Department News




Eight Drury architecture students competed on two teams against counterparts from schools in the Central States region of the American Institute of Architects: Nebraska, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Washington University. Students were given a design problem involving a FEMA shelter. One of the HSA teams was awarded second place in the competition-besting 10 of the 11 other teams competing.


Albert Korir (Brothers)Dr. Albert Korir, assistant professor of chemistry, has been named a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow by the Institute of International Education. The ADF is a scholar program that connects and supports faculty exchange with African higher education institutions through research collaborations and educational projects.

Behavioral Sciences

The student affairs committee has formally recognized the Behavior Research and Information Network (BRAIN) club. The club’s purpose is to connect students who share an interest in behavioral neuroscience and to establish a cerebral environment that fosters open-mindedness and a willingness to learn.

Philosophy & Religion

Panza (Scott)Dr. Chris Panza, associate professor of philosophy, was The Mirror’s Person of the Year for 2013-2014. Dr. Craig Titus, visiting assistant professor of philosophy and English, was also a contender.


Animal Studies

Dr. Patricia McEachern presented the inaugural Drury University Forum on Animal Rights Bob Barker Award to Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, co-founders of the Performing Animal Welfare Society, at the Gala of the International Captive Wildlife Conference in Burbank, Calif. in November. Dr. McEachern moderated a panel at the conference titled “Ending Elephants in Entertainment: the Role of Zoos and Sanctuaries.”


The Crowder-Drury Solar Decathlon team submitted a rendering and video walk-through of their competition house, Shelter3, to the Department of Energy. Over 50 students have worked on the project to deliver fundraising, design and development construction documents, as well as the website and social media pages for their competition house.

Assistant professor of architecture Gerard Nadeau was awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in September. The patent is “Continuous Tension, Discontinuous Systems and Methods,” and it is the result of research that focuses on form-finding methods in design and outcomes often categorized as “surface architecture.”

Drury students on the Crowder-Drury Solar Decathalon team have completed a rendering of their competition house, ShelteR3.
Drury students on the Crowder-Drury Solar Decathalon team have completed a rendering of their competition house, ShelteR3.

A group of fourth-year architecture students created a 25-year visioning toolkit to produce and promote new housing types in Springfield’s city center in November. Their focus was on the Rountree neighborhood, where they erected three four-by-eight-foot chalkboard panels to allow community members to share their ideas on how to improve the neighborhood in the coming years. The “IdeaNodes” were used to record ideas such as, “have more green space,” and, “be more pedestrian friendly.”

Arts Administration

Twenty arts administration students traveled to the capitol in Jefferson City in February to advocate for the arts and participate in the political process. The students and instructor Leah Hamilton took part in Citizen’s Day for the Arts, an annual effort put forth by Missouri Citizens for the Arts. The students attended a legislative briefing and met with lawmakers individually at the capitol building. They also attended the Missouri Arts Council’s annual award ceremony.

Art & Art History

Greg Booker, assistant professor of art and art history, opened his solo exhibition, “Small Towns & Quiet Places,” at the University of Oklahoma’s Lightwell Gallery in January. The exhibition featured a series of photographs documenting small rural towns in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. 

Dear Alfred1

Rebecca Miller, associate professor of art and art history, is currently exhibiting a series of color photographs entitled “Dear Alfred” in the offices of Missouri House Representative Kevin Austin in the state capitol building in Jefferson City. The work is on display January 16 through May 16, 2015. “Dear Alfred” is a body of work that is based upon an imaginary correspondence with photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) discussing the concept of equivalence while photographing cloud formations to promote an emotive response to the images.

Behavioral Sciences

Dr. David Derossett, assistant professor of sociology, had his paper “Free Markets and Foreclosures: an Examination of Contradictions in Neoliberal Urbanization in Houston, Texas” accepted for publication in Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning.

Dr. Rachel Herrington, assistant professor, serves as the co-founder and chair of Stand Against Trafficking, a state-registered coalition under the Division of Behavioral Health for the State of Missouri’s Department of Mental Health. The organization was recently awarded a $5,000 mini-grant to improve their professional presence and begin an awareness campaign in the greater Springfield area.

In fall 2015, the department of behavioral sciences will launch a minor in community health. Coursework will be structured to provide students with opportunities to examine determinants of health through the viewpoints offered by sociology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy and biology. This interdisciplinary blend of courses will enable students to better understand the underlying social, economic, psychological and environmental forces that create health and social inequities in a community and to become more effective health practitioners.

Working with the Office of Admissions, the Behavioral Science Ambassadors Program will send members of the BRAIN student organization to local high schools to promote the department’s behavioral neuroscience minor as well as the field’s relevance to students’ future careers.


This fall, students chartered a Financial Management Association group. One of the premiere student organizations in the area of finance, the group provides an opportunity for students to engage in real-world topics they learn about in the classroom. Students plan to design the group around the three pillars of service, scholarship and personal/professional development.


Drs. R.N. Roy and L.N. Roy, along with nine chemistry students, co-authored four papers that have been published in international journals The Journal of Biophysical Chemistry and the Open Journal of Physical Chemistry. Student authors include J.J. Dinga, M.R. Medcalf, K.E. Hundley, E.B. Hines, R.R. Parmar, J.A. Veliz, C.B. Summers, L.S. Tebbe and T.R. Wehmeyer. The papers dealt with acid-base properties of physiological buffers applicable to the biomedical field. The research for these papers was founded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Hoffman Research Fund.


Kari Hanson Shewmaker

Kari Hanson, a senior advertising and public relations major, helped the communication department raise more that $5,000 this fall in a crowdfunding initiative to improve a Shewmaker Communication Center classroom. In all, 98 donors gave to this project. The classroom transformation began in the spring 2015 semester.

Current Master of Communication student Katrina Valera, along with Nigel Holderby M.A. ’14 and Megan West M.A. ’14 and Drs. Cristina and Curt Gilstrap were accepted to present their paper at the centennial national conference of the National Communication Association in November. The paper is titled: “Communication and Crisis Leadership: How Nonprofit Leaders Understand Effectiveness in Response to Organizational Crises.”


Dr. Rebecca Burrell and the Building Community Through the Arts program were featured in the November issue of U.S. Catholic magazine.


Karen Craigo, instructor of English, has been elected to the Executive Board of Mid-America Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (MIDTESOL). Craigo will draw upon her years of experience as a publisher and book fair organizer in her services as Publishers’ Liaison for the annual MIDTESOL conference.

Environmental Studies

Dr. Sean Terry, professor of geography and interim director of the environmental program, was the featured convocation speaker for the Louisiana State University freshman class at the beginning of the academic year. He spoke on the subject of his book: How to Use the Unwritten Rules of Success to Build your Dream Career.


In December, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program hosted a viewing of medieval and early modern documents. The collections included documents, pages, urban chronicles, leather bound books, parchment and paper.


Drs. Chris Panza and Rich Schur co-authored an article titled, “To Save the Humanities, Change the Narrative,” which appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Current student Alexis Dutt translated an article, which was then published in the regional Spanish language newspaper M30 Hispanic News.

Heidi Backes 3Dr. Heidi Backes, assistant professor of Spanish, had her article, “La economía del deseo: la ropa, la mujer y el Mercado en La de Bringas y Sister Carrie,” accepted for publication in the Anales Galdosianos, a literary journal from Boston University. The journal is the most highly recognized journal for studies in 19th century Spain.


Holli HensleeHolli Henslee, Drury’s technical services librarian, has been named a recipient of a 2015 Luella Stuck Cline Library Research grant in partnership with Missouri State University librarian Andrea Miller. Henslee and Miller will conduct research that will focus on how new and revised courses impact library collections and services at four-year public and private universities.


In January, the Springfield-Drury Girls Choir, under the direction of instructor Mark Lawley, performed a newly commissioned work by Dr. Carlyle Sharpe at the Missouri Music Educators Association convention.

In March, the Garleton Singers (Scotland) will perform Dr. Sharpe’s choral music. In August, the Choir of St. John the Evangelist (Scotland) will perform Dr. Sharpe’s music for chorus, brass and organ as part of the Edinburgh Festival.

Political Science

Dr. Jeff VanDenBerg helped organize, support and mentor the Middle East Studies Association’s first workshop to support the research and papers of undergraduate students at the MESA international and multi-disciplinary conference.

Student Maisie Baldwin had a paper accepted for the Southern Political Science Association annual conference in January. Baldwin’s paper, “Gendered Language and Female Empowerment: How Syntax Affects Political Realities,” is part of the panel on “The Gendered Politics of Framing and Syntax.”

Study Abroad


During the winter break, Drs. Shelley Wolbrink and Jeff VanDenBerg led 10 students on a study abroad trip to Morocco. The group explored the imperial cities of Fez and Marrakesh; visited mosques, synagogues and churches; met the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco; and rode camels in the Sahara desert.

Students who studied in Aigina during the fall semester traveled south to the Peloponnese, north to Thessaloniki and the surrounding area, and spent a week exploring the island of Cyprus. During the winter term, the Drury Center welcomed its first group of students from Louisiana State University.

Eleven students traveled with Drs. James Simmerman and Robin Sronce for a service-learning study abroad trip to Greece. For the third year, students spent two weeks in January working with local groups on the island of Aigina in community projects. The students worked on a trail-building project, and helped Aigina volunteers plant a garden, which will help food distribution on the island.



Associate professor of theatre, Robert Westenberg, an original cast member of the Broadway play “Into the Woods,” reprised his roles as the Wolf and Prince Charming for a one-night cast reunion in November. The reunion marked the 25th anniversary of the show’s final performance, but a second show was added due to demand.


Art & Art History

DAV Portraits

For the fourth year, commercial photography students offered free family portraits to the Disabled American Veterans during the week of Veterans Day. This year, the students also offered free family portraits to all area veterans-regardless of DAV status-along with Drury University community members. Students photographed 136 people (and two dogs) for this project.

Edward Jones Center

EJC Trash Pickup

The Edward Jones scholars helped clean up Jordan Valley Creek from Drury’s campus to Silver Springs Park as their fall outing.


Breech The Kitchen 2

Breech students from the Student Advisory Board, Delta Mu Delta and Breech Ambassadors kicked off the fall semester with a service event at The Kitchen, followed by a meal with faculty, President Manuel and Betty Coe Manuel.


Art & Art History

Dr. Tom Russo, professor of art and art history, presented “Magna Carta, 1215-2015: Four 13th Century Cultural Perspectives” at a Magna Carta symposium held at Regent’s University, London, U.K. in January.



In November, the Edward Jones Center and Breech School of Business hosted the third annual Idea Blitz. Eight high schools sent teams of four to compete with each other for the top business ideas. Each team was assigned a Drury student and a Breech faculty member to serve as mentors. Lenders from area banks served as the judges. The members of the winning teams received VISA gift cards. Drury alumni Mickey Moore ’95, MBA ’03 and Joe Easter ’00, MBA ’08 sponsored the event and also served as judges.

Idea Blitz Monett2


In December, the Edward Jones Center partnered with the admissions department as well as the Drury Monett campus to bring the Idea Blitz to 16 high schools at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)’s annual regional gathering. Sponsors included Jack Henry and Associates. 

Friends of Breech Event

This fall, an appreciation event for Breech supporters, dubbed “Friends of Breech,” was held in the Breech Lounge. Students spoke about the impact of studying abroad and internships on their educational experience. Participants pledged $22,500 in donations to the Study Abroad Scholarship Fund.

During the Breech School of Business Day in October, high school students and their parents spent the day learning more about Drury’s business programs. Visiting students and their families were able to attend a class and meet with faculty, students and alumni.

Ecopreneurship Panel

In October, the Edward Jones Center partnered with environmental programs, the CEO Club and the Think Green club to present the 5th annual Ecopreneurship panel titled “From Trash to Treasure.” Dr. Don Rollins, Breech Advisory Board member, and Luke Westerman ’04, MBA ’05 discussed their careers and the businesses they own that create value from waste. The Ecopreneurship series provides students who are interested in the environment the inspiration and tools to navigate the “green economy.”

Genome Sequencing

In the fall semester, a group of students had their genomes sequenced as part of their genetics class. They won a cash prize from the genomics sequencing company 23andMe to promote genetic literacy on campus. In December, they set up an interactive display explaining their test results and implications of knowing one’s genetic sequence.

The Ecopreneurship panel provided students and community members insight into how to join the “green economy.”
The Ecopreneurship panel provided students and community members insight into how to join the “green economy.”