Drury Lane: News Around Campus

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Life-Changing Mentorship: Robert and Mary Cox Compass Center to bring holistic approach to advising

The transition from high school to college – adolescence to adulthood – is an often confusing and scary time. Students grapple with issues ranging from identity, to shaping values to future career goals. They are charged with making big decisions, like picking a major, and smaller but equally important ones, like registering for classes or discovering the right fit on campus. There is a lot of pressure and students aren’t always equipped with the skills to handle it gracefully. With the guidance of mentors, students can build confidence, find direction and successfully navigate this important time in life.

Starting this fall, Drury will enact a new, holistic approach to mentoring through the Robert and Mary Cox Compass Center. The Compass Center will provide students with a personal team of advisors to help navigate the college experience from day one. Each student will have their own mentoring squad, connecting even before a student’s first day on campus.

The Compass Center is part of Drury’s distinctive academic program, Your Drury Fusion, and is a centralized resource for giving students a team to help provide guidance in three areas. 

Academic advising

Academic advisors will help students put together class schedules, choose majors and minors and assist in choosing certificate programs aimed at allowing students to explore professional aspirations as well as intellectual interests. This isn’t just a first-year program – students’ personal advising teams will stay with them from day one to graduation.

Career development and planning

Drury’s career advisors have strong relationships with corporate and nonprofit organizations. Students will have access to professional networking events and life-changing internships. As graduation nears, advisors will help their digital portfolio and résumé and prepare for job interviews.

Life coaching

Let’s face it, life can be hard. Beyond academic and career advice, students will have a life coach to help them succeed outside of the classroom and foster a sense of belonging. Students will get guidance on a variety of areas such as tutoring, mental health, financial planning, and studying and test-taking skills.

Having positive adult mentors is important at every phase in life, but it may be the most crucial during the transition to and time in college. Thanks to a donation from the Cox family, the Compass Center will set Drury apart by providing a holistic approach to mentoring that will help students reach their life goals. 

Drury, Grupo Latinoamericano partner on grant projects

Drury University students and faculty are working with Grupo Latinoamericano to boost awareness of Hispanic issues in the Ozarks thanks to a $15,000 grant from Community Foundation of the Ozarks. 

Grupo Latinoamericano has focused on serving Hispanics and promoting cultural understanding to the broader community since 1989. The extensive and interdisciplinary partnership is designed to make a broad impact on Hispanic culture in the area and help Grupo Latinoamericano strengthen its mission of cross-cultural awareness.

During the project, Drury students and faculty will:

  •  Conduct an extensive redesign of Grupo Latinoamericano’s website
  • Host a monthly radio program on KDRU 98.1 FM focused on Hispanic issues and archive the program as podcasts on Grupo Latinoamerico’s website Drury, Grupo Latinoamericano partner on grant projects
  • Produce white papers about issues of diversity in organizations and companies in Springfield 
  • Host a cultural celebration and community panel during Hispanic Heritage Month 
  • Conduct four media literacy and personal finance workshops in Spanish 
  • Design and write bilingual promotional materials, flyers and brochures to promote Grupo Latinoamericano’s work in the community

“We are a grassroots organization that does not receive any support or funds from a parent organization or from the government,” says Yolanda Lorge, president of Grupo Latinoamericano. “Since we are not a club, we don’t have a membership network – only our board of directors. So, we are always in need of help. This grant and the collaboration with Drury University to expand outreach with the community will hugely enhance the mission and work of our organization.”

Drury deepens leadership pool with new talent

Over the course of five months, Drury University filled four vice presidential roles to complete key seats on President Dr. Tim Cloyd’s senior leadership team. The roles are as diverse as the candidates themselves, ranging from chief financial officer to director of athletics.

New faces on campus are Amy Amason as executive vice president for development and campaign director; Corey Bray as vice president and director of athletics; and Kimbrea Browning as executive vice president of enrollment management and operations for adult and online education. Chelsey Dollarhide ’11 was also promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Amason comes to the Drury family from Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, where she led Institutional Advancement efforts.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Drury at this time,” Amason says. “The university’s leadership, faculty, staff and alumni are all truly dynamic, and have done incredible work recently to build momentum and define the road ahead. I’m looking forward to becoming a part of the Drury Family.”

At Drury, she is responsible for the operation and management of all development and alumni relations programs for the university, as well as leading all planning and execution for Drury’s national comprehensive campaign. Amason works closely with Executive Vice President for Advancement Wayne Chipman, who continues to focus on planned and principal gifts.

She has a bachelor’s of business administration from Washburn University and a master’s in education from Northern Arizona University.

Drury hired Bray following an extensive national search. Succeeding retiring AD Mark Fisher, Bray brings experience overseeing athletics for multiple universities, most recently as associate athletics director for compliance at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also spent seven years working for the NCAA in Indianapolis in various roles, including associate director of research focusing on areas such as gender equity, diversity, finances, marketing and participation rates.

“I am a believer in the Division II philosophy of ‘life in the balance,’” he says. “Division II emphasizes both athletics and academics – they’re not mutually exclusive. I love the focus on graduating and getting a degree. At the same time, I love the focus on competition, sportsmanship and the game environment in Division II.

“I’m also truly impressed and excited about the direction of the university right now with the launch of the Your Drury Fusion academic experience, the growth in enrollment and fundraising and the campus master plan, which includes new facilities for athletics.”

Bray earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Pacific Lutheran University and a master’s in sports psychology from the University of Oregon.

In her newly created role, Browning provides strategic leadership in recruitment, the student experience and day-to-day operations for Drury’s evening and online programs. She brings 15 years of experience overseeing higher education enrollment services to the position, serving both traditional and nontraditional populations, most recently at Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

She’s also lent her talents to the Art Institutes and the University of Phoenix.

“The higher education landscape is changing so rapidly,” she says. “The communities we serve need us to step up. We have to deliver on our promise – it’s our duty. There is no doubt that Drury’s administration and staff are extremely passionate and are 100 percent dedicated to the mission.”

The Kentucky native received her bachelor’s degree from Murray State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.

A certified public accountant, Dollarhide is responsible for providing strategic financial leadership in support of the University’s mission.

She originally joined Drury’s financial division in 2016 as controller and immediately began work to automate and streamline the University’s endowment procedures. A Drury alum, Dollarhide previously worked in public accounting for The Whitlock Co., specializing in nonprofit and higher education auditing.

“I’m humbled and excited to take on this role for my alma mater,” Dollarhide says.

Alternative Break connects Drury students through service learning projects nationwide

Spring break is about relaxing, hitting the beach and soaking up the sun, right? Not for a group of eight Drury University students – this year spring break was about helping a community.

Part of the annual Drury Alternative Breaks Program, students traveled to Savannah, Tennessee or Detroit, Michigan, to engage in community service, immerse themselves in unique cultures and develop new understandings.

“Alternative breaks introduce students to a social issue in context with the community we are living in during the week,” says Volunteer Services Coordinator Ellen Herbig. “The program is designed to move students closer to being active residents in their own communities.”

In Savannah, students learned about animal welfare and worked with Horse Creek Wildlife Refuge and Animal Sanctuary to understand how they’re working in a rural community to improve the quality of life of abandoned and abused dogs brought into the shelter.

In Detroit, students learned about urban poverty and worked with Cass Community Social Services to understand the innovative ways they are reducing poverty in their community.

“Drury doesn’t go to these places and do the work we do for nothing. We don’t engage in ‘voluntourism’ in an effort to make ourselves feel good, nor do we do empty, meaningless service,” says Forest Swisher ’21, who visited Detroit. “We are learning about a particular social issue, forming ideas, challenging old viewpoints and learning from people we might otherwise never meet.”

The experience is something students like Anna Meadows ’21 won’t soon forget.

“I feel more empathetic and aware of my place in my community,” she says. “Though my AB left me with more questions than answers, I now have a foundation to learn more and make new connections here in my community.”

Breech Hall of Fame inducts three new members

Drury University’s Breech School of Business Administration inducted three new members into its Hall of Fame during the University’s annual homecoming weekend in March. The Class of 2019 includes Dr. Penny Clayton ’83, Joel Romines ’68 and Jim Spangler ’61. They joined 26 other outstanding members of the Hall during a March 1 induction ceremony at the Findlay Student Center Ballroom.

Clayton is a professor emeritus, earning her MBA at Drury in 1983. Her tenure as a professor began in Breech Hall of Fame inducts three new members 1988 upon completion of her doctorate in accounting from Oklahoma State University. She earned a bachelor’s in accounting from then-Southwest Missouri State University and spent several years in public accounting before pursuing a decorated career in academia. She is the founder of PRC Consulting Group PC and operates Clayton Family Office, a firm which manages investments, trusts, assets and general business activities. In May 2018, Clayton retired from her roles as professor of accounting and coordinator of the accounting program.

Romines received a bachelor’s in economics and political science from Drury in 1968. The following year, he worked in New York for Citibank in corporate banking. By 1972, he joined the startup Orion Bank Ltd., owned by six major global banks from Europe, North America and Asia. In 1982, Joel founded Knightsbridge Advisers in London to offer institutional investors the opportunity to invest in leading early and growth-stage venture capital partnerships from the United States and abroad. He retired in 2015.

Spangler is the CEO and president of Helping Hand Home Health Co. based in Grand Blanc, Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s from Drury in 1961 and is a past board member of the Michigan Humane Society, the Detroit Institute for Children, the Drury Board of Trustees and the Flint Institute of Music. In this last role he also acted as chairman of the Flint Symphony Orchestra Committee and in 2018 was awarded the Mrs. Dallas J. Dort Award for years of outstanding achievement.

Two Fulbright professors enrich foreign studies programs


The U.S. State Department’s prestigious Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program brings teachers of foreign languages from around the world to American universities. This year Drury was granted the honor of welcoming two teachers from this highly-competitive program: Boutaina Alami Kammouri for Middle East Studies and Chiou Ruo-Ting for the Asian Studies program. Drury’s Middle East and Asian Studies minors are interdisciplinary programs that expose students to the history, beliefs, languages and values of two of the most important regions of the world. Personal interactions with capable teachers from those regions are what make these programs authentic and impactful for Kammouri Ruo-Ting the students who participate.

Former ambassador speaks about the state of U.S.-Israeli relations

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro gave a lecture on campus about the state of U.S.-Israeli relations in February as part of the L.E. Meador Center of Politics & Citizenship’s annual speaker series. Shapiro discussed high and lows of the relationship, busted myths and gave behind-the-scenes accounts of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the fight over the Iran nuclear deal during his standing room-only talk to students and community members.

Online Master in Education degree recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Drury University’s Master in Education program earned designation by U.S. News & World report as a Best Online Education program. Drury offers Master in Education degrees in seven different areas, five of which can be completed 100 percent online. These online programs include Instructional Leadership, Instructional Technology, Special Education, Integrated Learning and Drury Alternative Track in Special Education.

Grant supports first-generation mentoring


U.S. Bank, through the U.S. Bank Foundation, awarded a $2,500 grant to Drury University’s Panthers First program, which supports students who are the first in their families to attend college. Fifteen percent of Drury’s 2018 entering freshman class were first-generation college students. Founded last year, Panthers First is a peer mentorship program that supports the unique needs of first-generation college students. Panthers First matches first-year, first-generation students with upperclassmen mentors to create a support system.

Michelle Arnold earns 2018 Distinguished Staff Service Award

Drury University recognized Michelle Arnold with the 2018 Distinguished Staff Service Award. Arnold is the administrative assistant for the School of Communication, Fine & Performing Arts. Since assuming the role in 2015, she overhauled, restructured and streamlined most processes and tasks, and has provided creative solutions and alternatives to almost every aspect of the administrative and day-to-day operations of this complex department. She has also taken on many duties beyond her regular workload to allow faculty to focus on teaching and their relationship with students and potential students. This includes publicity, programs, posters and customer service with the public for 37 music performances, 23 theatre performances, two art gallery openings each month and overseeing ticket sales for Christmas Vespers.

The Princeton Review recognizes Drury in Guide to Green Colleges

The Princeton Review has again named Drury University one of the most environmentally responsible schools in the United States on its annual Guide to 399 Green Colleges. This marks a return to the list for Drury, which last made the guide in 2015. The Princeton Review uses data from annual surveys to evaluate a school’s environmental and sustainability-related policies, practices and academic offerings. Rather than focusing only on the institution’s environmental impact, the guide also considers the degree to which students themselves report that sustainability issues influence their education.

Joseph H. George Distinguished Lecture Series explores servant leadership

NBA star Byron Scott and business executive Charlie Norris were the featured speakers for the inaugural event in the Joseph H. George Distinguished Lecture Series last fall. The series focuses on servant leadership. Scott is a three-time NBA champion and Norris has been the CEO of several multimillion-dollar corporations. They are co-authors of “Slam Dunk Success: Leading From Every Position on Life’s Court.” The series honors the legacy of Joseph H. George II, grandson of Dr. Joseph H. George, Sr., Drury’s fifth president (1907-13).

Innovation and Teaching Center director named


Ying Cao, Ph.D., is the new director of the Innovation and Teaching Center. In her role, Cao provides leadership and resources to help Drury faculty continue to optimize their teaching practices and provide the best possible learning experience for students. Part of Your Drury Fusion, the newly-established center provides resources to Drury educators and serves as a hub for innovative learning ideas on campus. As director of the center, Cao will work with other faculty to further proliferate evidence-based teaching practices and promote experiential learning opportunities at Drury.