Monett's Drury campus nabs pair of grants

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Monett campus of Drury University has received $16,550 to expand services in the community.

"Drury University connects with Monett-area residents on so many levels in meeting their needs," said Ann Saunders, assistant director of Drury's Monett campus. "These grants will allow us to do even more, especially in expanding Drury's presence in the Hispanic communities."

An $8,550 grant from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad will help fund the hiring of a new staff member who will work as a Hispanic recruiter and community resource, providing programming with the parents of school children.

"Any time a family has a first child headed toward college, there's a lot to navigate," Saunders said. "Our staff person will be an academic advisor who will support the Hispanic population in a lot of different ways."

Drury's Hispanic Initiative will be one of the campus' priorities. The resource person will start working with middle school-aged students, stressing the importance of college and planting seeds for a post-high school education at an early age.

An $8,000 grant from the Bess Spiva Timmons Foundation will be used to develop a high technology classroom at Drury's new location at 400 Fourth St.

Saunders said the plan for a high-tech room in the proposed campus at Fourth and Front streets will serve as the model for a similar room at the current campus. The room will include a technical resource board, a pull-down projector, presentation speakers, touch panels, a Star Board, document camera, Lumen projector and control system.

"The leader in that room will be able to sit down and conduct a class or presentation will the full use of technology," Saunders said. "The leader can digitally change what's on the board. We could let community groups use it as well. It's very exciting."

The high tech classroom will be the first addition at the new Drury campus in the lower level of the former church education building at 400 Fourth St. Saunders expects to convert other portions of the lower floor into additional specialized classrooms for Drury students.

As a general goal, Saunders said Drury will look for ways to engage in the community, filling gaps where needs are found. In the spring, she has plans to introduce a new division at Drury that provides assistance to local not-for-profit organizations. The high-tech room offers such a resource, where 30-plus people can gather for information exchanges and consultation. "High technology classrooms allow Drury the flexibility to better integrate our students into the learning opportunities outside of the Monett area," said Dr. Laura Plybon, director of assessment and instructional design.

"The technology expands Drury's reach, so that we have the opportunity to collaborate with students across the globe," Plybon continued. "It also helps us prepare our students for the advancing technology they will see in the job world."

"These grants supplement the considerable generosity this community shows Drury University," Saunders said. "We continue our mission to being a major contributor to the area's growth and development."

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