Digital Health Communication Certificate program begins June 2

Drury University’s new Digital Health Communication graduate certificate program begins June 2. Enrollment remains open for the upcoming cohort.

Designed by communication research faculty and facilitated by professionals in the field of digital healthcare, the certificate program seeks to build students’ skills in the growing and converging fields of digital communication and healthcare technology.

Recently featured on and currently enrolling students from three continents, the innovative DHC certificate program is designed to be valuable, flexible and highly relevant to today’s healthcare workforce.

“Digital health technology is reshaping healthcare on a global scale,” says Jeff Riggins, program director. “Health researchers and professionals working in the field understand that this technology is most effective when combined with a strong focus on human communication. Our program intends to serve as a resource for those seeking to narrow the gaps that currently exist, while working to guide the industry into the future.”

Digital health communication is the intersection of digital and social technologies and healthcare. Examples may include using mobile apps for medical care and monitoring, using online communities for social support and patient education, or using social networking sites for public health preparedness and prevention.

“Our goal as digital health communicators is to understand this intersection and provide our clients the best counsel to navigate this emerging field,” says Sarah Mahoney, Director of Digital Health Practice at Weber Shandwick Public Relations, who is among the first professionals to present in the program. “The most important thing we can offer our clients is confidence. Healthcare companies need to feel confident in the communications tactics they employ, especially in a highly-regulated environment.”

The entirely online program consists of six one-month block courses. Classes may be completed as stand alone units or combined to earn the certificate. The limited number of participants per cohort (maximum of 16) provides the opportunity to tailor studies based on the specific areas of highest interest to the individual.

For more information about the DHC program, visit

Media contact: Jeff Riggins, Director of the Graduate Program in Digital Health Communication, at (417) 861-7041 or


Breech Business Week strengthens connections between business students, professionals

The inaugural Breech Business Week at Drury University kicked off today and will run through Friday, April 25.

Serving as one more way to help students be “job ready,” the week serves as a connection between Drury’s Breech School of Business Administration and the Springfield business community.

With events happening each day this week, the schedule includes networking opportunities, resume and social networking workshops, and guest lectures by area business professionals. Drury students will receive valuable insights and feedback from these professional connections, while business leaders learn what makes Drury graduates such highly valued employees.

Jim Hagale, President and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, addressed business students today and set the tone for the week, saying it’s going to be up to them to take on the systemic issues facing our economy and nation.

“The only thing that will change this is stellar leadership from the private sector and personal responsibility from you and your generation,” Hagale said.


Other events this week include a “Golf for Greece” fundraiser for children in Aigina, Greece, where Drury has a satellite campus location, on Tuesday; LinkedIn workshops on Wednesday; a speed networking event with alumni on Thursday; and an awards luncheon on Friday. Media are invited to cover the week’s events.

“The presentations by professionals in the field, along with other events of the week, will provide critical applications to business theory, and serve to inspire our students as they prepare for future leadership opportunities,” says Michael Shirley, director of the Breech School of Business Administration.

Breech Business Week is presented by the Breech Advisory Board, and sponsored by CoxHealth, BKD, Springfield Business Journal, Beth Pile, Great Southern, Smile Foto Booth and Amanda Kastler.

For more information, contact: Dr. Robin Sronce, Associate Professor of Management, (417) 873-7438 or


Music defies age at Intergenerational Rock Band concert April 22

Though tastes change from era to era, the love of music is something all generations have in common. This shared love of the “universal language” will be on display at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 22, at Clara Thompson Hall during the fourth annual performance of the Intergenerational Rock Band. The concert is open to the public.

The concert is part of Drury’s rapidly growing Music Therapy Program, now in its 14th year. It involves a mix of music therapy students and older adults from the Springfield community. This year’s concert features adults who are members of Drury’s Institute for Mature Learners.

Selections on Tuesday will include “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons; “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5; “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers; “In My Life” by the Beatles; “Roar” by Katie Perry; and more. There is no admission charge, but donations will be accepted to help purchase instruments for Drury’s Music Therapy Program.

“The Intergenerational Rock Band is a chance for people from different backgrounds to enjoy a shared love of music,” said Dr. Natalie Wlodarczyk, Director of Drury’s Music Therapy Program. “It also gives the students a great opportunity to work with a demographic that will likely be part of their clientele as music therapy professionals.”

Music therapy is an established profession that uses music to help people accomplish treatment goals in overcoming physical, cognitive, emotional or social needs.

For more information, contact: Natalie Wlodarczyk, Assistant Professor – Music Therapy, at (417) 873-7573 or


Advertising & PR Major Lands Coveted National Internship

Natasha Sanford, a junior majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and minoring in Web Communications and Design, was awarded a prestigious internship this summer with cosmetics company Urban Decay.

In June, Sanford will head to Newport Beach, Calif., as part of the 2014 American Advertising Federation Stickell internship program. Each year, a handful of outstanding students are selected for a 10-week internship and are matched at U.S. media organizations, advertising agencies, and client and supplier companies throughout the country. Forty-eight students were nominated this year as one of the best individuals from their AAF student chapters and only 16 were selected.

Sanford is the sixth student from Drury to earn this honor since 2005, showing the strength of Drury’s Communication Department and student body.


“The Stickell Internship program offers talented advertising students the opportunity to work alongside the best and the brightest in the integrated marketing communications profession,” said Dr. Regina Waters, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication. “Natasha is an outstanding student, and I am confident she will have much to offer the Urban Decay brand management team.”

After Sanford was nominated for the internship, she completed an application that included a cover letter, resume, ad critique and essay.

Sanford, who originally wanted to major in marketing but then “fell in love” with advertising and public relations, feels her Drury experience prepared her well for the internship. Sanford is on the AD Team, is the social media chair for the AD/PR club, is Vice President of Communication for the Student Government Association, and is actively involved in Greek life.

“I’ve learned so much from my classes, and all of the extracurriculars I’m involved in have helped me develop my leadership and communication skills,” said Sanford. “This summer will be a great opportunity to gain even more experience in the field, and I’m very thankful for everyone who’s helped me get to where I am.”


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

Community prescription drug take-back event at Drury April 25

Drury University and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency will host a prescription drug take-back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 25. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Drugs can be dropped off at Findlay Student Center, located on the circle drive at the end of Drury Lane.

Drug take-back events are an opportunity for people to prevent drug abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. In 2013, Americans turned in 324 tons (640,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in homes are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that previously suggested methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information, contact: Jamie Alexander, (417) 873-7423 or


Springfield’s first Nonprofit Impact Report will spotlight sector’s influence

What kind of impact do nonprofit organizations truly have in Springfield? While many would say their influence is indeed large, it’s often hard to quantify. A new report from Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Communication (CNC) seeks to answer this question.

The Nonprofit Impact Report – the first of its kind to be conducted in our area – contains information on more than 1,500 nonprofit organizations located within Springfield city limits. The data comes from IRS 990 filings, a recent nonprofit salary survey conducted by the CNC, the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and more. It is the result of 18 months of study.

The report will be released at a news conference at 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 23 at the auditorium in the Hammons School of Architecture building on the Drury campus. The event is open to the public and media are invited to attend. The report’s authors will be available for interviews immediately afterward. Parking is available in lots 1, 7 and 12, though spaces may be limited.

“Although most of the information used to create this report is publicly available, it takes time and expertise to analyze and dissect it all,” says Dan Prater, Director of the CNC at Drury. “The report provides solid data that helps reveal the full magnitude of what nonprofits do in our community – and turns out the impact is huge.”

The 44-page report contains information about the number and percentage of Springfield workers employed in the nonprofit sector, average annual budgets, nonprofit density compared to other metro areas, whether or not services are being duplicated, and exactly how well nonprofits are responding to the “red flag” issues identified in the long-running Community Focus Report. The information is also highly valuable to nonprofits themselves, as they are more and more often asked to provide hard data when seeking grants and donations.

The April 23 news conference will last about one hour and feature a panel of those who worked on the report, including Prater; Dr. Curt Gilstrap, Associate Professor of Communication at Drury; Dr. Sun-Young Park, Assistant Professor of Communication at Drury; and Dr. Sarah Smith, special advisor to the Center for Nonprofit Communication.

“Nonprofits are ultimately a public trust, much like government,” Prater says. “Our investment via donations means the whole community has a stake in what nonprofits do, and a stake in their success or failure. We believe this information will be helpful and insightful for both the nonprofits themselves and the community at large.”

The Nonprofit Impact Report will be made available free to nonprofit organizations and others in attendance at the end of the news conference. The report will be made available online afterward.

For more information, contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Communication, (417) 873-7443; or Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations, (417) 873-7390.


Drury’s Enactus Team Finishes Among the Nation’s Top Eight

Drury University’s Enactus team emerged as one of the top eight teams in the nation after placing second in their league of competition within the semi-final round at the 2014 Enactus USA National Exposition in Cincinnati last week.

“Our students thought outside the box this year and completed some incredible, unique projects,” said Kaitlyn Den Beste, Drury’s Enactus Director. “I am so proud of the work they’ve done. They have grown throughout the year, and their work has improved the lives of those around them.”

Drury has won the SIFE National Exposition three times, (2001, 2003, 2005) and went on to win the SIFE World Cup in 2001 and 2003. Enactus was formerly known as SIFE.

2014 Enactus USA National Champion Texas State University advances to the Enactus World Cup, which will be held in Beijing, China in October.

For more information on Enactus, go to


Professor’s Research Turns Architectural Plans into Virtual Worlds

Virtual reality technology is making mainstream headlines following Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift headset.  Though designed primarily as an entertainment and gaming device, the Rift headset also holds incredible promise as a powerful design tool.

David Beach, assistant professor at Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture, has spent the past three years working to apply VR technology to the field of architecture and design. He has specifically worked with the Oculus Rift hardware for about six months.

Now Beach, with the help of senior architecture student Sam McBride, is set to demonstrate the results of his research – namely, a custom software solution that takes plans built with today’s commonly used design software and turns them into virtual spaces designers and their clients can explore in three dimensions using the Oculus Rift.

Beach and McBride will demonstrate their work to area architects from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 at the Hammons School of Architecture auditorium. The event is open to the public and the media are invited to attend.

“The idea of virtual reality has been around for more than 20 years, but the technology is only just now becoming affordable and user-friendly,” Beach says. “The Oculus Rift is the tipping point for hardware, which then opens up countless possibilities in architectural design.”

The process Beach and McBride have developed is highly iterative, allowing design decisions to be made based on the visceral experience of exploring ideas in virtual space. Beach’s research has focused on making the use of VR technology as easy and affordable as possible for practicing architects. A firm would need to invest less than $2,000 and a few hours of training time to be able to port their existing designs into virtual space.

For more information, contact: David Beach, Assistant Professor of Architecture, (417) 873-7055 or


Fellowship Allows Professor to Study Lives of Former Slaves

Dr. Dan Livesay, assistant history professor at Drury, will spend July 2014 piecing together bits of history in hopes to uncover the life stories of slaves living during the colonial era.

Livesay was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities “We the People” Fellowship in African American History, a completive fellowship at the Rockefeller Library in Williamsburg, Va. The library contains the only existing records for several prominent Virginia planters of the eighteenth century. It also contains a specialized collection of books, manuscripts, letters and records from colonial America.

It is difficult for historians to understand the everyday struggles of those who lived through slavery — partially because many slaves could not write, did not have the resources to write, or simply because the records did not survive history.

Livesay hopes to illuminate the lives of slaves beyond the time they spent laboring.

“Scholars have looked at slaves’ lives primarily through the work that they did — picking cotton, cutting tobacco, harvesting sugarcane, etc.,” Livesay says. “My hope is that by fleshing out that later period in slaves’ lives, we can continue to uncover the humanity and lived experiences of those individuals whose lives were spent in extreme oppression.”

Daniel Livesay

A veteran of the research process, Livesay expects some tedious work, but he is excited by the possibility of what he may uncover.

“You never know what you’ll find,” he says. “Sometimes you can go days without turning up any relevant information. And some days you can be overwhelmed with information, and not have enough time to take it down. That’s both the frustration and thrill of doing work in the archives.”

Livesay received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 2010 and came to Drury in 2012. He teaches courses on the history of early America, transatlantic slavery and indigenous people in the Americas.

Livesay hopes to present his findings to the university and public this fall.


Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, a junior English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story first ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Arbor Day Celebration at Drury Planned for Friday, April 4

Drury University will host an Arbor Day celebration and tree planting at 11 a.m., Friday, April 4, just north of Olin Library. The event is open to the public and media are invited to attend.

The event centers on the planting of a several native trees, including a Redbud, a Yellowwood and three Linden trees. It will also include the reading of a proclamation by Mayor Robert Stephens and remarks by Dr. Gary Wright of Springfield’s Tree City USA Committee.

“We want to heighten awareness of and respect for the urban forest on campus,” said Betty Coe Manuel, Drury’s First Lady and an organizer of the event. “Our entire campus is involved in making Drury a pleasant and ‘green’ place to learn, live and work.”

Forest ReLeaf of Missouri recently recognized Drury with an Exceptional ReLeaf Award for planting projects in 2013. The award was presented to Assistant Director of University Grounds Joe Fearn at the Missouri Community Forestry Council conference in March. During the last two years, Drury has received more than 250 trees and shrubs from the nonprofit organization. Those plants were the foundation of a comprehensive campus landscape improvement. Several areas that were previously intensively maintained but underperforming have been replaced with stylized landscapes using native vegetation.

Fearn and the university grounds crew are making it a point to involve students in the planning of some campus landscaping, too. Sophomore finance major Ted Boland is the Student Government Association’s Vice President for Sustainability. He and Fearn are working together to see that the physical campus reflects students’ preferences through an upcoming survey.

“Current students want to make sure we have a campus that is not only beautiful and inviting today, but is also sustainable and still around for future Drury students – and the community – to enjoy,” says Boland, who is also helping plan the April 4 Arbor Day event.

For more information about the event or Drury’s forestry and grounds efforts, contact: Mike Brothers at (417) 873-7390.