evening school

Piercing a difficult subject: Human Sexuality instructor Ty Pierce

Ty Pierce admits it. Sometimes, a lecture on psychology can be boring. One night teaching his social psychology class at Drury he noticed his students fading, so he asked them if they wanted to see a magic trick. Pierce, an amateur magician since before he could read, performed a trick and it’s become a trademark of his classes.

“During the break, I’ll do a magic trick and it wakes ‘em up a little bit and it seems to make them smile and that’s my drug,” Pierce said.

Ty Pierce

Pierce knows all about the power of emotion. Besides his usual psychology courses, Pierce teaches human sexuality. Around the nation, human sexuality is consistently one of the most popular classes on college campuses, which comes as no surprise to Pierce.
“It’s easy, it’s the only reason we’re alive,” Pierce said. “It’s what I tell the class, sex is the only reason we’re here. We were all conceived as the result of sex.”

Pierce has taught at Drury for more than two decades and he’s taught human sexuality during most of that time, primarily in the evenings in the College of Continuing Professional Studies. His frank, energetic style has made him popular among the students.

“I had heard about Ty and his teaching style from other students and researched his ratings on line. And heard that he was phenomenal,” said Jennifer Pierson, a Drury junior. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I came into it with an open mind and I was kind of excited to take a class that was one of the highest ranked classes I’ve seen yet at Drury.”

The father of two is passionate about much more than just teaching. As an undergraduate, he knew a young woman who had been date raped, which started him on a crusade against sex crimes. Now, he’ll tell anyone who will listen everything from how to avoid becoming the victim of a sex crime to how to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

“If I can prevent one child from being molested, one person in my class from being pregnant when they’re not wanting to, or prevent a student from getting a disease or keep a young lady or a child from being raped, my job is done,” Pierce said.

To view a video about Pierce’s teaching style and his efforts against sex crimes, click here.

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Story by Mark Miller, associate director of marketing and communications.

Moving across continents and an ocean to attend Drury

It’s over 8,000 miles from Nairobi, Kenya to Springfield but that’s how far Peter Onyango traveled to attend Drury. Now, a permanent resident in the United States, he is set to graduate in December 2012 with a biology degree and then head to medical school.

“I want to help people back in Africa. Help people who don’t have access to healthcare,” said Onyango.

Peter Onyango in Drury's Olin Library. Photo by Jess Heugel.

Why did Onyango move so far to attend college? “In Kenya, there is a long waiting list to get into university. In the United States, you can go straight to college out of high school. There are so many opportunities,” he said.

After visiting his cousin who lived in Springfield, Onyango enrolled in another university but he soon transferred to Drury’s College of Continuing Professional Studies. He worked during the day and needed to attend classes exclusively at night. “College in the U.S. is so different from Kenya. You can work and go to school because the schedule is so flexible.”

Onyango, 26, is now just months away from a bachelor’s degree that will lead him to his ultimate goal of becoming a doctor, and the support system at Drury has helped him get there. “My instructors have given me advice on what classes to take and how to complete my degree in the shortest amount of time,” Onyango said. “The teacher-to-student ratio has been great, not just in the classroom, but it helps me retain the information, as well.”

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