Q&A with Dr. Shannon McMurtrey – Cybersecurity expert comes to Drury

Dr. Shannon McMurtrey comes to Drury this fall after 15 years teaching at Missouri State University. Dr. McMurtrey is a well-respected expert in the fields of both higher education and cybersecurity. McMurtrey will head the newly created Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate Program, and will bring his expertise to other courses in Drury’s Breech School of Business curriculum as well. As he enters the classroom environment at Drury, we asked him to tell us about his background and why a liberal arts university is such a good fit for a teacher in the tech field.

Question: What’s your background in this field?

Answer: “I started working in the industry while I was an undergraduate student, doing custom development for companies here in Springfield, which eventually evolved into us creating a shopping cart program in 1996. That company – Cart32.com – still exists, primarily as a payment gateway. From there, I was invited to teach a software development class at Missouri State. That’s where I discovered I had a love for teaching and felt like I had a future in the classroom. I shifted to focusing on education full time in 2003 and have been teaching since then.”

Shannon McMurtrey

How do you stay connected to the industry and up to date?

“One of the challenges in this field is just keeping current. One of the ways we did that at Cart32 was to study what the hackers were doing. We went to chat rooms and forums and just learned their techniques. We felt the best defense was to at least understand what the offense was doing. So I’ve always tried to stay current on hacking techniques. Today, it’s such a huge field that there are all kinds of really good classes and trainings that you can participate in. So I also attend those kinds of classes and maintain industry certifications to stay current.”

What do you love about teaching?

“I love seeing that light bulb go off. When I first started teaching programming I noticed that I connected with the students who were struggling but really wanted to learn. As long as they had that desire to learn it really ignited in me that desire to teach. And I just really like that. I enjoy seeing the same passion that I have for this industry in students as they learn and grow. I just truly enjoy that.”

What has attracted you to Drury and our way of doing things here?

“You know, it’s exactly that. It’s the focus on the student and the excellence in teaching. There seems to be a real appreciation for excellence in the classroom and for connecting with students. That’s what attracted me to teaching to begin with. So I think being in an environment where that skill is highly valued will challenge me to continue to get better as a teacher and do better in the classroom, so that environment is very challenging to me.”

How will you bring your cybersecurity expertise into the classroom at Drury and how will you incorporate it into the business curriculum?

“Students will see it in the current courses such as the management information systems course at the undergraduate level and one that’s currently part of the MBA program. I will definitely be incorporating cybersecurity into those courses to help students appreciate the role they play in cybersecruity. I think that’s something that a lot of businesses are starting to wake up to, is the lack of leadership in that area. So helping future business professionals understand their role in cybersecurity is something I’m very passionate about.”

Are you a business teacher or a computer science teacher?

“It’s a great question. When earning my undergraduate degree, I started off in computer information systems. But I changed it to marketing because I realized it was going to be more important for me to learn what business leaders needed from their systems as opposed to learning how to create the systems, because programming languages change and technology changes. As soon as you learn one language it’s almost outdated. I feel it’s more important for people in our field to understand business and the need that businesses have to seek competitive advantages. How can we use technology in a strategic way for competitive advantage? So I think I would consider myself certainly more of a business teacher that leverages technology.”

Business and technology certainly overlap. But why come to a liberal arts institution to teach them?

“One of the dangers we have in our field is that if you focus exclusively on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – you run the danger of creating robots. But embedding that into a liberal arts education is really appealing to me. Some of the most creative solutions in software and cybersecurity, really anywhere in technology, come from artists, to be honest with you – people who have interests beyond technology. They tend to be artists or painters; they tend to be very creative people. One of the things that really attracts me to this field is the diversity of the people involved in this profession.”


Walmart Foundation grant moves Drury closer to LED goal

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 11, 2016 — Drury University is well on its way to its goal of an entirely LED-lit exterior campus thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation. The push for an LED-lit campus supports Drury’s ongoing commitment to sustainability in all areas of university operations.

Drury recently received a $2,500 Walmart Foundation Community Grant from the East Kearney Street Walmart Supercenter. The grant will fund the purchase of LED lights for Drury’s Central Street Recycling Center and the surrounding campus area. The upgrades will bring Drury to an approximately 75 percent LED-lit exterior.

“The Kearney Street Walmart Store is pleased to support Drury University’s efforts to transition to sustainable LED lighting,” store manager Kyle Roth says. “We are happy to fund LED lights for the Central Street Recycling Center, which is an important resource for Drury and the Springfield community.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED bulbs are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent lighting. A typical LED bulb uses 75 percent less electricity and emits only 10 percent of the carbon dioxide as an incandescent bulb. The projected lifespan of an LED bulb is 50,000 continuous hours, compared to just 1,200 hours for an incandescent bulb. The long lifespan of LED means that one LED bulb can save material and production of 25 or more incandescent bulbs.

The Central Street Recycling Center is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Approximately 210 tons of recyclable material passes through the center each year. The center is also used by local institutions including Ozarks Technical Community College, Missouri State University, Mercy Healthcare System, and the City of Springfield.


Media Contact: Emma Ruzicka – Manager, Corporate & Foundation Relations: (417) 873-6857 or eruzicka@drury.edu.

Drury junior puts her powers of design to work at Marvel

Anne Marie Schudy doesn’t own a cape or wear spandex to the office, but she’s working with a cadre of super heroes during her summer internship with Marvel Entertainment in New York City.

Schudy, a visual communication and graphic design major from Drury, is working at the headquarters of the entertainment giant that created Spider-Man, X-Men, The Avengers and dozens of other comic book, movie and TV heroes.

She earned the gig on the strength of her student portfolio and an interview. Marvel was the first choice for the self-described “nerd” who’s a fan of the Marvel movies and TV shows.

“You never dream that a huge, worldwide company would pick you because there are so many applicants,” she says.

Schudy, who will be a junior this fall, is putting her skills to work in Marvel’s Creative Services Department, which guides and assists the vast universe of licensees that use Marvel’s intellectual property in some way.

Schudy works primarily with the comic books side of Marvel’s house, though she isn’t necessarily a comics geek herself.

“It’s not necessary for the job,” she says.

The job is creative, but it’s also technical. Photoshop and other design programs are her primary tools.

Anne Marie Schudy

“Essentially what they need is someone who knows the software really well,” she says.

Still, it’s certainly not your typical office environment.

“You just hear all these terms like ‘Thor’ and ‘Spider-Man’ thrown around on a daily basis. That’s fun. You don’t hear that in every workplace,” Schudy says with a laugh. “It’s just so fascinating to see; just to observe the work these people do. There’s an energy here.”

Leaks and spoilers are of the utmost concern when dealing with intellectual property in today’s high-stakes entertainment industry, so there’s a strict no-photos rule inside the workplace at Marvel. That means no Snapchats to friends and, unfortunately, no selfies with Iron Man for profile stories like this one, either.

The Marvel offices are located in Midtown Manhattan and Schudy lives in a dorm in a nearby university. She’s been able to soak up the sights and sounds of the city as a resident, rather than as a tourist, when she’s not at work.

It’s been quite a journey for the Springfield native who traveled just across the street from Central High School to Drury for college. Schudy says Drury was “always kind of an obvious choice for me” after her time in the academically rigorous International Baccelaurette program at Central.

“I felt Drury was kind of a continuation of that,” she says of the school’s wide-ranging liberal arts focus. “I was just lucky to have such a great college in my hometown.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that Schudy plans to further broaden her academic horizons when she returns to Drury this fall. She’s as interested in coding and math as she is in visual design, and she plans to delve into some of the courses in Drury’s brand-new software engineering degree offering.

“This semester I’ll be exploring the computer science side of things,” she says.


Drury University welcomes five new Alumni Council members

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 2, 2016 — Drury University recently welcomed five new members to its Alumni Council.

The Alumni Council is the governing body of the Drury Alumni Association and consists of 23 alumni leaders from a range of class years, a member from the Drury faculty and a member from the administrative staff. The Council plans and supports programs such as Reunion Weekend, Homecoming, the Distinguished Alumni Awards and much more. The Council members also play important roles as representatives of Drury in their communities.

The new members for 2016-2017 are:

Joel Alexander

Joel Alexander earned his communications degree from Drury in 1983. Working not far from Drury, he serves as the Manager of Communications for City Utilities of Springfield. Currently he serves on local boards of the American Red Cross and Ozark Trails Council – Boy Scouts of America, and assists with other community organizations. His wife, Lisa, is President of the CoxHealth Foundation.





Michele Boswell

Michele Duvall Boswell is a 1990 Drury graduate with a degree in communications and minors in business administration and English. She is the sales director for Collegiate Awards in Springfield, Missouri. She is one of the creators of Drury Basketball’s annual Overflow the O’ event and has volunteered for Drury in many other capacities. Michele is married to Drury graduate Dr. Craig Boswell ’91. They have three sons who attend Springfield Public Schools, where she volunteers with the Springfield Council of PTAs.



Gail Fredrick

Gail Fredrick graduated from Drury in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration and economics, and received a Master in Business Administration from Drury in 1972. He received a Juris Doctor degree from University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1975. He practices law in Springfield and has been active in Drury activities, including stints as a past president of the Drury Booster Club and a member of the Sports Hall of Fame Committee. He has served as a member of the Missouri Public Defender Commission, Missouri Arts Council and currently serves on the Springfield Sports Commission and Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame board of directors.



Kaitlyn McConnell

Kaitlyn McConnell, a 2011 Drury graduate, is employed as CoxHealth’s Media Relations Coordinator. She recently returned to the Ozarks after living in Norway for nearly three years, where she worked in the subsea oil and gas excavation industry. In her spare time, she manages Ozarks Alive, a website featuring the unique people, history and culture of the region. She also serves the community through various civic organizations including the Writers Hall of Fame, Junior League of Springfield and as an ambassador for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.





Kayce Morton

Kayce Morton, D.O., earned her degrees in biology and chemistry with minors in journalism and Spanish from Drury in 1999. After completing medical school at the Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences in 2005, she attended the University of Missouri and completed her pediatric residency. She has been a pediatric hospitalist for CoxHealth since 2008. Morton has been married to her husband, Brandon, for 17 years and they have two children; Ashlyn, 11 and Cooper, 8. Kayce is involved with several area philanthropies including Care To Learn, Isabel’s House, and the Children’s Miracle Network.


SIVA showcases original artwork by students Aug. 5 at Pool Art Center

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 28, 2016 — The public can see a diverse array of artwork from Drury University’s Summer Institute for Visual Arts (SIVA) next weekend during a thesis exhibition by graduating students and an open studios event. These events offer an opportunity to view a new group of imaginative, innovative, emerging artists in the region.

The Ninth Annual Master of Arts in Studio Art and Theory (MART) Thesis Exhibition and Open Studios will take place from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, August 5, at the Pool Art Center. Due to road work on Central Street, Pool Art Center is best accessible from the north on Clay Avenue.

The Thesis Exhibition is the culminating event for the program’s graduating students. Work presented in the exhibition is wide-ranging in form, material, and theme, and reflects a curriculum that supports multidisciplinary and individualized approaches. The event features the work of graduating students Felicia Ellis, Justin Gault, Sherry Iott, Sarah Jones, Eileen McCarthy, Betty Parnell, Erin Volker and James Walley.

SIVA Open Studios is an annual event that opens up the Summer Institute for Visual Arts to the public and features work from all participants. It is an exciting opportunity to meet the program’s vibrant and diverse community of artists, witness their process, and see what work has been made over that summer.

About SIVA

Since 2007, SIVA has offered students an opportunity to earn a Master of Arts degree by working alongside visiting artists in a critically driven environment. Participants study under the guidance of visiting artist fellows, faculty and staff, who provide first-hand understanding of contemporary art issues. The program – a unique model in the Midwest – allows students to earn a Master of Arts in Studio Art and Theory over the course of three two-month summer sessions.

For more information visit www.drury.edu/siva or like SIVA on Facebook.


Media Contact: Sarrita Hunn, Director of the Summer Institute for Visual Arts – shunn@drury.edu.

Kevin Kropf named Executive Vice President of Enrollment Management

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 25, 2016 — Drury University is pleased to announce that Kevin Kropf has been selected as Executive Vice President of Enrollment Management, effective July 28.

Kropf comes to Drury from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, where he has worked since 2010. He served first as director of enrollment management and in 2012 was promoted to senior director of admissions. In this role, Kropf oversees admission operations at Baker’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Education.


During his tenure at Baker, Kropf exceeded enrollment goals for first-year students in 2013, 2014 and 2016, including increases in students of color and non-athlete students. Prior to Baker, he worked for 12 years at Albion College in Albion, Michigan and three years at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Kropf has experience with the creation and implementation of university-wide marketing and recruitment plans, accompanied by award-winning marketing materials. He also has experience in developing award-winning campus visit programs. The revamped campus visit program Kropf spearheaded at Hendrix was featured in the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education and other media outlets.

Kropf has presented at a number of admission counseling events and conferences on topics ranging from admissions data mapping and moral dilemmas in college admissions to creating a better visit experience and transforming tour guides.

“Kevin has an outstanding track record of results both as a leader of admissions teams and transforming enrollment efforts, especially campus visits,” said Drury University President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “This is a critical touch point for prospective students and their families, and with Kevin’s leadership, we have the opportunity to make our visit program the best in class.”

“My family and I are excited to be joining the Drury community and I look forward to advancing the mission of the university,” Kropf said. “There are myriad reasons why Drury is poised for growth and the long list starts with dynamic and committed people. Drury possesses a great leadership team, an experienced enrollment staff, and a campus-wide commitment to enrolling the best and brightest students possible. I am honored to be joining the university and I look forward to engaging key stakeholders in conversations on how Drury can achieve its enrollment goals.”

Kropf received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology from Kenyon College, a Master of Arts in Education at Baldwin Wallace University and has been working on his Doctorate of Educational Leadership while at Baker.

Kropf succeeds Jay Fedje, who accepted a similar position at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa this spring.


David J. Hinson named Executive Vice President, COO and CIO

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 22, 2016 — Drury University is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. David J. Hinson to the position of Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer. Hinson will report to President Timothy Cloyd.

In his role, Hinson will be responsible for the strategic vision, leadership, planning and management of all information infrastructure and software systems throughout the university, including institutional business support, enrollment management and classroom technology, and online delivery of education and instructional innovation. All operations and facilities services will report to Hinson as well.


Hinson comes to Drury from the Yeshivah of Flatbush, located in Brooklyn, NY, the largest independent Jewish Day School in North America, where he served as Director of Technology Services. Prior to that, Hinson was the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Hendrix College, where he worked with then President Cloyd.

During his time at Flatbush, Hinson led the planning and implementation of a 1:1 iPad program, a technology update in the high school’s graphic arts lab, implementation of single sign-in for network access and library resources, and the planning and implementation of a new student information system, accounting system and development office system.

While at Hendrix, he advised the President of the College on matters of information infrastructure, instructional technology, and institutional business support and research. Hinson and his team implemented a $450,000 technology refresh across every teaching space on campus, including the standardization of computing and control platforms in each classroom, as well as a ten-fold increase in internet capacity, and the design and implementation of a Makerspace, which featured design and production spaces for 3D printing.

“We are committed to providing our students with a learning experience that sets them on the path for success, and that most certainly includes the intelligent integration of technology,” said Cloyd. “David’s visionary leadership in technology infrastructure will be critical to delivering on our commitment to providing students with a distinctive, best-in-class liberal arts education. We are pleased to have him on board.”

“In service to Drury, it is my sincerest hope to be an exemplar of the spirit of liberalis, as put forth by President Cloyd in his initial address to campus,” said Hinson. “I look forward to meeting my new friends and colleagues, in the days and weeks ahead.”

Hinson received his bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Tennessee Technological University and graduated cum laude. Prior to Hendrix, Hinson was CEO of Sumner Systems Management for 16 years.


Getting to Know Drury’s 18th President: Part 4 – Innovation & Growth at Hendrix

dr-cloyd-ffdIn an effort to better get to know Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd, we are publishing a Q&A series with Drury’s 18th President. Previous editions focused on the selection process, Dr. Cloyd’s early life, and his passion for teaching and learning. This installment focuses on some of the more notable accomplishments of his 13-year run as president of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. In particular, his experience with creating and implementing strategic institutional positioning. 

A major point of pride for Hendrix is The Odyssey program, which you helped create. It helped elevate the school’s national profile and became a defining part of the student experience there. Tell us how it came about.

The answer emerged from the question, “How do you measure the distinctiveness, impact, and attractiveness of an institution of higher learning?” I mean in terms of the whole university and the experience students have inside and outside of the classroom at that particular university as opposed to others. In Hendrix’s case, a liberal arts college, and in Drury’s case, a liberal arts university for the 21st century.

Odyssey was about establishing distinctiveness and a clear value added of the experience every student would have, that would be made real in tangible, visible ways, and in which every faculty member and student would participate. It was about how to create a compelling institutional differentiation when students face so many choices.

By definition this meant that the kind of experience we offered every student was real, clearly signaled to students and the world, defining of the experience across the institution, and required for academic credit, guaranteeing every student a unique credential. It came with funding both in the form of distinction awards (a unique form of financial aid) for every student and in the form of funding for Odyssey qualified experiences for students and for faculty working with those students.

When we created Odyssey, we faced declining enrollments and revenue and a budget shortfall that was only projected to grow. The state of Arkansas eliminated the Governor’s scholarship that affected 240 full-pay students in one year. In addition, unparalleled private funding at the University of Arkansas provided “free rides” to students in our traditional markets.

We had to be decisive, bold, and take action. This was not a question of having better marketing or of working harder on recruitment. We knew we could not compete with state schools on price (how do you compete with free?), we knew we could not compete with larger institutions with greater resources on the basis of the breadth and the commodification of our offerings, majors, and programs nor could we cut ourselves into prosperity. We could never stand up enough offerings, majors, programs, etc., at their price points to be competitive.

We had already dramatically cut costs, implemented lean process designs, and reduced expenses, and cut positions. In time, however, we recognized this would only gut our departments and programs, would do lasting damage to our quality, and undermine the institutional sense of community that were our hallmarks. In addition, we recognized that the message this would send into the market would harm our brand. When a higher education institution implements austerity it cannot control its message and competitors for students and donors use it against you.

The answer was to impact the top line by drawing on our collective ingenuity, ability to innovate, and willingness to change. “Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning” was the program’s official name.

Faculty fleshed out the program and made it real so that it was not just a high-level marketing concept. The result was a well researched, well thought out positioning platform that became a well executed strategic deliverable. It became what we as an institution were known for – it became our value differentiation. It was critical to our success because we had to compete on the value of the experience we offered not the price or the specific offerings. We knew we had no price or discount elasticity. This meant that if we wanted to increase student head count we had to increase our discount driving marginal net revenue per student down. We could not discount enough to increase revenue on volume.

There was positive impact on a number of key drivers: the number of students that applied; the number of students who enrolled; our ability to draw different students from a broader geographic region; our ability to raise our price to more accurately reflect our value and achieve our enrollment goals by more aggressive aid awards and financial support; and our ability to maintain or increase enrollment from our current markets.

Communicating this approach required significant investments in marketing so that students would understand two things – our real value proposition and our increased financial aid and scholarship program – and it had the effect of driving up applications in Arkansas, but more importantly from out-of-state urban target markets. It also required start-up and implementation investments by the board and donors. Finally, it required us to “hard-launch” the new position all at once instead of incrementally implementing the value difference.

At the highest level we did a number of things: at the core we positioned ourselves as a demanding, rigorous, but supportive academic environment, in which every student engaged in experiential, hands-on learning grounded in the liberal arts and sciences for academic credit. We guaranteed that every student would receive transcript recognition and credentials for following their passion and completing hands-on projects. Implicit in this guarantee was the idea that students would develop marketable competencies conferred by the institution and recognized by the market. We also did a number of other things such as making sciences and technology more connected to and grounded in the liberal arts.

So how did the program actually work?

In order to graduate, every student was required to complete three hands-on learning projects from six different categories: undergraduate research; service to the world; global/cross cultural awareness and understanding; professional and internship experiences; artistic or creative projects; or a special customized project. Each of these and the requirements for completion was defined in very specific, academically rigorous ways.

We gave each student academic credit for the three projects they selected and added an annotated description of the projects to their transcript. We required students to have a faculty or staff mentor for the project, to present a proposal for approval for each of the projects complete with expected learning outcomes, and to present the project outcomes in a public forum. Every student was also given, at a minimum, a $1,000 one-time grant for one of the projects.

The reality was that 75 percent of our students were already doing at least two of these types of projects and that a number of courses, because of the hands-on nature of the teaching and learning in that class, qualified automatically for Odyssey credit. So in many ways we were codifying something organic that we already had been doing and that was in our culture.

Several things were, however, radical and unique. The first, of course, was that every student was required to complete these three projects to graduate. This meant that the Odyssey ethos was defining and universal for every student, giving the academic experience coherence. All students received transcript recognition and a credential for completing each project. This helped to make students more attractive in the job market, in competition for national fellowships and scholarships, and in application for graduate and professional school.

One other very important note is that we built in financial support and incentives for students and faculty to create exciting and innovative hands-on experiences. Eventually, we raised an endowment of about $15 million for the Odyssey Grants Program. Students could apply on their own or in groups, or faculty members working with a group of students could apply for grant funding to support projects. We created 12 Odyssey Professorships that, unlike endowed chairs, rotated every three years. This funded hands-on experiences, travel, salary stipends, etc. All of this created an entrepreneurial spirit on campus as students learned how to develop grant proposals, business plans and such.

Finally, we created a new form of financial aid – The Odyssey Distinction Award – which was a four-year award not based on merit or need, but based on a student’s gifts, talents, and passions.

The ultimate results? In the second year, our freshman class increased by 43 percent and over three years our net revenue grew by 52 percent. We grew from 950 students to 1,500 students over four years.

Why did Odyssey resonate with faculty, students, and prospective students?

It was distinctive, differentiating, and offered a clear value. It allowed students to pursue their passions in a hands-on fashion, to earn a credential such as a certificate, and receive in academic transcript recognition for their projects. It allowed them to be creative and to learn in new ways. The faculty made the positioning real and it gave them an opportunity to rejuvenate through new modes of teaching and to experiment with new ways of learning. Technology was also a key to the success of Odyssey, as students learned and put to use digital knowledge they had on projects and created digital portfolios. Faculty also learned to use and put new technologies to work in teaching. It was a positioning defined by what John Dewey called the “pragmatic liberal arts” taking thought in the classroom into the world and bringing it back again.

I think it helped to make those core virtues of the liberal arts and sciences real – learning to learn; critical and analytical thinking; learning to solve puzzles; looking at problems and issues through a variety of lenses and realizing that more than one solution may be right; learning to communicate in all forms written, verbal etc.; learning that solutions and the world are more often gray than black and white. It combined these virtues with virtuosity – technical and other competencies.

Do you think that Odyssey might have some relevance to or relate to strategies for Drury University?

In so far as offering some readymade template, I think the answer is no. But in thinking about where Drury is and the process of going about positioning Drury I think the answer is yes.

We need to understand that we must compete on the basis of differentiation, value, and the distinctiveness of the student experience and how we offer and teach what we do. We cannot win by competing on the basis of price and the breadth of our offerings alone. We have to compete on value. And that has to be made real in some way.

I think it is critically important that we look to what is universally defining as well as value enhancing to the experience for every Drury student.

In my reading of Drury’s history and in my admittedly short time here I have picked up on a number of themes and past trends that may hold promise for this kind of value differentiation and market positioning platform. In 1940, for example, President Findlay eliminated many of the required courses and put in place a program that offered each student a personalized, customized educational plan. Both faculty and staff offered intensive advising and mentoring to help students design these plans. In the mid-1990s President Moore, Dr. Stephen Good, and the faculty introduced GP-21. This series of core courses allowed every student to earn a minor in Global Studies and this was placed on their transcripts and their diplomas. These are both examples of the type of differentiation and distinctiveness I am talking about. They were universal and defining of the student experience at Drury.

There is a tremendous institutional heritage and particular areas of excellence that could hold Drury University together in a positive, defining way. It seems to me that our message and our identity should not become diffuse or disaggregated – with various programs and schools going their own way – because we would fail to leverage our institutional core identity and our particular strengths. Instead, we must again rise to the occasion, align institutional incentives, and leverage the institution’s ability to advance a positioning with the coherence and relevance to attract the students we all need in the day school, graduate college and CCPS.

In conversations with Drury students and faculty I have heard a number of resonant themes, characteristics, and values that have piqued my interest as I think about the issue of differentiation and distinctiveness for Drury, the overall positioning platform for the university – its offerings, and the potential for particular peaks of excellence.

I have been on the job for only about two weeks, so I imagine that there are many more concepts that are already organic to Drury, but there are at least a few that jump out at me already. Things like the fact that so many Drury students have two and three majors, which creates a degree combination unique to their passions. I’ve been struck by the fact that there’s such a strong desire among our students and faculty to address real-world problems locally, nationally and globally. The potential to strengthen the quality and nature of our advising and mentoring is another such area. Finally, there are possibilities in rethinking the approach we take across the university to the way we approach teaching and learning.

Those are just a few examples. All of these could hold promise in moving Drury University forward. Whatever we may do it will need to be collaborative and connect to the themes I outlined in my first speech to the community – Empowerment, Unity, and Liberty. We plan to move rapidly, engaging the right resources, testing the results and channeling our energy toward these points of differentiation and value.

You helped bring an international flavor to Hendrix. Can you tell us about some of those programs?

The most important thing I did was to make multi-cultural awareness, diversity, inclusion, and the free expression of ideas a top priority. Then I provided the resources for people to develop these and other new opportunities for students. I would be happy to discuss how I helped to create this range of new international programs, but it also had to do with me personally modeling the commitment to internationalism by travelling to establish many of these bi-lateral and multi-lateral programs. I also served on the International Student Exchange Program Board and the board of an NGO called Bridge to Rwanda.

What is the Village at Hendrix? How did that change the nature and feel of the campus?

We found part of our difficulty in recruiting students was that our campus did not have the feel of a place with an active vibrant social life. This was because many students went home for the weekend and because the downtown was too far away from campus for students to readily take advantage of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, etc. Students in this generation want a bit of an “xurban” feel to campus. We did not have a Cambridge Square and many of our faculty had moved to Little Rock or out into the Conway suburbs.

We bought land around us and we were fortunate that we had about 180 acres across from the main campus. So we hired Andres Duany and DPZ, who are world-class town and campus planners. The board decided to invest in developing a Village across the street from the campus and we were able to get federal, state, and city funds to redesign the road between the development and campus.

It is a long story and I learned more about how to be a real-estate developer than I ever imagined. I encourage you to go online and look at what we created. In addition, to the new urban style housing (625 homes and dwellings when all phases are complete) we built three large buildings around a village green, developed plans for a hotel, built live-work units (where people live upstairs from a business) and apartments as liner buildings around parking lots. We also developed a storm drainage flood system into something called the Hendrix Creek Preserve. The Hendrix Creek Preserve became an outdoor classroom to test ground water run-off for organic and heavy metal toxins and a sustainability model.

The village center buildings have on the first floors restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, commercial, etc. and on the top three floors apartments and flats that we used for student housing. We built them, however, so that the top floors could be flipped into the open market or could be used as timeshares and sold as condominiums. We did this because in our analysis we realized that 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring each day for the next 19 years! Think about that! Most of these folks from the north want to move south for at least part of the year and the vast majority want to live next to a college or university campus instead of on a golf course. This is the generation that came of age in the 1950s and 1960s and they are looking for a sense of meaning and all of the amenities offered by a campus. They want to be around young people. Many of them are capable of teaching university courses, especially co-curricular courses.

Our strategy was to target certain populations such as scientists, doctors, artists, etc. and invite them to come teach courses on “how to run a medical practice” and such, knowing that our pre-med students would be top flight in the sciences, but may not know the first thing about balance sheets, P&L statements, insurance reimbursement, Medicare or Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act.

All in all, it has been extremely successful. It had the effect of changing the feel of the entire campus. We regarded it as a 100-year investment in our future – that was key. It was an investment in the quality of the student experience. These ideas drove the investment decisions and in our arrangement with joint-venture investors, not short-term ROI on capital investment, but patient capital.

Hendrix saw unprecedented success in fundraising and development during your tenure – $175 million in all. How did it happen? How do we lay the groundwork for future advancement at Drury?

The $175 million figure refers to two comprehensive campaigns. The first raised $75 million for two new science buildings, and endowment for scholarships and financial aid, academic programs, faculty chairs, housing, and a number of other projects.

The second campaign raised around $103 million for: housing; the Village at Hendrix; a new wellness and athletic center, aquatic center, all new athletic and intramural fields and a tennis center; a student life and technology center; endowment for scholarships and financial aid; funding for endowed chairs and Odyssey Professorships; an endowment for the Odyssey Program to fund Odyssey Projects; an endowment for middle income scholarships and financial aid; some renovations; and a sharply increased annual fund.

The second campaign was an eight-year effort. Drury has not had a comprehensive campaign and I would like to explore with donors, the alumni, the board, and the community whether or not we want to engage in such an effort. Drury has had a series of successful single project campaigns.

The objective for comprehensive campaigns is to connect all of the priority fundraising projects (capital projects, building projects, endowment, and annual fund goals) to the overall differentiation of the institution and to increase the overall campaign momentum through participation and the magnitude of results. You define these specific projects and priorities, cultivate prospects for gifts for these specific projects, and connect to their passions. In reality, there are always particular donors who have other specific passions and interests and of course you welcome those gifts for the express purpose for which they are given, but those, too, are reflected in the aggregate success of the institution’s overall effort.

The goal is to mobilize the entire institution – the family of alumni, donors, friends, board members, and the community – around the strategic priorities. The overarching theme is most impactful if it is directly supportive of the overall market positioning platform of the university, and if it taps into the collective passions and priorities held by those who love and care for the institution.

At Drury, for example, we have a database of 26,000 with about 16,000 alumni. At Hendrix we had a much smaller base with a total of about 14,000 alumni and donors. The strength of our Drury alumni population coupled with the great love of institution and the history of accomplishment are very encouraging.

One of my strongest desires as president is to understand more deeply and clearly the motivating passions of our alumni and donors, and to help shape a plan for our future that honors and increases active engagement. I want to build those bonds. I want us to create a magnetism around Drury that is powerful and undeniable. That feeling must be strong enough to compel the support we need for this institution to carry out its mission successfully, and well into the future.

Hendrix eventually earned national acclaim. The higher education landscape is so crowded. How do institutions stand out?

Be fearless. Be bold. Be proud. Have confidence. Do not be afraid to take calculated risks even while others are not. Know your story. Project and signal your value and differentiation in all you do. Tell the story over and over again about how you are transforming students’ lives by what you are doing and how you are doing it. And finally, do not let the voices of the timid pull you down, but have audacity.

Drury’s annual summer camps for gifted students now underway

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 13, 2016 — Gifted students from across the area are keeping their minds in shape over the summer break during camps organized by Drury University’s Center for Gifted Education, in partnership with Springfield Public Schools.

Drury provides summer experiences for gifted students from pre-K through the 11th grade. The younger age groups are in half-day camps at Sunshine Elementary School, while older students have a residential experience on the Drury campus. Each summer, more than 700 total students attend these camps.

Elementary School Students

The camps for younger students (called Summer Pals for ages pre-K through grade 1, and Summer Quest for grades 2 through 5) are taking place from each weekday 8:15 to 11:30 a.m. at Sunshine Elementary School, 421 E. Sunshine Street, now through Friday, July 22. The hands-on, activity-oriented courses feature an array of interesting experiences geared specifically toward gifted students. Summer Quest and Summer Pals give students a chance to interact with peers of similar academic abilities and interests, while encouraging them to use their intellectual and creative side.

VIDEO: Gifted Education Students Convene for Summer Camps

“It gives them a sense of self and a sense of community,” says Mary Potthoff, Director of the Center for Gifted Education at Drury. “And it builds on what they’ve learned in the classroom during the school year, keeping their minds engaged during the summer break.”

Media are invited to cover the Summer Quest and Summer Pals camps. Opportunities for coverage are available each day of the camps, including classes on robotics, dinosaurs, toy box physics, veterinarians, “grossology,” astronauts and more.

Middle & High School Students

The camps for older students – called Summerscape for middle schoolers and Drury Leadership Academy (DLA) for high schoolers – allow students to take two weeks of in-depth classes and go hands-on in areas that interest them such as robotics, photography and videography, improv comedy, bio-ethics, world culture and much more. They are considered “pre-college” camps in that students live on campus and participate in activities ranging from games to lectures in the evenings. DLA students can potentially earn college credit for completion.

“The camps not only give this particular group of students the kind of enrichment they crave, but they also provide them with a sense of community and give them a taste of what life is like on a college campus,” Potthoff says.

About the Center for Gifted Education

Drury has been a national leader in providing education and enrichment programs for academically gifted students more than 30 years. The Drury Center for Gifted Education is the most complete center for gifted education in the state of Missouri, and is one of less than 20 complete gifted education centers in the United States. Visit Drury Gifted Education for more information.


Media Contact: Mary Potthoff, Director of the Center for Gifted Education: (417) 873-7386 or mpotthof@drury.edu.


Drury student studies genetics thanks to selective national grant

Anna Brinck is getting the best of both worlds when it comes to science research as an undergraduate student.

As a junior majoring in chemistry, biology and Spanish at Drury, Brinck has been able to conduct research in an intimate, small-school setting with faculty mentors by her side. And this summer, she is getting the chance to take to the lab at a large research university – the University of Georgia – thanks to a program funded by the National Science Foundation.

Brinck is the latest Drury student to be selected for the highly competitive Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. About a dozen Drury students have been selected for REU positions over the last three years.

Description: Drury University senior Chemistry, Biology, and Spanish major Anna Brinck of Nixa, Missouri working with a pipette at a bench in Genetics professor Allen Moore's lab at the Davison Life Sciences building. Brinck is taking part in Summer Undergraduate Fellowships in Genetics (SUNFIG), a national research program that places undergraduate science majors in large universities to work on summer research projects. Date of Photo: 6/28/2016 Credit: Andrew Davis Tucker, University of Georgia Photographic Services File: 34013-058 The University of Georgia owns the rights to this image or has permission to redistribute this image. Permission to use this image is granted for internal UGA publications and promotions and for a one-time use for news purposes. Separate permission and payment of a fee is required to use any image for any other purpose, including but not limited to, commercial, advertising or illustrative purposes. Unauthorized use of any of these copyrighted photographs is unlawful and may subject the user to civil and criminal penalties. Possession of this image signifies agreement to all the terms described above.

Drury Chemistry, Biology, and Spanish major Anna Brinck working in a lab at UGA. Credit: Andrew Davis Tucker, University of Georgia

The Nixa native is spending her summer conducting research on the behavior of beetles that bury carcasses beneath soil as a food source for their larvae during reproduction.

“My specific project is looking at burial depth of the carcass and different gene expressions and reproductive tradeoffs in the beetles that may differ in shallow burials versus deep burials,” says Brinck. “The general idea is correlating genetics with a variable of the burying behavior.”

The size and scope of the lab setting is much different than at Drury, Brinck says, but the fundamentals of research are the same. She says Drury prepared her well for the work she is doing this summer through REU. She’s been conducting research of some kind since her freshman year, mainly focusing on genetics.

“Drury is a place where almost anything you want to do is possible,” she says. “It’s a network of truly supportive peers, professors and other faculty and staff, so if you want to do a specific type of research, it can happen.”

When comparing her experience to other undergrads participating in REU projects, and even graduate students earning their Ph.D. at UGA, it’s clear to Brinck that she’s had more opportunities for meaningful research than many of her peers.

“They came from larger schools where you have to be an upperclassman to be considered for research or you have to know the right people in order to get into a lab group,” she says. “Since I have had a lot of research experience, I already have a basic research skill set that is extremely valuable.”

Previous Drury REU participants tell a similar story of being well prepared for the opportunity, yet coming away with an advanced level of experience and knowledge thanks to working in larger labs. Abby Delawder graduated from Drury this spring with a chemistry degree. She conducted medical research at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, in 2015 as an REU participant. Prior to that, she spent many hours in the labs of Drury’s Trustee Science Center working with chemistry professor Dr. Madhuri Manpadi.

“I was able to see a broad picture of how groundbreaking research at that particular level works and how my research in the future can benefit the entire community,” Delawder says of her time at Scripps.

Delawder heads to Washington University in St. Louis this fall, where she will begin work earning a doctorate in chemistry. Her goal: help find new ways to combat the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“I have Dr. Manpadi to thank for accepting me into her lab and teaching me valuable lessons, not only in the textbook but real-life applications of the text material,” she adds.

Brink at UGA2

Brinck, at UGA, says that in addition to those research skills, one of the underlying values Drury’s science faculty has taught her is curiosity.

“A lot of research is very tedious, so the desire to solve the questions puzzling you is a necessity to be successful,” she says. “The liberal arts experience has definitely given me the cognitive capabilities to be able to ask the right questions and to further my research curiosity. Every professor I have ever had at Drury has not only encouraged me to be curious, but have also been great examples of curious people themselves.”

Brinck wants to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics and will be applying to graduate schools this coming year as she completes her studies at Drury.


Story by Mike Brothers, Director of Media relations.