deansFrom the Vice President of Academic Affairs

At its May 2015 meeting, Drury’s Board of Trustees approved a proposal from the Office of Academic Affairs to restructure the academic affairs division. The proposal was endorsed at a faculty meeting by a significant majority. The initiative created three new colleges: The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences (CNMS), and the College of Graduate Studies (CGS). It also designated the three existing schools (Hammons School of Architecture, The School of Education & Child Development, and Breech School of Business) as standalone entities rather than departments. The number of departments also decreased by six.

A dean has been appointed to lead each school and college, adding to the existing dean of the College of Continuing Professional Studies, totaling seven deans. These seven, along with the vice president for academic affairs (VPAA) and two associate vice presidents, represent the leadership team in the department of academic affairs.

Restructuring provides several advantages that help Drury continue to move forward in its mission. For one, restructuring allows Drury to consolidate administrative work. The deans will be heavily involved in recruiting and retaining students, seeking external sources of funding, engaging our various communities, and developing new ways to deliver a high quality academic experience at a lower cost. The graduate dean will also be tasked with opening up new markets.

In addition, restructuring allows the locus for important academic decisions to be the local, or departmental, level. It tasks department chairs with the responsibility to work directly with faculty and students to run the best programs and best internal operations possible. It asks deans to provide oversight and support for those chairs while working externally to generate new revenue. Faculty will thus have much greater access to their deans and department chairs than in the previous system where over 50 people reported to the VPAA. The pace of decision-making will improve and Drury will become more transparent, systematic and strategic.

Funds for this restructure came from reallocating current stipends. The result is cost-neutral, and even slightly less expensive than the previous structure. Furthermore, it empowers an outstanding group of deans who are dedicated to distinguishing Drury University among its peer institutions and enhances its reputation as a university that uniquely prepares students to become leaders.

Steven C. Combs
Vice President of Academic Affairs

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