academic affairs

New deans, faculty members in place at Drury for 2017-18 academic year

Drury University’s academic deans, from left: Allin Sorenson, Albert Korir, Shannon Cuff, Jennifer Silva Brown, Regina Waters, Beth Harville (Provost), Robert Weddle, and Jin Wang.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 1, 2017 — The new school year brings with it new additions and changes to the faculty at Drury University. In addition to previously announced new deans in the education and business schools, Drury has named three existing faculty members as deans, hired eight new full-time faculty to teach in the classroom, and installed Dr. Beth Harville as provost.

Harville served as interim provost last year. She is a professor of biology and chemistry and has been a Drury faculty member since 2005. She became dean of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences in 2015, and was appointed interim provost by Drury president Dr. Tim Cloyd last year. The provost is the university’s top academic post.

“Dr. Harville has been highly effective as Drury’s provost over the last year and I am extremely pleased and grateful that she will continue to lead our academic efforts going forward,” says President Cloyd.

During the past year under Harville’s leadership, the Drury faculty launched new majors in nursing, game development, and international business; instituted a five-year fast track option for students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education; and signed several articulation agreements with partner colleges.

Three other faculty members are newly appointed deans this year, including:

Dr. Albert Korir, associate professor of chemistry, is the dean of the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. He served in an interim role last year.

Dr. Jennifer Silva Brown, associate professor of psychology, is the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. Allin Sorenson, professor of music, is the dean of the School of Communication and Fine and Performing Arts.

“Drury’s deans comprise a very strong, innovative, and diverse academic leadership team,” Harville says. “I’m honored to work alongside this group of leaders and I am excited about the future of teaching and learning at Drury.”

Additional new hires include fulltime faculty members in chemistry, biology, marketing, graphic design, business, communication, and education.


Three Drury faculty members appointed to key academic leadership roles

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 5, 2016 — Drury University has appointed three faculty members to key leadership positions that will impact students’ classroom experience and bolster the school’s liberal arts tradition.



Rebecca Miller, associate professor of art and art history, will become the new director of Drury’s Arts Administration Program starting this fall. A Drury faculty member since 2003, Miller brings considerable and impressive credentials as a photographer and artist to the program. She also brings a commitment to creating career paths for students who want to link their love of the arts with additional interests on the administrative side of the field, such as marketing, public relations, business and strategic planning. Miller was formerly the director of the Pool Art Center Gallery for six years and will be coordinating the C-Street Gallery with arts administration students.



Dr. Karen Spence has been named the director of the Drury CORE: Engaging Our World. CORE is Drury’s general education curriculum, which emphasizes the global connections of all areas of study and prioritizes applied learning through direct engagement in communities at home and around the world. Spence is the associate dean of the Hammons School of Architecture, where she is responsible for recruitment, mentoring and advising. A strong advocate for the liberal arts, Spence has also played a key role in the university’s ongoing strategic enrollment management process during the last two years.



Dr. Ted Vaggalis has been named director of new faculty orientation. Vaggalis is an associate professor of philosophy and political science. The role will see Vaggalis leading efforts to welcome and integrate new faculty to the Drury community.


Drury appoints faculty members to new academic leadership roles

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 23, 2015 — Drury University has appointed six faculty members to new leadership roles on campus.

“These talented faculty members understand Drury’s culture and are exceptional teachers and scholars,” said Peter Meidlinger, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. “They are well suited to lead our campus community as we continue to sharpen the distinctiveness of our academic programs.”

Charles DeBerry

Charles DeBerry

Dr. Charles DeBerry has been named director of the Drury University Debate Union and Dr. Craig Titus has been named assistant director. DeBerry is professor of communication; Titus is an assistant professor of philosophy and English. The Debate Union returns to Drury after a long hiatus. The university envisions a strong on-campus and competitive program, high school tournaments and summer camps, as well as academic connections that emphasize public speaking, argumentation and collaborative work.

William Garvin

William Garvin

William W. Garvin has been named the director of the Olin Library. Garvin has been the University Archivist since 1992. During that time, Garvin has established himself as an expert on the history of Drury College/Drury University. An exceptional storyteller, Garvin has written several essays and given many public talks on the personalities, conflicts, and visions that have animated life on campus from its inception. Garvin has led the library on an interim basis for the past year, and will continue to guide Olin as an invaluable resource for students and faculty.

Erin Kenny

Erin Kenny

Dr. Erin Kenny has been named the inaugural director of the Teaching and Learning Center, where she will lead a campus-wide effort to make excellence in teaching a distinctive feature of a Drury education. An associate professor of anthropology, Kenny has earned a reputation as a successful and innovative teacher committed to global and engaged learning. A two-time Fulbright Scholar, she has had a wide range of valuable experiences working with students and faculty in campus-wide programs, including her leadership in Women & Gender Studies and Middle Eastern Studies.

Raymond Patton

Raymond Patton

Dr. Raymond Patton has been named director of the Core Curriculum, Drury’s general education program focused on global learning and student engagement. An assistant professor of history since 2011, Patton has been actively involved in designing, implementing, and assessing the Core Curriculum in addition to teaching Core classes with a focus on immersive learning experiences. In his role as director, Patton will work to make the Core a distinctive element of a liberal arts education at Drury.

Richard Schur

Richard Schur

Dr. Richard Schur, Professor of English, has been named director of the Drury Honors Program. The Honors Program offers students an intense academic experience through hands-on and student-directed approach to learning. As director, Schur brings a wide range of scholarly and teaching interests to this work. He has published widely on African-American literature and culture, and has served in leadership roles in the Interdisciplinary Studies Center and the Law & Society program. His work will make the honors program even more attractive to students who not only excel in academics but who are curious, ambitious and independent.


Drury forms academic partnership with Kansas City’s Barstow School

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 12, 2014 — The leaders of Drury University and the Barstow School in Kansas City signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday that will help bolster both schools’ commitment to academic excellence and engaged global learning.

Barstow is an independent, co-educational college preparatory school in Kansas City. Founded in 1884, the school boasts a rich academic tradition, with a special commitment to international learning through affiliate schools in China, Japan, Germany and Australia.

Dr. David Manuel, Drury President, and Shane Foster, Head of the Barstow School in Kansas City.

Dr. David Manuel, Drury President, and Shane Foster, Head of the Barstow School in Kansas City.

The agreement will streamline admission of Barstow graduates into Drury University and create a collaborative learning partnership between the two schools. The partnership will meet the needs of a growing community of Barstow students across the globe who desire a first-rate American education, and it will deepen Drury’s commitment to diversity and international enrollment. About 12 percent of Drury’s current student body hails from 51 foreign countries.

Major points of the partnership include:

  • International students who are on track to complete their high school diploma from Barstow’s Kansas City campus or any of its international campuses – and who meet certain GPA, English proficiency and other requirements – will be guaranteed admission to Drury.
  • A Barstow/Drury Scholarship will be established for international students from the Barstow School who meet admission criteria. Scholarships will range from $1,000 to $3,000 annually and can be added to other earned academic awards.
  • Drury faculty will travel to Barstow’s Shanghai and Ningbo campuses in China to offer advanced instruction in subjects not often taught in China, such as creative writing. Drury faculty will act as professors in residence on each campus during January intersessions, and will be selected for participation and travel to China on a competitive basis.
  • The schools will develop summer immersion experiences for international Barstow students on Drury’s campus in Springfield. These residential experiences will include an introduction to the American system of higher education and the American experience. The programs will be led by Drury faculty and could include a wide range of cultural and social activities.

“Drury and Barstow have a common heritage through our founding in the liberal arts tradition, and a shared vision for global education in the 21st century,” said Dr. David Manuel, Drury’s president. “This partnership will give Barstow’s international students an avenue to continue their American education in a familiar setting, and it gives Drury access to an outstanding pool of bright and highly dedicated young minds.”

Media contacts: Mike Brothers, Drury’s Director of Media Relations, (417) 873-7390 or; or Kellye Crocket, Director of Admission & Marketing at the Barstow School, (816)  277-0413 or

Drury welcomes new faculty to campus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Aug. 15, 2012 — Drury University welcomes 14 new faculty members to campus for the 2012-13 academic year. The new teaching talent adds a breadth of experience from a wide range of universities and professional backgrounds.

Dr. Charles Taylor

“We’re excited to welcome this remarkable group of teacher-scholars to Drury and to the Ozarks,” said Dr. Charles Taylor, vice president of academic affairs. “Their credentials and experience are impressive.  Most importantly, though, is that each is absolutely committed to providing the challenging, personalized education experience for which Drury is known and to being engaged citizens of our community.”

The new faculty members are:

Heidi Backes, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Heidi joins Drury from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She holds a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin­ – Stevens Point.

Molly Carter, Instructor of Exercise Sport Science, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach
Molly returns to Drury from the Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute, where she served as Marketing Director. She holds an M.B.A. and a B.A. from Drury.

Karen Craigo, Instructor of English/English for Academic Purposes
Karen comes to Drury from Bowling Green State University. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Bowling Green, and a B.A. from Morehead State University.

Susan Davis, Assistant Professor of Education
Susan joins Drury from Arkansas State University. She completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas, and holds an M.S. and B.S. in Education from Arkansas State.

Holli Henslee, Sr.Assistant Librarian & Technical Services Coordinator
Holli previously served as Director/Assistant Professor of the Nursing Library at the St. John’s/Southwest Baptist University Springfield campus. She holds an M.A. in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri–Columbia, and a B.S. from Drury.

Jason Hite, Instructor of Exercise Sport Science, Assistant Swimming Coach
Jason returns to Drury from Springfield Public Schools where he served as a teacher and swim coach. He holds a M.Ed. and a B.A. from Drury.

Yong Huang, Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture
Huang joins Drury from Davis Brody Bond, LLP. He received a M.Des. from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and holds a M.S. from Pratt Institute and a B.Arch. from Beijing Polytechnic University. He taught previously at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Justin Leinaweaver, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Justin recently completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at Trinity College, Dublin. He holds a M.Sc. from University College, Dublin, and a B.S. from Florida State University.

Daniel Livesay, Assistant Professor of History
Daniel comes to Drury from The College of William and Mary, where he recently completed an NEH Postdoctoral Fellowship. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan, and holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado.

Madhuri Manpadi, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Madhuri joins Drury from Ohio Northern University, where she served as a Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Associate. She was a postdoctoral research associate at Rutgers, and received her Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and technology. She holds a M.Sc. and B.Sc. from Osmania University in India.

Sun-Young Park, Assistant Professor of Communication
Sun-Young recently completed her Ph.D. in Mass Communication at the University of Florida. She received a M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and also holds a B.A. from Sogang University in Seoul.

Kevin Preuss, Assistant Professor of Biology
Kevin comes to Drury from Indiana University, where he served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He received a Ph.D. in Biology from Duke University, and holds a B.S. from Kansas State University.

Maurizio Sabini, Professor of Architecture and Director, Hammons School of Architecture
Maurizio joins Drury from Kent State University, where he served as International Studies Coordinator for the College of Architecture & Environmental Design. He holds a Ph.D. inArchitecture from the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice, Italy, where he also received the Laurea In Architettura, the First Professional Degree in Architecture. He also holds a M.Arch. from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

Anthony Smith, Instructor of Spanish
Anthony is completing a Ph.D. in Medieval and Golden Age Spanish Literature at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He received an M.A. from the University of Oklahoma, and a B.A. from the University of Central Oklahoma.