Drury Appoints Dr. Steven Combs as Vice President for Academic Affairs
Combs comes to Drury from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a public comprehensive university, where he has spent the past year as founding dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. Prior to that, Combs was at Hawaii Pacific University from 2006 to 2013, where he served as dean of the College of Communication and later, founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. While in that role, he oversaw a 20 percent enrollment increase from 2009 to 2011 in the wake of the Great Recession. He led efforts to revise the curriculum to emphasize program relevance and distinctiveness. Combs worked closely with faculty to help them achieve their goals as scholars, and he helped secure more than $2.7 million in grants-accounting for nearly 70 percent of HPU’s externally funded projects.
Combs holds a Ph.D. in communication arts & sciences from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts in communication studies from the University of Kansas. He succeeds longtime VPAA Dr. Charles Taylor, who will return to teaching communication and rhetoric full time in fall 2015 following a spring sabbatical. The VPAA position is the top academic post at the university.
Drury Forms Academic Partnership with Kansas City’s Barstow School
Drury University and the Barstow School in Kansas City have formed a partnership that will bolster both schools’ commitment to academic excellence and engaged global learning.
Barstow is an independent, co-educational college preparatory school in Kansas City. Founded in 1884, the school boasts a rich academic tradition, with a special commitment to international learning through affiliate schools in China, Japan, Germany and Australia.
The agreement will streamline admission of Barstow graduates into Drury University and create a collaborative learning partnership between the two schools. The partnership will meet the needs of a growing community of Barstow students across the globe who desire a first-rate American education, and it will deepen Drury’s commitment to diversity and international enrollment.
Major points of the partnership include:
- A new merit-based scholarship as well as guaranteed admission to Drury for domestic and international Barstow students who meet certain criteria.
- Drury faculty will travel to Barstow’s Shanghai and Ningbo campuses in China to offer advanced instruction in subjects not often taught in China, such as creative writing.
- The schools will develop summer immersion experiences for international Barstow students on Drury’s campus in Springfield. These residential experiences will include an introduction to the American system of higher education and the American experience.
Mark Fisher is Drury’s New Director of Athletics
Drury University has selected Mark Fisher to become the director of athletics. Fisher will begin his duties on July 1. Fisher has been the director of athletics for Springfield Public Schools since 2003.
“We are delighted to bring Mark on board,” says Drury President Dr. David Manuel. “I like both the leadership and management qualities he brings to the table. He has a breadth of experience dealing with a wide array of sports and administrations during his career. Mark has deep local and statewide connections at both the collegiate and high school levels, and a proven track record in fundraising and managing high-profile events.”
Fisher’s 12-year career with SPS includes success both on and off the field. In addition to overseeing all athletic activities for Missouri’s largest public school district, he also spearheaded a $3.5 million campaign for stadium improvements and implemented systems to continually evaluate the progress of student athletes and coaches. Fisher is the director of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions—one of the highest profile high school basketball tournaments in the nation. A former Missouri Basketball Coach of the Year, he has mentored 18 former players and assistant coaches to careers as head basketball coaches.
Drury Improves Kiplinger’s Ranking
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has included Drury University on its list of the country’s best values in private universities. Kiplinger’s annual list ranks 100 private universities and 100 liberal arts colleges. This is the second year in a row Drury has made the list. It was ranked 41st among private universities, up from 70th last year.
Kiplinger’s assesses quality according to measurable standards such as admission rate, percentage of students who return for sophomore year, student-faculty ratio and four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker prices, financial aid and average debt at graduation.
Paralegal Program Honored
The Open Education Database (OEDB) has ranked the Drury University College of Continuing Professional Studies’ paralegal program second in its listing of the top online paralegal programs in the nation. The OEDB recognizes the top U.S. colleges that offer online learning for undergraduate degree programs in a variety of fields.
Drury’s program, which offers an associate of science degree, provides a solid foundation in areas such as civil litigation, business law, real estate law, family law and more. The degree offers opportunities for career advancement in legal environments such as private law firms, corporate legal departments and governmental agencies.
Signature Projects Land Drury On the 2014 Community Service Honor Roll
Exhibit Features Artwork Gifts
Drury Enactus Helps Launch Inspired Boutique
The Drury Enactus team helped launch Inspired Boutique in November as part of its partnership with Art Inspired. Inspired Boutique will offer upscale retail items including clothing, shoes, purses, accessories and furniture. All proceeds from the boutique will help support Abilities First, which serves individuals with developmental disabilities.
In collaboration with Abilities First, the Drury Enactus team helped develop Art Inspired four years ago to provide meaningful employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Art Inspired is a gallery that also sells artwork made from recycled paper, stationery and furniture.
Drury Enactus team members have been involved with the selection, sorting and collection of donations to Inspired Boutique, as well as the marketing, event planning and volunteer coordination required to run the store.