Presidential Search

Getting to Know Drury’s 18th President: Part 3 – Scholarship & Leadership

Cloyd speaking smallIn an effort to better get to know Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd, we are publishing a Q&A series about his selection and the man himself. The first installment featured a conversation with search committee members about the selection and vetting process, and the second featured a look at Dr. Cloyd’s early life. In this installment, we discuss his love for the classroom, his passion for scholarship and what the study of international politics and political theory can teach us about leadership and leading a university. Future conversations in this series are forthcoming.

You’ve told us how much you enjoyed diving into academics as a student. Did you find similar joy once you were in the classroom as a teacher?

I went to graduate school because of my love of learning, the passion I have for my discipline, and the influence professors have had on my life. I wanted the honor of having that same kind of influence on the lives of students. I still feel teaching is my vocation – my calling. I just do it in a different way in the academic presidency. There is not a major in “presidenting.” The education I have had in the liberal arts and the variety of experiences I have had in higher education are perfect for being a president or a college professor.

I love to teach. I first got into the classroom in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was a great training ground for honing my craft and style of pedagogy. I not only taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in smaller classes in the honors program and in large lecture halls, but I taught in the Five College Program in which UMass Amherst partnered with four small liberal arts schools: Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Hampshire College. There I learned how to use a number of techniques to teach – in small groups, tutorials, having students learn by teaching. I also learned to teach students at all kinds of academic levels.

Over the years I have continued to learn new approaches to teaching. For example, I begin every class with “check-in” – each of us go around the room and say what is going on in our life and then we agree to put our thoughts on hold during the class period. Sometimes I use picture cards of all sorts of objects and scenes and ask students to talk about the topic of the day through the object or scene they have selected.

Because students today often tend to think in 140 characters – the length of a tweet – sometimes I assign students a micro-moment in which they have to summarize the topic for the class like a tweet. New media and new technologies have really opened an exciting world to me for teaching. I think all college and university faculty members need have the development opportunities and the resources to use these new technologies in their teaching. We are often afraid to try these new things mostly because we are afraid to admit what we do not know how to do, especially in front of our students. That is why schools need faculty Teaching and Development centers where technology experts and digital librarians can teach us without students looking on!

In what ways have you used new technologies in your classes?

I say “new” technologies because they are new to me, but not to this generation of techno-natives. I am just a techno-immigrant and sometimes techno-ignorant.

Here are some of the ways I have been using technology in my courses. First, I try to create web pages for each one of my courses and provide links to digital video and music content, podcasts, TED talks, and other things I use in class by asking students to watch them or listen to them before class. Those materials can then drive class discussion. I also use something called lecture capture, iTunes lectures, and open source online lectures. Lecture capture allows me to give a talk about something that is digitally captured so students can view it before class – that way class time is not just didactic, but discussion- and team-based. I used to have this presentation I loved to give on World War I, but I found one that Michael Howard, a world-class historian from Oxford, gives online. So now I just have students watch that and we do things like virtual or game simulations based on escalating conflicts in class. I also like to provide class notes online and let students take photos of the white board and chalkboard in class. There are so many fun and innovative things that can be done in teaching using technology. I could go on and on.

Consider this: by the time my son was 13 his room looked like command control at NASA, in fact it probably had better technology than the technology at NASA in the 1980s. His technology interactions were dynamic; he was connected globally playing games with other kids in teams around the world, and now at 16 his games are fast first-person perspective and 3D. In teaching we have to move to where our students are or at least meet them halfway.

Recently, I have become very interested in the growing distinction between online education and emerging HD virtual presence instructional technology. The term “online” is becoming passé. I hope I can bring virtual presence instruction to Drury and make us a “any device, anywhere, anytime” campus.

What are your favorite courses to teach and why?

Wow. Difficult question. I teach a course called Irregular Warfare. I love teaching that course because we cover everything in that area: from theories and strategies of insurgency/counter-insurgency; the use of drones, drone technology, drone targeting, and the domestic use of drones; the complexity of a world of nation-states in conflict with non-state violent actors; the way terrorism/counter-terrorism work; and new and emerging – almost futuristic – technologies being deployed in waging war and in conflicts. But we also explore questions of ethics in war and questions about how these issues are having an impact on questions of democracy and civil liberties in our growing national security state in the United States.

I also like teaching courses in topics and trends in contemporary politics, business, and security where I teach things like cyber security, big data analytics, new media connectivity, and human terrain mapping. In these courses we study how these topics relate to things like privacy, civil liberties, changing markets, property rights, and leadership decisions. In cyber security, for example, we study cyber-crime, cyber-espionage, cyber-terrorism, and cyber-war. The key issues are attacks that involve confidentiality and the theft of intellectual property, denial-of-service attacks, and protecting the integrity of data, data systems, and resilience. These areas of study require a multidisciplinary approach because without knowledge grounded in different disciples you cannot understand the issues in a comprehensive way. We study WikiLeaks, Stuxnet, zero-day vulnerabilities, and we even toy around with The Onion Router. We also study how big data and the use of algorithms is shaping everything from business strategies in marketing to fundraising strategies to higher education marketing.

How did you become a Fellow at the Institute for the Study of World Politics? What was involved in that assignment?

I was doing research on leadership and cooperation in international relations. Mainly, about how leaders and states developed collaboration and cooperation and built, grew, and sustained organizational cultures in international security institutions. My case study was a classified organization in Paris called the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) through which Western states prevented the diffusion of strategic and dual-use highly sophisticated technology to the Soviet Bloc and rouge states. I was asked to work with a DOD office called the Defense Technology Security Agency. So the fellowship from The Institute for the Study of World Politics funded my living and working all over Europe. I spent time interviewing bureaucrats and leaders in Western European countries about the work, focus, and effectiveness of the international organization.

I learned a great deal about organizational culture, about how to listen and ask questions, about diplomacy and how to adapt my style and approach depending on the situation, and about how to quickly orient myself in diverse human environments. I also worked with intelligence agents and people from NATO and the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Command. Basically, we were looking at companies and states that were violating the export control system and countries that were converting the technologies they had imported into military applications. It was a chaotic time in Europe with the Wall coming down so there were a lot of treaty agreement and export control license violations.

How did your early experiences at Vanderbilt University shape your views about higher education, including fundraising?

Vanderbilt gave me a great opportunity to learn about how a university works. I started out teaching in the political science department and ended up working for the provost and then in Vanderbilt’s first comprehensive capital campaign. The experience at Vanderbilt taught me how prestige is the ultimate currency in higher education; it taught me how to work with faculty from across various disciplines, colleges, and schools; and it taught me that one of the primary values for faculty is autonomy.

I worked on developing a university-wide, cross-disciplinary certificate program where undergraduate and graduate students across all disciplines could take a series of courses from any department in the university to earn this certificate that was attached to their transcript. This meant I had to get buy-ins from deans and faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, The School of Law, The Divinity School, The School of Business, The College of Medicine, and other schools and centers across the university.

It was hard work. But in the end it paid off. Our work laid the foundation for a program, a center, and a major that now exist at Vanderbilt called Medicine, Health, and Society. It is an interdisciplinary field of research, study, and practice that critically examines the social foundations of health. Students learn about health-related beliefs and practices in their political, social, and cultural contexts. The program brings together and integrates teaching and scholarship in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences in order to teach students how to approach questions from multiple perspectives. As part of the program, we organized a number of conferences on topics such as the politics of the human body.

I also learned about the challenges of coordinating and integrating initiatives and programs across schools, colleges, and departments in a university. I learned about how costs are driven up and inefficiencies are created because every college wants to do its own decentralized thing.

In addition, in higher education we have not yet learned how to incentivize or to recognize and reward faculty for cross-disciplinary work. While solutions to the world’s problems require the perspectives of multiple disciplines, we tend to silo knowledge.

My work at Vanderbilt reinforced my belief in the importance of creating student experiences that develop competence in a team-based, problem-to-solution orientation from multiple perspectives. This could be multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary. But what it means is that colleges and schools in a university have to be interwoven – and not just through the general education program.

As far as fundraising is concerned, I learned the importance of having not just a guiding strategic vision and theme that brings all of the component parts of a university together, but also actual programs that tie everything together. Donors will become more passionate and give more if they can see that they are making a contribution to the solution of a big world problem. They know that these problems and solutions are complex and cannot be solved by the education and scholarship offered by only one discipline or college. That is why fundraising campaigns for one-off projects, buildings, etc., produce fewer overall dollars and dissipate energy. We sometimes think of fundraising in terms of our own needs and the potential loyalty of our graduates. That is okay, but it is not as powerful as a vision.

Beginning in 1988 and continuing through 1997 you authored a dozen or so writings including a book, covering topics ranging from war to trade and the politics of the human body. Are they still topics of interest to you?

Yes, those topics still interest me and I return to them when I am asked to teach or to give a talk for example on war, insurgency, security, terrorism, or the politics of the body. The book Jean Bethke Elshtain and I edited and published with Vanderbilt University Press was called “Politics and the Human Body.” In that book, and in a study guide I published with Vanderbilt as well called “The Gulf War and Just War,” I was blessed to work with some of the leading scholars in the world.

More recently, however, I have been doing research, writing, and teaching on leadership, management, change, and market positioning particularly in higher education and nonprofits. This comes out of my academic work in business, higher education management, and of course my own experience. I have written and presented on “Leading Change,” “The Relationship Between Price, Discount, and Institutional Differentiation,” and “Marketing, Branding, and Positioning in Higher Education.” The book I am working on in leadership studies is about how leaders develop substance, fearlessness, dexterity, resilience and inner peace in the face of disruptive turbulence.

I have had a book contract with Johns Hopkins University Press for a work on “Arms and The Citizen: War Service, Conscription, and the American Experience” in which I reflect on the potential benefits to our nation of reinstituting conscription in some form and have been doing research on a project called “NATO’s Decline and the United States’ Pivot to the East: A Study of the Rise and Fall of Alliance Strategy.”

But I know I will not be getting back to those projects anytime soon! I plan to be very busy working for Drury.

Given your specialty in international relations and in political theory, what lessons from those fields are useful in leadership and in teaching leadership?

As far as teaching leadership is concerned, there is a great deal to be mined related to those disciplines. In the area of leadership studies and organizational behavior, I teach courses like the art and science of leadership; life narratives, discourse, and leadership; change and leadership; and transformational leadership. In those courses we use contemporary social science.

In Classics and Leadership we study the theories and lives of past great leaders and look for lessons. Certain questions emerge in studying these classics: whether or not leadership is a natural trait or is learned; whether or not a leader creates success or is it just a matter of the external environment and the willingness of followers to create success – followers create successful leaders; whether or not leadership success is defined by specific contexts and historical conditions and therefore there is no universal model for leadership, etc.

People often look to someone like Machiavelli in studying classics and leadership, but there are many other examples that provide different models. Thucydides in the Peloponnesian Wars gives us examples of the failures of leaders and of how heartless action comes back to haunt leaders. Alexander the Great shows us an example of leading from the front and instilling intense loyalty and trust by demonstrating competence, taking risks, treating people fairly, and innovating. Jesus and others provide us a model of servant leadership and show us that the powerful do not always win – that love and kindness can undermine hard power. Napoleon, Wellington, Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Lee, Churchill, Martin Luther King, and many others show us contrasting models of leadership. One key point is that none of these leaders was perfect. Each had flaws and often deep personal character weaknesses. The experience of failure, rejection, suffering, and overcoming terrible trials and self doubt is, I think, common to all great leaders.

Churchill once said, “Success is one failure after another without losing enthusiasm.” Unless you have been in the position of making consequential decisions for which you will be held accountable, or in a position where you and you alone will be held responsible for the success or failure of an organization over which you may, in fact, have very little authority, it will be difficult to understand the pressure and stress leaders must learn to live with. This is especially true today in our ultra-polarized environment on campuses and off. It is easier to criticize, protest, and deconstruct than it is to build something and to create a compelling vision that others follow and make real.

Many of the leaders we study were involved in war and conflict. Why does this teach us about leadership? Because it is an experience of great trial and human strife, but it is also about action, resolve, and resilience. Clausewitz said that any human interaction produces a “friction” to be overcome, a “fog” in which decisions must be made in the context of ambiguity, and the need for “audacity” to be decisive in action. But the classics also show the enduring truth that “hubris always brings nemeses” and that the wings of Icarus always eventually melt.

Read Part 4 of the Q&A series: Innovation & Growth at Hendrix


Getting to Know Drury’s 18th President: Part 2 – Formative Years

In an effort to better get to know Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd, we are publishing a Q&A series about his selection and the man himself. The first installment featured a conversation with search committee members about the selection and vetting process. Now, we turn to Dr. Cloyd to ask him about his childhood and his early career in academics. Future conversations with the incoming president are forthcoming in this series.

Where did you grow up?

dr-cloydCloyd: I grew up in a lot of places. My parents were United Methodist missionaries and teachers in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), in a region called the Katanga. My family was evacuated from the Congo during the Katanga war for secession. We then moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation where my parents ran a boarding school called the United Methodist Mission School and an outpost on the reservation in the De-Na-Zin or in English Bisti. The school was between the towns of Farmington and Shiprock in New Mexico. There were 600 Navajo students who lived on-campus. They came mostly from the remote parts of the Navajo Reservation. I remember we used to get our clothes out of mission barrels and once a week we would haul water and supplies out into the De-Na-Zin.

The cultural shift from sub-Saharan Africa to the Navajo culture and landscape was dramatic. The older boys used to carry me around on their shoulders. I remember all of those guys. I learned a great deal about cultural differences and Navajo culture and language, the way of the Dine they called it, from those older students. I remember once I was pointing at something with my finger and one of my beloved “older brothers” (I called him “Big Daddy”) said to me, “Tim we don’t point with our finger, point with your chin.” From then on I pointed with my chin. I learned hundreds of other things from them about being quiet and listening – about how the human spirit is connected to the spiritual world – about Skinwalkers – about stopping and reading the cultural and human terrain – about nature and about honor and courage from the way that they lived their lives. Many of those boys who carried me on their shoulders volunteered for military service during Vietnam – they weren’t drafted – it was just part of their culture to volunteer just like the Navajo Code Talkers during World War II. A lot of them, too many of them, never came home.

When I was about 14 or so we moved back to my family’s ancestral home in middle Tennessee. I went to high school there and arrived just in time for the busing in the 1970s. It was so strange coming from the reservation and that school, where I was from a majority culture, but living as a minority, into an environment exploding with racial tension and an undercurrent of racism. So I grew up in a lot of places and learned from real experiences the reality and value of diversity in our country and the world.

What experiences in your early life would you point to as having the most profound influence on you? Any heroes?

That is hard to narrow down. First, was my memory of my father telling me the news that one of the Navajo boys I looked up to and loved was killed in Vietnam. It was hard. What was even more difficult for me was following the Navajo tradition of not ever speaking of the dead. So when an Arthur, a Begay, or a Manygoats (I am using last names) died I could no longer talk about them with other Navajos. That is just how it was.

Second, was seeing how my parents embraced Navajo culture and traditions. Both my parents and my sister are United Methodist ministers, but when my father took over the Mission School he started encouraging the Navajos to integrate their own practices and traditional religion into Christian services. Before then, the Navajos weren’t even allowed to speak Navajo at the school much less to live out their own faith tradition. I remember funerals that blended faith traditions – so there would be a casket, but it would be filled with all sorts of things that the person would need in the next life. My father would also take me to Navajo healing services where we would sit in a Hogan (a traditional Navajo home) for long periods of time in silence where medicine men would do sand paintings and sing to heal a person. One of my parent’s closest friends was a Creek medicine man named Harry Long. Every time we moved to a new house Harry would come and burn sweet grass, wave over it with an eagle feather, and sing in every room to cleanse the house. My younger sister was struck with a debilitating illness when she was around 13 and I remember my father calling Harry Long and some Navajo medicine men to come and sing over her. This shaped my perspective of my Christian faith as open and accepting – connecting with others through their own faith.

Third, was the fact that I grew up in a home that was open to everyone. My parents taught us hospitality and generosity. They were always bringing people home who needed a place to stay. Many mornings I would get up to have breakfast and there would be two or three people at the table who I had never met or seen before. Once, some Creek friends of Harry’s were travelling across the country and they stopped to camp out in our back yard – they stayed for six weeks. As far as heroes are concerned there are of course my parents, Harry Long, a Navajo elder named Fred Yazzie, a minister from the Congo from the Kasai tribe named Leon Mwambai, and many of my teachers and United Methodist minister mentors.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to pursue the career path you selected?

Well, first of all, I do not often use the language of “career” in referring to my vocation. I prefer to use the old notion of a calling. My father has a Ph.D. in cross-cultural – what we would call today multi-cultural – education. I witnessed him raising funds for the mission school. So that influenced me.

But when I was in high school I played football, soccer, baseball and wrestled. You could not do that today because a single sport is now a year-round activity. I thought I was going to go to college to play football on a scholarship. Then when I was a junior I suffered a terrible knee injury followed by an infection. I was not a very good student at the time and had placed such energy and hope into my football aspirations that I thought life was over.

This injury turned out to be a blessing that changed my life. I had to miss a semester of high school and was assigned a homeschool teacher. She was hard on me, but inspired me to begin reading the classics and philosophy. I was immediately transformed and decided to pursue a vocation as an academic – reading, studying, writing about, and teaching what I loved. As far as “presidenting” is concerned, well you don’t major in that, but I knew that God had blessed me with a passion for the transformational impact of education, talents to work with others in developing a shared vision, executing that vision by getting others excited about it and to buy into the dream through actions, and a gift for communication. When the opportunity arose for me to become president of Hendrix College, I was drafted. I enjoy the work of leadership, but still love my academic discipline.

Were you more competitive or more collaborative growing up? What about now?

I have always been intensely competitive and I still have that zest in me. It is what makes me push myself to achieve excellence and it is what drives me to achieve the best for any organization for which I work. Wisdom and change, however, come to us with age and with learning. So over the years, particularly in the context of leadership, I have learned that collaboration is the most effective method to achieve buy-in and to achieve sustainable change and momentum. This is particularly true in the context of higher education where our values and practice of shared governance means that all key stakeholders are at the table – all voices are heard.  It means that we all work together and support each other and our shared vision and objectives. Too many times I have witnessed situations where individual board members are doing one thing with pet projects, individual deans and faculty members are doing another thing, and the administration is doing something else. This produces chaos where what is needed is coherent collaboration.

The value of collaboration lies in the fact that no one person has all of the answers, ideas, or skills to accomplish significant goals, to develop a vision, or to realize a transformational vision. There was a time in our society when we believed that all the priorities, direction, even the specific objectives for an organization came out of the office of the CEO or the president. This view alleviated everyone else in the organization from taking ownership and making things happen all the way up and down the institution. If things did not work out it was the president’s fault, but with collaboration if things are not working the community bears responsibility, too. In a collaborative process with community input, the leader is responsible for setting the tone and the direction and holding people accountable for their roles and commitments. It is more like what Eisenhower did when developing the plan for the European operations in WW II. He just continuously said: “Direction Berlin!”

What experiences had the greatest impact on you as an undergraduate? How does that inform the way you have tried to lead undergraduate institutions?

I remember sitting in my first philosophy class and reading Socrates. In his dialogues a question is raised (and I am paraphrasing): “Is what is good, good because the gods say it is good, or do the gods point to what is good because it is good?” This challenged my view of the source of the good and of God. I went on to read many other thinkers who shocked and challenged my views, such as Hume, Wollstonecraft, Nietzsche, W.E.B. Dubois, Foucault, Cornell West, and others. I struggled with the questions raised and was forced to examine my assumptions. So the experience that had the greatest impact on me was to be challenged to think critically and analytically. “To learn how to learn” – that is part of the essence of the liberal arts. So I think that quality education is liberal arts and science – interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary. It is an education that teaches students how to solve puzzles, to make connections between disciplines, to see difference, and to realize that perhaps more than one interpretation of the truth may be possible. I was challenged to ask questions about the historical context in which something was discovered or argued, to try and understand the meaning and significance of topics in courses from the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. In an ideal community it is also a place where people, no matter their background or ideas, can be called into accountability for the arguments they make or positions they take without fear.

This informed my leadership of undergraduate institutions because I believe my role is one of service that provides the context and the resources for faculty and the community to challenge students in this way and to make connections both inside and outside of the classroom. This is also why I have concerns about liberal arts colleges or liberal arts universities that try sometimes to mimic large research universities. Those institutions are fragmented. Knowledge is in siloes. Our complex and changing world requires interconnectivity. It also requires an environment that challenges students’ basic assumptions and avoids becoming an echo chamber.

Why did you choose to study political science as you earned advanced degrees?

I assign a book in my Introduction to Politics courses. It is called “Attacking Faulty Reasoning.” The book takes students through each fallacy in reasoning and sharpens the mind. I read that book as an undergraduate and it helped me a great deal. My undergraduate degree as a double major in philosophy and political science prepared me well for graduate school. Within political science, I focused on international relations and political theory. I also studied management and business at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. I chose political science because it allowed me to study normative questions such as what gives legitimacy to the way in which we organize ourselves into communities. It also trained me in qualitative and quantitative methodologies to test assumptions. So I guess it was the intersection of something like the humanities and the social sciences that drew me to the field.

How did your experiences traveling and studying abroad shape you then – and now?

A famous author once said that he intended his writing to “de-familiarize the familiar.” I have travelled, worked, and studied abroad quite a bit and in a variety of roles. I think I have lived a total, off and on, for four years in Eastern and Western Europe. I have also worked in volunteer projects and been on study tours to Central and South America and the Middle East. For example, I have worked on Habitat for Humanity and UMCOR projects. No matter where I have been, it has changed me in that it has refreshed my mind and put my little corner of the world and my big issues into perspective. I have had these experiences abroad in different seasons of my life and have found they have affected my thinking in different ways at different times. My wife lived in New Zealand for 10 years. I lived for a few years in Belgium. While there I studied and worked and learned not only French, but became fluent in Flemish/Dutch. I became totally immersed in the culture. In fact, so much so that most people did not realize I was from the United States. Usually, expats hang out with each other while abroad, but it is the immersion that I think is key to really getting outside of yourself and your particularistic identity. I have been to various parts of Africa many times. We started several exchange and study abroad programs while I was at Hendrix. The one of which I am most proud was the Rwandan Presidential Scholars program. We were able to bring 185 Rwandan students here to study math and science at liberal arts colleges and we sent scores of students there to study and to do internships. These experiences have shaped me and made me a strong advocate for these kinds of experiences for all students.

How do you think those early experiences shaped your views on higher education?

Those experiences definitely had an impact on how I view higher education today. I believe that the institutions that will thrive and gain recognition in this competitive environment will be those that have a coherent, compelling, differentiating vision and narrative. This will have to be something that is produced through collaboration with all stakeholders, and through empirical research we will have to know that the key differentiator will be compelling in our markets and with donors. What differentiates us must be universal and defining of the experience that students have at the institution.

How did all of this end up shaping your overall world view?

These experiences taught me that there are many roads to spirituality and ways to have a faith journey. Harry Long used to say to me that a teepee is held up by many poles, but all of them point toward heaven. My own Christian faith defines who I am. The life of Christian prayer, discipleship, and embracing the gifts of the Holy Spirit is what Wendy and I try to live each day. But these defining childhood experiences taught me that there are perhaps other paths to living out an authentic and meaningful faith journey. What we as Christians, and citizens of this country or of any campus community, should remember and embrace is that we must have the humility to know that we do not have all the answers.

We are all fallible and fallen. When we claim to have or know the whole truth out of our particularistic identity, or claim that because of our particular identity we hold a virtue that others do not, this leads quickly to the silencing of voices different than our own. If we do this we learn nothing and dialogue stops. This is happening on many campuses and the result has been a disintegration of civility, a rejection of the free exchange of ideas and a labeling of one another. I believe John Stuart Mill was right in defending openness as the expression and discussion of all ideas, ideals, and opinions if they are not part of hate speech or incite physical violence toward others.

Read Part 3 of the Q&A series: Teaching, Scholarship & Leadership


Getting to Know Drury’s 18th President: Part 1 – The Selection Process

Part One: The View from the Search Committee

In an effort to better get to know Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd following a confidential search process, we asked several members of the search committee to discuss how and why they chose the school’s next leader. We will hear directly from Dr. Cloyd himself in future installments.

How did Dr. Cloyd come to the search team’s attention?

Lyle Reed, Chair, Board of Trustess: I was speaking with my good friend Dr. Robert Wyatt, President of Coker College and former director of Drury’s Breech School of Business Administration and asked him if he could think of any candidates he would recommend. He highly recommended Dr. Tim Cloyd, who had been president of Hendrix College when Robert was an ACE Fellow (mentoring and training individuals to be higher education senior leaders) assigned to Hendrix.  He indicated Tim had returned to the classroom, but might now be interested in returning to leadership and would check with him.  He then told me Dr. Cloyd was interested and gave me his contact information. We set up a meeting in Conway and he subsequently applied to be a candidate for the presidency.

What was your first impression of Dr. Cloyd?

Reed: I think many of us were looking for a charismatic individual, with a broadcaster’s voice, right out of Central Casting, who would quiet a room as soon as he walked in. That is not Dr. Cloyd. He is soft spoken, and doesn’t desire to take over a room.

Second impression?

Reed: His thoughtful and strategic mind quickly becomes captivating on any subject, especially higher education as it relates to yesterday, today and tomorrow.  His extensive background and experience provides plenty of substance for those discussions.

So, why did you choose him?

Bill Hart, Board of Trustees: Our search committee, with survey input from faculty, staff and alumni, compiled a list of specific criteria our new president must have. Dr. Cloyd easily met all the criteria. Additionally, and to me most importantly, Dr. Cloyd did for Hendrix what we’re hoping to do here at Drury. I believe he will assimilate all the strengths and wonderful attributes of Drury in a new vision of the University, which will be compelling and attractive to today’s students.

What excites you most about him?

Penny Clayton, faculty member: Dr. Cloyd is clearly a visionary leader and impressive intellectual. He has become quickly familiar with Drury’s background and is looking forward to providing fresh solutions to ongoing struggles. He has already developed a strong desire to get to know the Drury community and during interviews, spoke of the importance of exercising emotional intelligence.

Hart: Dr. Cloyd has such an incredible breadth and depth to his background, education and life experiences. I believe he demonstrates a quiet, but successful, analytical approach to problems and issues which will appeal to everyone at Drury: students, faculty, alumni and the Board.

How extensive was the vetting process?

Reed: It was as extensive as possible without hiring a gumshoe to shadow him and interrogate his acquaintances back to childhood. It included multiple face-to-face interviews with committee members, numerous telephone conversations, a volume of emails, Internet searches, and extensive reference and public records checking by our professional search firm. The search firm conducted a comprehensive interview with him. And our search committee received his medical reports and had background conversations with other confidential sources.

What did you learn from vetting that you didn’t know from his CV?

Reed: We learned more about his personal life, especially his family.  He was divorced some seven years ago from the mother of his children – Thomas, 16, and Samuel, 18. He is remarried and his wife, Wendy, has a son from a previous marriage, Logan, who is attending college in New Zealand. She lived in New Zealand for several years after running the family business in Nashville. Wendy and Tim were neighbors and classmates in high school and were reacquainted at a class reunion.

Were there any surprising moments during the process?

Reed: No, but there were some very candid discussions about serious topics, including one in particular about an incident that significantly impacted his family. On Christmas evening 2012, Dr. Cloyd hosted some international students at his home. That event had ended and he, his wife and sons were having family Christmas time together which included exchanging gifts, relaxing together, and he had a drink. Around midnight, an armed fugitive forced his way into their home and overtly threatened Dr. Cloyd’s family with harm if they didn’t do as told. He was in another room and heard the commotion, retrieved his personal handgun for which he is trained and holds a permit, and proceeded to hold the intruder at bay until the police arrived. Fortunately, the police arrived fairly quickly. Numerous police officers entered the residence while the person was still at large in the house. There was a considerable struggle and force was required to restrain the intruder, who was on drugs. He recalled it for us as a very frightening, chaotic scene, and a traumatic situation for his family, who witnessed everything first hand. It was clear to us that he did exactly what he believed he needed to do to protect his family in that difficult situation, and the good news was that none of his family was harmed, nor did he have to harm the intruder. It was a horrifying experience for the Cloyd family that required them to receive subsequent victim counseling. It is hard to be prepared for emergencies where you only have adrenaline-filled seconds to react.

Hart: I was an FBI agent for four years before entering a legal practice. After hearing the facts about the entire incident, I could understand why this event was so impactful. No one can imagine or anticipate how fast something like that happens and how disorienting, confusing and terrifying the situation can be. Law enforcement trains for that type of incident and still, you never know how you will react until it happens. In training, you talk about the incident after it’s over and invariably someone says they wish they had done something a little differently. It is never the same next time, there is always some circumstance that changes. This is certainly the kind of situation no one wants to go through.

What path led Dr. Cloyd to Drury?

Reed: Well, he had resigned as president of Hendrix about three years ago. The committee wanted to know why such a successful president would step down and return to the classroom. Those decision processes are not often a straight line and usually have multiple influences.  He had been thinking about stepping down for a year or so. He had twelve years of major happenings at Hendrix, including weathering two major recessions and had just completed a successful comprehensive capital campaign. Presidencies are demanding of personal time. Tim believes that presidents often have a “shelf life” at a particular institution and new thinking is needed to keep strategies fresh and relevant. And, while it was not a primary driver, the invasion incident was a life-changing experience for him and his family and influenced their personal priorities. I think all of those things combined to cause him to take a timeout. And, his timeout came to an end at the same time we began our search.

What is the one thing you want the Drury community to know about Dr. Cloyd?

Hart: I believe he is a really quick study. We shouldn’t be surprised if he has discovered a lot more about the issues facing Drury and today’s liberal arts education by July 1 than any of us expect. I suspect he will have many ideas about how to move Drury forward sooner than we anticipate and he will be right.

Clayton: He will be active in the Drury and Springfield communities and is dedicated to ensuring Drury’s future as a prestigious liberal arts university. I believe he will thoughtfully assess the current Drury climate, yet move quickly in developing momentum for a successful Drury future.

Reed: He is an empirical decision-maker and action-oriented. Traits that all references shared were: he is a strategic thinker, idea generator, entrepreneur, risk taker, visionary and efficacious leader. Our committee asked Dr. Cloyd: Of those traits, which one he would most embrace?  His answer: he is an “idea person.”  But, I believe they all speak to who Tim Cloyd is. I have personally spent a lot of time with Dr. Cloyd since the search team voted unanimously to recommend him to the full board of trustees as Drury’s 18th president, and I am now even more convinced that Tim Cloyd is the right person to lead Drury into the future we all desire.

Read Part 2 of the Q&A Series: The Formative Years.

Drury announces its final three presidential candidates

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 24, 2012 — Drury University announced today, Sept. 24, the final three candidates for Drury President. The candidates are:

  • Dr. David Manuel

    Dr. David Manuel – Manuel is currently the chancellor and a professor of Economics at Louisiana State University at Alexandria. Prior to working at LSU Alexandria, Manuel was the vice president of academic affairs at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. Manuel holds a Ph.D. and a master’s in economics from the University of Mississippi. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Nicholls State.
    Dr. David Manuel biography.

  • Dr. David McInally

    Dr. David McInally – Currently the executive vice president and treasurer at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., McInally joined Allegheny in 1986 where he has held several positions at the college, including dean of students and vice president for finance and planning. McInally holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Pittsburgh. He also has master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Akron.
    Dr. David McInally biography.

  • Dr. David Steele

    Dr. David Steele – Steele is currently the dean of the college of business at San José State University in California. Dr. Steele has also been the dean of the colleges of business at Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and at the Florida Institute of Technology. Besides his work in academia, Dr. Steele has extensive business experience, including a stint as president of Chevron Latin America and as an executive consultant to several startups. A native of Venezuela, Dr. Steele received a bachelor’s and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Birmingham University in England.
    Dr. David Steele biography.

“During this year-long search, the committee has focused on the process and that has yielded us these outstanding finalists,” said James Bone, chairman of the Drury Presidential Search Committee. “Through the use of technology, social media, public forums and in-person interviews, the search committee has engaged its stakeholders, determined what the campus and greater Drury community would like to see in a president, and whittled a large field of excellent candidates down to three. Now, the hardest decision is in front of the board of trustees as it tries to decide which of these outstanding individuals should become the next leader of Drury University.”

All three candidates will make multi-day visits to campus beginning on Sunday, Sept. 29. Candidates will meet with students, staff, faculty, alumni and Springfield business and civic leaders. Their visits will include opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and alumni to meet with the candidates and learn about each one’s vision for the future of Drury University. Following the on-campus interviews, the search committee will recommend one candidate to the board of trustees. The board of trustees will hold a final vote during the board of trustees meeting Oct. 24-26. An announcement regarding Drury’s next president will follow.

The search for the 17th Drury president began in August of 2011 when current Drury President Todd Parnell announced that he would retire in May of 2013. The first presidential search committee meeting convened in November of 2011. The search committee is made up of nine board of trustee members, six faculty members, four staff members, one student and one alumna. 65 people from diverse backgrounds applied for the position, and, after a series of phone and video interviews, five were invited to in-person, off-campus interviews the week of Sept. 10, and the final three emerged from that series of interviews. For more on the complete presidential search process, please visit the Presidential Search Website.

President Parnell took over as Drury’s interim president on June 1, 2007 following the resignation of Dr. John Sellars. A 1969 Drury graduate, Parnell applied for the presidency and was named Drury’s 16th president on Jan. 31, 2008. Parnell will be 65 when he retires in May of 2013.

Media Contact: Mark Miller, M.A., Associate Director of Marketing and Communications, Office: (417) 873-7390, Mobile: (417) 839-2886, Email:


MEDIA ADVISORY: Drury to announce its final Presidential candidates on Monday, Sept. 24 at 2:30 p.m.

What: Announcement of the three finalists for Drury President

When: Monday, September 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Where: Reed Auditorium of the Trustee Science Center on Drury’s campus.

Who: The Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee, James Bone, will speak.

Why: Drury is seeking its 17th president. The search process began in August 2011 when Drury President Todd Parnell announced that he would retire in May of 2013. Parnell became interim president on June 1, 2007 and was named president on Jan. 31, 2008.

Parking: The Trustee Science Center (TSC) is located on the southwest corner of Drury Lane and Bob Barker Boulevard. Parking is available in Lot 2 to the north of the TSC or in Lot 1 to the northeast of the TSC.

Media Contact: Mark Miller, M.A., Associate Director of Marketing and Communications, Office: (417) 873-7390, Mobile: (417) 839-2886, Email:


Drury University launches website for presidential search

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 26, 2012 — Drury University has launched a Presidential Search website that will allow members of the Drury family and the general public to learn more about the status of the search and to provide feedback about the pursuit of a new university leader.

James Bone

The website can be accessed from Drury’s home page or by going directly to the presidential search website. There, anyone can read the most recent news about the search, submit a comment and learn about the process, as well as find out how to nominate a candidate or apply for the position.

In August of 2011, current Drury President Todd Parnell announced his intention to retire on May 31, 2013. Since that time, Drury has assembled a presidential search committee, conducted research about what attributes key constituencies would prefer in a new president, and, based on that research, assembled a profile of the new president that will guide the search.

The presidential search committee has 20 members: nine trustees, four faculty members, five staff members, one alumna and one student. After receiving candidates, the committee will narrow the list to three, those candidates will be brought to campus for interviews, and, after meeting with the candidates, the board of trustees will appoint the next Drury president. Drury’s Board of Trustees hopes to have a new president named by October 2012.

Drury President Todd Parnell

About Todd Parnell: Parnell graduated from Drury in 1969, served as interim president beginning in May of 2007 and earned the presidency full-time in January 2008. He is the first Drury graduate to serve as the university’s president. When he retires in May 2013, the former bank president will be 66 years old and he has indicated that he wants to spend more time with his wife and family. Parnell was involved with Drury long before he became president. He is a former Drury board of trustee member, was the founding director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, and taught entrepreneurship classes in the Breech School of Business.

Media: Search committee chairman James Bone is the spokesperson for all search committee business. He will be available today, Monday, March 26 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. (Central). Mr. Bone can be reached at (401) 451-8112. Bone is a 1980 Drury graduate and has been a board of trustee member since 1999. He resides in Rhode Island.

Media Contact: James Bone, Chairman of the Drury Presidential Search Committee, Office: (401) 451-8112, E-mail: