the publication’s own researched view of what matters in education.


Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations: (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu.

Researchers unveil study on congregations’ community impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 9, 2016 — After two years of work, a team of researchers at Missouri State University and Drury University today released a report titled “Springfield Area Congregations Study: Profile and Community Engagement” that explored the dimensions and community impact of congregations in Greene and Christian counties.

“This study filled the gap in the community as there needed to be a study that shows how many churches there are, who they are and what they are doing,” said Dan Prater, Drury University executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “It reinforces the truth that community issues require community collaboration and change.”

Study Results 

The study focuses on congregations as part of the nonprofit sector and their engagement in social services, volunteer activity and other forms of civic activity. It not only complements Missouri State’s studies on social capital and civic engagement, but also serves as a companion report to Drury’s 2014 Nonprofit Impact Study.

A total of 176 congregations completed the study’s survey. Among the study’s key findings were:

  • Greene County has a higher density of congregations compared to other similarly sized counties nationwide
  • 16 percent of congregational leaders are women and 7 percent are members of a racial minority
  • 91 percent have at least one organized group for members such as Bible studies and social groups
  • 88 percent sponsor social service programs that serve the broader community
  • 82 percent provide volunteers for schools, social service and other community agencies
  • 77 percent of congregations have leaders who are involved in community activities
  • 90 percent of congregations collaborate with other congregations or community groups
  • Congregation size has the most notable effect on community engagement

“The most interesting finding for me is there is a high level of participation among all churches, but larger churches tend to be more involved,” said Dr. Catherine Hoegeman, Missouri State assistant professor of sociology. “The next step is to see why that is and if there are ways to offer partnerships with smaller churches who often do not have the same resources.”

The report was a collaborative effort among four researchers: Hoegeman, Prater, Christina Ryder, Missouri State sociology instructor and director of community based research at the Center for Community Engagement, and Matthew Gallion, Missouri State alumnus and CaseWorthy Inc. client support specialist.

“This study is a first-of-its-kind report providing an in-depth look at important traits and contributions of these groups in the Springfield area,” said Hoegeman.

Study design

The research team created a comprehensive list of 549 congregations. They followed the same definition of congregation used by the National Congregations Study (NCS), which includes a series of surveys done in 1998, 2006 and 2012 to find out about programs and other characteristics of American congregations.

To collect the information, the team designed a survey that included questions about congregational characteristics and activities, involvement of congregations’ leaders in community activities and congregation-sponsored volunteering at other organizations.

The questions were based on the NCS so comparisons could be made between congregations in the Springfield area and nationwide.

For more information, contact Dan Prater, executive director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at (417) 873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu; or Hoegeman at 417-836-5683.


Drury Sigma Pi chapter recognized at national convention

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 9, 2016 – Drury Sigma Pi was recognized as a top chapter in North America at Sigma Pi International’s recent biennial Convocation, held in July in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The chapter received the Grand Council award for its accomplishments during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years. The award is presented to the top three chapters in each of the four size divisions. This is the ninth time the Drury chapter has received the award since its founding in 1982.

Members were also presented the Grand Chapter award — given to the top 25 chapters — and received recognition for achieving silver level in the Standards of Excellence chapter evaluation system.

Read more about the chapter and member accomplishments in the inaugural edition of the Drury Sigma Pi Annual Report.


The Princeton Review again names Drury a “Best in the Midwest” college

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 8, 2016 — Drury University has again been named one of the best colleges in the Midwest by The Princeton Review. The education services company included Drury in its online listing for “2017 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”

In its profile on Drury, The Princeton Review highlighted Drury’s academic rigor, the school’s personalized approach to learning and teaching, and its beautiful campus. Other factors included a focus on sustainability and global awareness thanks in large part to the fact that about half of DU students study abroad.

The Princeton Review solicits student feedback for its college guides and Drury students spoke highly of their teachers and faculty mentors. “The relationships I’ve developed with my professors are just as important to me as the relationships I’ve developed with my peers,” one student said. “Drury professors are some of the most interesting characters I’ve ever experienced,” said another. “You never know what you’re going to get, but you’ll never be bored.” Others remarked on the variety of activities available to them and the extent to which their peers are involved in campus life.

Editors made selections based on data the company collected from its survey of administrators at several hundred colleges in each region, as well as its staff visits to schools over the years, and the perspectives of college counselors and advisors whose opinions the company solicits. They also give careful consideration to what students enrolled at the schools reported about their campus experiences on its independent student survey designed to include the same types of questions prospective students might ask on a campus visit.

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. For more information, visit www.princetonreview.com.


Dr. Jana Neiss named as College of Continuing Professional Studies dean

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 7, 2016 — Drury University has appointed Dr. Jana Neiss as its next Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS). Neiss succeeds Aaron Jones, the continuing studies dean since 2012, who will transition to a new position: Chief of Staff to Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd.

Neiss will begin her duties in January 2017. She earned a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ozark Bible College in Joplin.

Neiss has deep roots at Drury, having begun her academic career as an adjunct CCPS faculty member in 1993. She then helped start Drury’s branch campus in Rolla in 1995. In 2008 she became the Director of CCPS’s Mid-Missouri Region. She and her husband, David, have two sons, Charles and Garrett, who both graduated from Drury – one from the traditional day school and the other from CCPS.

For the past six years, Neiss has worked as the Director of the Teacher Education Program at Missouri University of Science & Technology. In that role, she oversaw the university’s teacher certification curriculum, led accreditation efforts, and facilitated key external partnerships with public schools.

Jana Neiss

“Jana brings a deep knowledge of Drury, an understanding of adult education, established relationships in our CCPS communities, and a proven track record that make her uniquely qualified for this position,” said President Cloyd.

While at S&T, Neiss was recognized for innovative programming and curriculum work, including initiation of a STEM-focused elementary teacher certification, and co-directing more than $1 million in state grants for science education and quantitative literacy. She also was recruited to serve on several state and national boards and committees, including representing Missouri at the National Summit on Teacher Education and the Common Core, and chairing the Missouri Council of Education Deans and Directors. She was tapped by Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to serve on Missouri’s Network for Transforming Educator Preparation.

“I am excited to come back to Drury and reconnect with former colleagues and create new relationships with other members of the Drury community,” Neiss said. There’s a great level of enthusiasm about Drury’s recent successes and potential for future growth, and I look forward to being part of it.”

Jones will assume chief of staff duties full time in January, where he will work with President Cloyd, Trustees, faculty and staff to enhance communication, coordination, and transparency across the university. He will be responsible for accelerating the development of long-range institutional strategy and planning for the day school, CCPS, graduate studies and athletics.

“While this is a new position for Drury, it is a crucial role at many universities,” said President Cloyd. “Aaron will be an honest broker in synthesizing, compiling and articulating the opinions of Drury’s various constituencies.”

About CCPS

Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies offers bachelor and associate degree programs primarily in the evening at the main Springfield campus and at nine branch locations across the region. Academic programs are designed to meet the needs of adult students with hectic lifestyles that make traditional degree completion impractical. Additionally, CCPS offers online courses for undergraduate and graduate programs to enhance flexibility and quality of the education experience of Drury students.

For more information, go to www.drury.edu/ccps.


Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations – (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu.

Washington Monthly recognizes Drury as a “Best Bang for the Buck” school

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 6, 2016 — Washington Monthly magazine has recognized Drury University as one of the nation’s top values in higher education.

Drury has been named a Midwest Region “Best Bang For the Buck College” in the magazine’s 2016 college guide issue released this month. The “Best Bang for the Buck” list examines colleges that help students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices, according to Washington Monthly. Drury is No. 49 on the list. Drury was also named to Washington Monthly’s national list of best liberal arts colleges.

Drury has been recognized before for its outstanding value to students and families. U.S. News & World Report and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance both named Drury as a best value school in 2015.

Washington Monthly’s annual college guide began in 2005 as a counter balance to the dominant U.S. News & World Report Rankings, according the magazine. Washington Monthly’s lists are based “not on what (colleges) did for themselves, but on what they did for their country,” according to guest editor Kevin Carey, who directs the education policy program at the New America Foundation. All of the magazine’s rankings are based on three broad categories: social mobility, research and service.

The complete list of rankings are available online, as is more information about the magazine’s methodology.


Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations – (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu