Just after the close of the Civil War, Congregationalists in Missouri, looking to heal the scars left from the battles, chose to create a new college in war ravaged Springfield. They looked to create an “independent, church-related” school that would give a sound education, with a strong liberal arts core, to all races/genders in the hopes of beginning to repair the damage war had wrought. They called it Springfield College at its inception (changed to Drury soon after in memoriam of one of the founders’ sons) and, in 1873, opened the doors of its one building to both men and women from as far away as Indiana.
Drury University has continued to flourish since it was founded on 1 ½ acres, now taking up 90 and holding a student body of roughly 3500 traditional and another 1900 part-time/distance learners. Though initially stressing education, religion, and music, Drury now offers 62 undergraduate majors and another 6 Master’s, as well as associate degrees and certification programs, many of which can be completed partially or entirely online.
Distance learners and adults looking to continue education without sacrificing time from their daily lives can enjoy one of the first Missouri programs created to administer specifically to you. Drury’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies was created in 2000, one of the over nine different colleges housed within the university, and it offers 3 certification programs (two instructional programs and a web design program), Associate’s degrees in another four studies (general studies, business admin, environmental management, and organizational studies), Bachelor’s degrees in almost all the Associate programs, and even has a Master’s degree offering in Education/Instructional Technology.
Since its inception, Drury has been committed not only to educating from a global perspective, part of its history of fostering diversity, but has shown it’s passion for excellence when it comes to its educators as well. They encourage close, almost colleague-like bonds between teachers and students, and this carries over into their online courses as well. Just because courses take place on Blackboard doesn’t mean teachers are less involved with students’ learning, describing online classes as “interactive instruction online”. Students are required to participate in web chats and online discussion forums “weekly” and they are deemed “absent” when they don’t actively comment and contribute regularly. Discussions and postings are designed to mimic their in-class equivalents, giving each student the same full educational experience as their traditional equivalents.
Thought teachers do monitor, grade, and mentor online through email/virtual chats, the organization and creation of time to focus for online classes is left entirely to the student’s self-discipline. Students are themselves responsible for making the time to participate and complete assignments around their schedules, though the curriculum allows that not every student must be online at the same time. Drury does offer mixed online/evening classes through their Grad/Cont. Studies College as well, for those who need the structure and face-to-face interaction of classrooms, but still can’t devote all their time to returning to school.
Drury is committed still to providing quality education to as diverse a student body as possible (even at the start, graduating 4 women in their inaugural ceremony), with an “innovative, intense, and personal” approach that crosses boundaries to the adult learners abroad as well. Every Drury student receives a minor in Global Studies, part of their continuing mission to bring a concentration on teaching AND learning to education that can make a difference in a global community.