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.


Drury faculty member earns recognition from area technology professionals

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 2, 2017 — Biz 417 Magazine and the Association of Information Technology Professionals of the Ozarks have named Drury University professor Dr. Shannon McMurtrey “Security Professional of the Year.”

The award was announced Thursday night at the inaugural Excellence in Technology Awards, held at the Old Glass Place in downtown Springfield.

Shannon McMurtrey

McMurtrey joined the Drury faculty last fall as an assistant professor of information management systems within Drury’s Breech School of Business. He has been a leader in information technology circles for two decades, first with the launch of online shopping cart platform Cart32, and later teaching at Missouri State University. He is now spearheading Drury’s newly created Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate Program, which is a graduate-level program designed to help business professionals of all types understand how to protect, detect, defend, and respond to cybersecurity attacks and manage risk.

“I am very humbled to be recognized in this way knowing that our community is filled with strong talent in the field of cybersecurity,” McMurtrey said. “Having my Drury family with me to help celebrate made for a very special night.”

“Shannon is committed to remaining on the cutting edge of issues affecting cybersecurity through developing himself as an expert in the field. Sharing his knowledge through speaking engagements and involvement in community events continues to have a positive impact on cybersecurity professionals locally and across the country,” said Barbie Kolb, one of the judges for the award.

For more information about the Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate Program, visit www.drury.edu/cybersecurity. For more information about Dr. McMurtrey, check out our Q&A about the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.


Drury faculty member selected to lead statewide nonprofit association

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 28, 2017 — Dan Prater has been selected to serve as the co-chair of Nonprofit Missouri, the statewide association of nonprofit organizations.

Prater is a faculty member at Drury University and serves as the executive director of the university’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership. In this role, he organizes workshops and conferences, consults local nonprofit organizations, and writes and speaks on industry-related topics. Dan teaches in Drury’s Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership degree program.


Dan has spearheaded several local studies, including the 2016 “Springfield Area Congregations Study,” which examined the civic engagement of religious congregations in Greene and Christian counties, and “Volunteerism: A Study of the Springfield Area.”

Nonprofit Missouri, based in Jefferson City, is the collective voice to unite, strengthen, and advance the nonprofit sector in Missouri. Created by and for nonprofits, it is Missouri’s first organization to promote the common interests of the state’s nonprofit organizations. Board members include representatives from nonprofit organizations and universities in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and other regions throughout Missouri.

As of January 2017, there were more than 55,000 registered nonprofit organizations in the state of Missouri (www.taxexemptworld.com) with collective assets exceeding $120 billion.


Media Contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership: (417) 873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu.

Professor Emeritus Michael Buono elected to AIA College of Fellows

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 24, 2016 — Drury University professor emeritus Michael Buono has been selected by the American Institute of Architects to its prestigious College of Fellows. Buono, who retired in 2015, was formally inducted last week during the AIA national meeting in Philadelphia.

The College of Fellows, founded in 1952, is composed of members of the Institute who are elected to Fellowship by a jury of their peers. Fellowship is one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow upon a member. This honor not only recognizes the achievements of the architect as an individual, but also elevates before the public and the profession those who have made significant contributions to architecture and to society.

Michael Buono

Michael Buono

“The American Institute of Architects has over 85,000 members, and each year only around 150 AIA members are elected to the Institute’s College of Fellows,” says Dr. Robert Weddle, dean of the Hammons School of Architecture. “This news truly demonstrates Professor Buono’s caliber and dedication as an educator and is emblematic of the quality of the HSA program, which he led for over a decade.”

Buono is only the third AIA member from the southwest Missouri area to be elected an AIA Fellow. The first was Richard P. Stahl, a 1936 Drury graduate and architect of many distinguished buildings, including on the Drury campus. HSA alumnus Andrew Wells ’91 — principal of Dake Wells Architecture in Springfield — was the second.

Buono, AIA, LEED AP, served as Director of the Hammons School of Architecture from 2000 until 2012. Prior to joining Drury, he served as associate dean and also director of the architecture program at the University of Arkansas for 15 years. He has also taught at Texas Tech University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Mississippi State University. Buono has practiced architecture with firms in Atlanta and Denver, and maintains his own practice. His primary interest is in sustainable design.

For more information about the AIA College of Fellows visit: http://network.aia.org/cof/home.


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 University recognizes faculty & student mid-semester accolades

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 22, 2016 — Drury University is entering the second half of the spring semester and would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the academic accomplishments of various faculty and staff over the past few months.


  • Michael Buono, Emeritus Professor and former Director of Hammons School of Architecture, has been elected to the American Institute of Architects prestigious College of Fellows. Buono is the only the third AIA member from the southwest Missouri area to be elected.
  • For the 2nd year in a row, a Drury student has been accepted in the UDream Program at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. Olivia Freese has been selected this year. In 2015, Tamara Cartwright was selected.

Art & Art History:

  • Rebecca Miller, Associate Professor, will assume the leadership of Drury’s Arts Administration program in the fall.

Behavioral Science:

  • Dr. Patricia McEachern, Dorothy Jo Barker Endowed Professor for the Study of Animal Rights, has been invited on a permanent Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics at Oxford University in England. McEachern has been invited to teach in the Summer School there in July.

Computer Science:

  • Nine Drury students competed in the 2015 International Collegiate Programming Contest.


  • Dr. Kevin Henderson, Assistant Professor, recently had his essay, “Why Do You Make Me Do This?: Spectator Empathy, Self-Loathing Lawmen, and Nicholas Ray’s Noir Vision in On Dangerous Ground” accepted into the summer issue of the peer-reviewed journal Interdisciplinary Humanities.


  • Dr. Natalie Wlodarczyk, assistant professor, was elected to a 5 year term on the Board of Directors of the Certification Board for Music Therapists, the national credentialing organization for music therapy.
  • Dr. Tina Claussen, associate professor, became a member of the Missouri Jazz Orchestra.
  • Dr. Stephen Bomgardner, professor, had an original work selected for a lecture-recital at the National Conference of The College Music Society next October.


  • Jessica Kjeldgaard, Drury student, has received the Barbara Lotze scholarship for future teachers of physics from the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Political Science:

  • Several Drury students won awards at the Midwest Model UN Conference in St. Louis earlier this year.
    • Nargiss Pourmand, representing New Zealand, won an award for Best Position Paper in the Security Council.
    • Sheri Walsh, representing Chile, won a Best Delegate/Delegates’ Choice award chosen by her fellow students in the Security Council.
    • Christina FaoroAlex Johnson and Emma-Quin Smith, representing Spain, won an overall Best Delegation award for work in the General Assembly.


  • Drury senior Briana Hopkins served as a Student Arts Advocate in Washington, D.C. in March.


Four retiring professors, 170 years & countless students inspired

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 18, 2016 — Four highly respected Drury University professors have announced they will retire at the conclusion of the academic year in May. The university community recently recognized the foursome – whose combined careers represent more than 170 years of teaching excellence and countless student lives touched.

“Faculty are the heart and soul of the university, and these longtime teachers and mentors truly exemplify what makes a Drury education special,” says Dr. Steven Combs, Drury’s provost. “Drury and its students have been fortunate to have these four individuals on campus over the decades.”

Left to right: William Rohlf, Protima Roy, Rabindra Roy, and Dudley Murphy.

Left to right: Bill Rohlf, Protima Roy, Rabindra Roy, and Dudley Murphy.

The four are:

Dudley Murphy – 38 years

Murphy joined Drury’s Art Department in 1978 and went on to fashion a national reputation as a sculptor. He also built a strong and respected program in visual communication and graphic design, serving as its director. As recognition of his remarkable talents working with students and inspiring them as artists, he received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Drury Alumni Association in 2009. Murphy is also a published author who researched, wrote, designed and provided photographs for two volumes of books about vintage collectable fishing lures. The books have since become standard guides in the market.

Murphy’s passions and projects extend far beyond the classroom. He is also known as an accomplished guitarist, most notably playing with the nationally acclaimed bluegrass band Radio Flyer.

Dr. William (Bill) Rohlf – 44 years

Rohlf joined Drury’s Breech School of Business Administration in 1973. In his tenure as professor of economics, Rohlf has been honored as recipient of numerous awards, including the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award. He received the Richard C. Grayson Burlington Northern Chair of Business Administration in 2003. His very successful basic economics textbook, first published in 1988 and now in its eighth edition, is widely recognized for its emphasis on the application of economic reasoning to the analysis of current economic events.

Affectionately known to his students as “Dr. Lovable,” Rohlf is indeed a caring but demanding teacher who is highly respected for his innovative methods and teaching style. Breech alumni from the last 40-plus years enjoy sharing Dr. Rohlf stories whenever they meet. His dedication to teaching has been a model for many colleagues and he has been a role model and mentor to countless students, some of whom have gone on to earn their Ph.D. in economics and now teach at other universities.

Dr. Protima Roy – 41 years

Protima Roy joined Drury’s School of Education in 1975. During her time at Drury, Roy has been an advocate for student research and the inquiry method of teaching science. She has been the recipient of many grants and awards through the years including a National Science Foundation grant that funded collaborative projects between Drury, Pipkin Middle School and Central High School. For many years Dr. Roy’s science education students have helped Boyd students complete science fair projects with presentations on the Drury campus.

Through the years, Dr. Roy has had an immeasurable impact on teachers in the region. Her many students now emulate what they learned about inquiry-based learning and science education at Drury and that impact is felt in countless classrooms today.

Dr. Rabindra Roy – 50 years

Roy joined Drury’s Department of Chemistry in 1966. A distinguished educator and chemist, he is best characterized by his passion for undergraduate research and science education. Roy has conducted collaborative research with more than 50 scientists around the world including Nobel Laureates William Giauque and Johann Deisenhofer.

During his tenure at Drury, Roy developed an innovative model for undergraduate research that has trained hundreds of future scientists and healthcare professionals. Roy and his students have made 485 scientific presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. He received grants and contracts totaling more than $4.5 million dollars to fund his research, and has published more than 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Roy has received numerous awards including the American Chemical Society National Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution in 1998.

Roy’s passion for science education extends beyond the boundaries of Drury University. In 1995, Dr. Roy and his wife, Dr. Protima Roy, founded Hem Sheela Model School in Durgapur, India with 350 students. The two campuses of Hem Sheela have grown to 24 acres and now enroll more than 5,000 students. It is one of the most prestigious K-12 schools in India, routinely scoring at the top of national exams in science and math. It is a sister school of Drury University. In 2007, the Roys also founded a tribal school for first-generation learners.

Dr. Roy is an example of a life well lived. He has invested his life educating future scientists through his work at Drury and Hem Sheela. He has influenced thousands of students, dined with numerous Nobel Laureates, and had an audience with Mother Teresa. The scope of Dr. Roy’s life work will extend well beyond his 50 years at Drury.


Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations; (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


Drury professor revels in discoveries, connections to Pluto mission

You can call it a planet, a dwarf planet, or even a ball of ice. But to Dr. Greg Ojakangas, there’s no doubt about what to call Pluto: “Amazingly beautiful.”

Ojakangas, an associate professor of physics at Drury, was one of millions around the world fascinated by the prospect of seeing Pluto up close as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft recently flew by the icy outpost at a distance of just 7,800 miles.

Color-corrected image of Pluto from New Horizons. (NASA)

Color-corrected image of Pluto from New Horizons. (NASA)

“This is a part of the universe no human has ever seen before,” he says. “It’s not often that you’re able to see, for first time, something no human eyes have ever seen.”

Ojakangas has a deep professional interest in New Horizons. His doctoral work examined the large moons of Jupiter, and the remarkable manner in which such worlds can have orbits that are synchronized with each other, providing power for volcanic eruptions and other fascinating dynamical phenomena.  In a similar manner, it was recently discovered that three of Pluto’s 5 moons are also synchronized.  “The staggering beauty of these phenomena is beyond words,”  Ojakangas says.  New Horizons is yielding incredible new information about Pluto’s five moons.

Greg Ojakangas

Greg Ojakangas

But Ojakangas also has a personal connection. The former finalist in NASA’s astronaut selection program knows many of the researchers working on the New Horizons team. He’s thrilled to see the work of colleagues pay off after the probe launched from Earth more than nine years ago. The results have been spectacular, he says.

“As is usually the case when we see a new planetary body, it’s surpassing our expectations in terms of discoveries,” he says.

Glaciers of nitrogen, mountains as high as those in the Sierra Nevada, a mysterious source of geologic heat and even a faint comet-like tail were some of the revelations beamed back to NASA from the spacecraft. For scientists like Ojakangas, the discoveries are not unlike going down the proverbial rabbit hole from “Alice in Wonderland.”

“The laws of physics are the same but the substances are all different, and it’s surprising everybody,” he says. “We love that kind of thing because we learn from it.”

And the lessons aren’t confined to the edge of the solar system.

“To understand our Earth better, we should do everything we can to understand other planets,” he says. “They’re ready-made laboratories for testing our understanding of how the materials of the universe behave.”


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

Drury professor named Springfield Regional Opera music director

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 25, 2015 — Dr. Christopher Koch has been appointed Music Director of the Springfield Regional Opera.

Koch is an associate professor of music and director of the Orchestra and Wind Symphony at Drury. As music director of the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, Koch is a longtime champion of orchestral music and the arts throughout southwest Missouri. The nationally recognized SDCO has been the area’s regional community orchestra for more than a decade.

Koch mug

“We’re delighted Dr. Koch is joining our organization, and this is just the first step in an exciting restructure and revitalization of the SRO,” says Cindy Curtis, president of the organization’s board of directors.

Koch will continue his work at Drury and with the SDCO as he assumes new duties with the Opera.

The Springfield Regional Opera will collaborate with Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra in a gala Evening at the Opera to be held at Drury’s Clara Thompson Hall at on Saturday, October 3. The event will celebrate the SRO’s 35th season and will feature many of the company’s past and present stars, both local and international.


Media Contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, Associate Professor of Music: (417) 873-7298 or ckoch@drury.edu.