Summit in Monett will introduce Drury students to aspects of leadership

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 6, 2017 — Drury University’s Monett campus will host its sixth annual Leadership Summit on Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Monett City Park Casino building. The summit is the culmination of a semester-long project by Adjunct Professor Joel Thomas’ leadership class, which organized every aspect of the event.

The event will feature a panel of prominent southwest Missouri business people and public figures, including David Foss, president and CEO of Jack Henry & Associates; Aaron Jones, chief of staff at Drury University; Donna Becket, vice president and COO of Community National Bank; and Laura Kelly, senior vice president and chief product officer of The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. Members of the panel will discuss leadership strategies and share their personal success stories.

“We are all very excited about the leaders these students have invited to present at this year’s Leadership Summit,” says Thomas, M.A., ’12, “This is a great project for these students to get some real-life work experience in coordinating an event such as this. I am so proud of what they have accomplished in just a few short months. It not only brings our students together, but our community as well.”

Thomas’ leadership class included a handful of students in Drury’s Somos program, which provides support, training, mentoring and academic counseling to family members of migrant or seasonal agricultural workers.                                                                                                                     

“As our class project, it has been a lot of fun coordinating the event with this year’s presenters and promoting it with local businesses, including advertising through the newspaper and recording a 30-second radio commercial,” says Drury student Isel Trujillo. “It has been an overall great learning experience. We are anxious for the opportunity to meet this year’s leaders and ask them questions about what brought them to where they are today.”

For more information about the CCPS Monett campus:


Media Contact: Greg Katski, Director of Marketing, College of Continuing Professional Studies – (417) 873-7317 or

Grant helps Drury launch program aimed at migrant workers, families

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 16, 2016 — Migrant workers and their families in southwest Missouri will soon see improved access to higher education thanks to Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies (CCPS) and a five-year, $1.94 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

This College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) grant will be used to fund three full-time and three part-time staff members at Drury’s CCPS campus in Monett. The staff will be dedicated to identifying, recruiting and supporting students with the greatest need within the local Hispanic population. The grant will also fund classroom technology such as laptops, and living expenses such as childcare. A key focus of the program is leadership training, which will take place in partnership with the Monett Chamber of Commerce.

A public kick-off event to celebrate will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1 at the Drury Monett campus, 400 4th Street.

“I’m extremely excited about the confidence the Department of Education has in Drury and our Monett site,” says Ann Saunders, Monett campus director. “These resources will help us make a positive imprint on the lives of many students and their families. Staff members are rolling up their sleeves and are ready to embark on this historic journey.”

How the Program Will Work

The Drury program is called “Somos” – Spanish for “we are.” The first cohort of Somos students will begin classes this month in Monett. Spots are still available in the cohort.

“Drury’s Monett campus has a long history of providing personalized, supportive education to the area’s first generation college students and the Hispanic community,” says Dr. Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols, Professor of Spanish and Somos Project Director. “This grant provides the funding to allow the excellent advising, mentoring and educating currently going on in Monett to expand and work more efficiently. Providing specialized services to allow new first-year students to succeed at the college level will help these students proceed and persist to graduation.”

Through the Somos program, Drury faculty and staff will identify and provide outreach to qualifying students and their families. They will be able to provide access to and training on technology, provide relevant instruction in language and math, and help them earn a bachelor’s degree. In particular, the program will encourage degree completion in STEM, business and education fields. In order to lay the groundwork for a successful transition into the workforce, most second-year students will complete the Monett Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute and complete an internship in the community.

A key component of Somos is addressing the cultural barriers that exist for students whose families may prioritize the immediacy of earning a paycheck over getting a degree. Somos includes activities that encourage families of students to be involved, and it builds a support system of peers so that students can help one another in continuing their education.

Meeting Workforce Needs

There are significant needs in the Monett area labor force for more university-educated Spanish-speaking workers, Nichols says. Local employers cite a need for Hispanic employees at management and executive levels.

Drury University at Monett is the only university in the area already integrated with the local migrant Hispanic community that serves nontraditional students and provides bachelor’s degrees in key areas such as STEM majors, business and management specialties, and elementary and secondary education. The Monett campus, under the College of Continuing Professional Studies, has grown since its 2007 inception, from six courses in 2007 to 25 courses serving approximately 150 students per semester today. Monett students choose from 15 majors and can complete their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees through a combination of seated, blended and online courses, providing a unique service in an underserved region.

The Somos program is funded entirely though the federal Department of Education CAMP grant. Drury will receive $373,047 in the grant’s first year, which does not require any local matching funds over its five-year lifespan. Drury will receive $1.94 million total over the five-year grant period.

“The CAMP program provides vital resources to help students pursue a higher education and all of the opportunities that come with it,” says U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. “I’m proud this grant award will allow the exceptional faculty and staff at Drury University to reach more students and their families, and enable them take the next step toward realizing the American Dream.”


Media Contacts:

Dr. Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols – Somos Program Director:  (417) 873-6925 or

Ann Saunders – Drury Monett Campus Director: (417) 235-2007 or

Drury University receives building donation in Monett

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 19, 2015 — The building that is the current home of Drury University’s College of Continuing Professional Studies in Monett has been gifted to the university by Glen and Sharon Garrett.

Drury began offering classes in Monett in 2007. In 2011, the location moved to its current facility located at 400 4th Street where the university has leased a portion of the building until now. Glen and Sharon Garrett, owners of the building, are donating the entire building to Drury. This is the first CCPS location that will be fully owned by the university. The 23,000 square foot facility is valued at $522,500 by the Barry County Tax Assessor’s Office.

“This generous donation by the Garretts will provide Drury University the opportunity to expand the services we currently offer to students in the Monett area, both in terms of physical space and number of classes,” says Drury President Dr. David Manuel. “We’re thankful that Glen and Sharon share our vision for higher education in the area.”

Students at the CCPS Monett campus can fully complete associates degrees through a combination of online and evening classes in areas such as leadership studies, health science, psychology and more.

Drury will host a celebration of the gift at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the location at 400 4th Street in Monett. The event is open to the public. Announcements regarding renovation plans will be made later in the year.

Media Contact: Kristy Nelson – Director of Marketing, College of Continuing Professional Studies. Email:; phone: (417) 873-7313.


Young Hispanic women come to Drury to gain a college experience

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 21, 2012 — For the third straight year, Latina teenagers from southwest Missouri will spend a week at Drury University from June 25-29 for the Campamento de Alumnas Hispanas (Summer Camp for Latina girls).

The girls taking part in the program are between the ages of 11-and-15, and are self-identified Latinas from the Springfield, Monett, Purdy, Republic and Branson areas. The 14 students will live in Drury dormitories and eat in the university’s cafeteria during their stay. There is no cost to the campers. One 16-year-old alumnus from a past Summer Camp for Latina girls will return as a mentor to the current campers.

“We’ve watched these girls grow in confidence and their perspectives have matured.

Dr. Jayne White

Before they came to camp, some of the girls said that they hadn’t thought about a future beyond high school,” said Dr. Jayne White, Drury professor of education and co-founder of the program. “Now, the girls are saying they want to be doctors, and nurses, or become the first person in their family to graduate from college. Some had never been on a college campus until they came to Drury.”

While on campus, participants will engage in a variety of academic sessions facilitated by Drury faculty. Topics include: adolescent literature and creative writing. These academic sessions will be interspersed with non-academic programming, including: jewelry making, swimming and a trip to Springfield’s Discovery Center. All activities are intended to expose the girls to a variety of ideas that will help them reflect on their own identities in new ways while providing ample time for reflection and dialogue.

Drury graduate students taking the class “The Home, School and Community” will work directly with the students during the camp experience. “Dr. White and I are strong proponents of family engagement in the educational experience of all public school students,” said Dr. Rebecca Denton, associate professor of education and co-founder of the program. “As the demographics of the student population become more diverse, the knowledge-base of educators must expand in order to meet the needs of all students and their families.”

Dr. White and Dr. Denton lead the project along with assistance from other Drury faculty members and current Drury education students.

Media Contact: Dr. Jayne White, Professor, School of Education & Child Development, Office: (417) 873-7260, Mobile: (417) 569-3712, E-mail:


Drury University receives grants to benefit Monett campus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 1, 2011 — Drury University’s Monett campus has received $16,550 in grant money from the Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation ($8,000) and the BNSF Foundation ($8,550).  The grant money will be used for the development of a “high technology” classroom, as well as to advance the Monett campus’s Hispanic Initiative.

“High technology classrooms allow Drury the flexibility to better integrate our students into the learning opportunities outside of the Monett area,” said Dr. Laura Plybon, director of assessment and instructional design. “The technology expands Drury’s reach so that we have the opportunity to collaborate with students across the globe. It also helps us prepare our students for the advancing technology they will see in the job world.”

“Drury University connects with Monett-area residents on so many levels in meeting their needs. These grants will allow us to do even more for them, especially in expanding Drury’s presence in the Hispanic communities,” said Ann Saunders, assistant director of Drury’s Monett campus.

“These grants supplement the considerable generosity this community shows Drury University. We continue our mission to being a major contributor to the area’s growth and development,” said Daphne Massa Ewing, director of development.

Dr. Plybon, Saunders and Ewing wrote the two grants.

Media Contact: Dr. Laura Plybon, Director of Assessment & Instructional Design, Office: (417) 873-7317, E-mail: