faculty research

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.

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Drury University faculty accomplishments – Fall 2015 roundup

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 21, 2015 — Drury University faculty accomplishments are numerous so far this semester. Drury professors are teacher-scholars who conduct meaningful research and engage with the community around them, giving their students a chance to participate in and benefit from their scholarly work. Here are just a few highlights of publications, research and accolades by faculty members in recent weeks.

Architecture:

  • Nancy Chikaraishi, Professor: Chikaraishi’s series of artworks centering on the experience of her parents and other Japanese-Americans interned at the Rohwer camp in Arkansas during WWII inspired the production of “Life Interrupted” by Core Dance. Visit www.thebackstagebeat.com for more on the production.

Art & Art History:

  • Rebecca Miller, Associate Professor: Miller’s archival pigment print Dear Alfred #18 was accepted into the special web exhibition for the 2015 Photo Review International Photography Competition.

Behavioral Science:

  • Dr. Jennifer Silva Brown, Associate Professor of Psychology: Silva Brown’s chapter “On Tornados: Storm Exposure, Coping Styles and Resilience” was included in the book Traumatic Stress and Long-Term Recovery: Coping with Disasters and Other Negative Life Events. Her chapter was based on research results related to the Joplin Impact Project.

Business:

  • Dr. Gary Holmes, Associate Professor: Holmes will attend the Society of Marketing Advances Annual Educators Conference in San Antonio, Texas to present “Millennials’ Attitudes Concerning Traditional Classroom Resources” with senior Jordan Smith and May 2015 graduate Morgan Young.

Communication:

  • Dr. Curt Gilstrap, Associate Professor: Gilstrap and graduate student Brian Hendershot’s study, “E-Leaders and Uncertainty Management: A Computer-Supported Qualitative Investigation” was accepted in Qualitative Research Reports in Communication.

Education:

  • Dr. Kris Wiley, Assistant Professor: Wiley has written two chapters in the book The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know? for the National Association for Gifted Children.

Library:

  • William Garvin, Director of the Olin Library: Garvin was named as a trustee on the Springfield-Greene County Library Board, and he will present to the Missouri Association for Museums and Archives at the annual conference this month in Columbia, Mo.

Political Science:

  • Dr. Dan Ponder, L.E. Meador Professor: Ponder co-authored “Public Opinion and Democratic Party Ownership of Prosperity: The Political Legacy of the Great Depression, 1955-2013” published in one of the leading peer-reviewed American politics journals – American Politics Research.

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Drury researcher helps family discover details of service and sacrifice

As Drury’s university archivist, Bill Garvin seeks out the details that make the past come to life. It’s more than a job; it’s a passion – one that can result in information and discoveries that impact real people’s lives in a meaningful way.

About two years ago, Garvin’s research took him to field full of retired aircraft in Vichy, Missouri. He discovered that a particular Douglas C-47 had been flown on D-Day and connected the plane with a pilot from Oklahoma named Lt. Philip Sarrett.

Garvin, who has a deep interest in World War II research, eventually found Sarrett’s family and helped fill in details they’d never known. They revered Philip for his sacrifice but there were unanswered questions.

Lt. Philip Sarrett piloted a Douglas C-47 during WWII.

Lt. Philip Sarrett piloted a Douglas C-47 during World War II.

“An 18×24 (inch) picture had always hung in my bedroom. So I grew up with the photographs, but I never had any detail on much of his life – or how it ended,” says Philip’s niece, Marsha Funk.

Garvin’s research of military records helped Sarrett’s family truly understand his service, and his place in the war. They never even knew that he had piloted an aircraft on D-Day, for example. Sarrett’s assignments often involved flying paratroopers over the battlefields of Europe, behind enemy lines and amid enemy fire.

“We’re now just incredibly blessed to know he had so many successful missions, and so many important ones, too,” Funk says.

Marsha Funk

Marsha Funk

In early 2014, a ceremony was held at the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team Museum in Frederick, Oklahoma, to present Sarrett’s family with the restored control wheel of the C-47, which had been nicknamed “Ada Red.” His sister, Margaret Ray, now in her 90s, accepted it on behalf of the family.

Margaret Ray, Philip Sarrett's sister, accepts a the restored "Ada Red" control wheel. Bill Garvin is at right.

Margaret Ray, Philip Sarrett’s sister, accepts a the restored “Ada Red” control wheel. Bill Garvin is at right.

But that was not the end of the story. Sarrett made the ultimate sacrifice months after D-Day, in spring 1945. Garvin wanted to know more, so he continued digging.

With the help of German researcher Ortwin Nissing, Garvin eventually found the spot where Sarrett had died after the unarmed plane he was piloting was shot down by the Germans.

On March 24, 1945, during Operation Varsity, Sarrett flew the unarmed, unarmored C-47 into an area that was defended by a concentration of 350 Nazi flak positions. Despite the fact that his plane had been hit and was burning, he made sure that his stick of paratroopers exited the aircraft (though one was badly wounded and went down with the plane) and that his entire crew got out.

“The care Philip took to make sure that these men got out of the plane alive meant that he lost his life,” Garvin says. “ ‘Heroic’ is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days, but Philip’s actions were nothing short of that.”

After learning these details, Funk and her husband planned a trip to visit this location on the 70th anniversary of the crash.

The Clostermann diary.

The Clostermann diary.

Once in Germany, they found much more than a point on a map. They found people willing to help fill in the decades-old blanks. Nissing acted as a guide and translated for them. They met Erich Winter, 83, who witnessed the wreckage as a 12-year-old boy, and shared vividly remembered details of what he saw. And they met Ralph Clostermann, whose family has owned the land since the 19th century. He showed them his mother’s diary with descriptions of the day of the crash. She had been living in the basement because British troops were occupying the main floors of the family’s home at the time. She had seen the wreckage, too – and the two crosses erected there by the Brits.

Bullet holes on side of the Clostermann's barn  from the anti-aircraft fire that hit Sarrett's plane. It was never repaired because the owners felt it should remain as a reminder about the war.

Bullet holes on side of the Clostermann’s barn from the anti-aircraft fire that hit Sarrett’s plane were never repaired because the owners felt it should be a reminder of the war.

Though her mother, Philip’s sister, wasn’t able to make the trip, Funk relayed all of these details – and lots of photographs – to her. She wanted to know as much as possible.

“I think maybe it just brought some closure for her – just answering unanswered questions,” Funk says.

It’s been a gratifying process for Garvin.

“I’ve been truly struck by the willingness of complete strangers to help people they don’t know discover what happened to their lost loved ones in the war,” Garvin says.

Without Garvin’s work the family would never have “completed the puzzle,” Funk says.

“We felt a great sense of connectedness,” Funk says. “It’s hugely important to me. It’s helped me keep the story alive and share it with the rest of the family. It’s an important story.”

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Livesay named 2014 Sherman Emerging Scholar

Dr. Dan Livesay, assistant history professor at Drury, has been named the Sherman Emerging Scholar for 2014. Livesay will travel to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in late October to deliver a public lecture about his research, speak in a graduate class and share his expertise with other scholars.

The Sherman Emerging Scholar award is a national award presented by UNC-Wilmington annually to a promising young scholar. It gives the winner a platform to discuss perspectives, research, concepts and approaches to modern issues and theories in history, politics and international affairs.

Dr. Daniel Livesay

Dr. Daniel Livesay

Livesay’s lecture, titled “Race and the Making of Family in the Atlantic World,” will relate his research about mixed-race families in the 18th century to modern day debates about race and family in the United States. Growing racial complexities and family belonging were important issues then as they are now.

“Because I was selected by a committee of historians working on lots of different periods of time and topics, it was very encouraging to discover that my particular research had something of a broad appeal,” Livesay says. “It’s also very exciting to present my work to a large group of people who know absolutely nothing about my area of expertise. As academics, we can sometimes feel that we are only talking to a very narrow group of people about our research, and so I’m thrilled that I can present it to people from all different walks of life and intellectual interests.”

In total, Livesay spent 10 years researching, writing, and revising his work, which is now in the process of being published in book form by UNC Press.

The Emerging Scholar Award comes at the heels of another honor – the National Endowment for the Humanities “We the People” Fellowship in African American History – which allowed him to spend this past summer researching at the Rockefeller Library in Williamsburg, Va.

Livesay conducts most of his research during the academic breaks and focuses on teaching during the semesters, but he does devote some time in the mornings to continue researching throughout the school year. As a scholar and professor, Livesay says he inevitably finds documents and sources that he can use in his syllabus. He also incorporates some his own research and findings into the classroom.

“I think students get excited to see what their professors are experts in,” Livesay says. “They give good feedback and often show me something I hadn’t thought about before—they add a new perspective.”

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.

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