James Timothy Cloyd, who will take over as Drury University’s president this summer, met with members of the university and the community Saturday morning. His priorities as president, he says, will include increasing net revenue and the school's endowment, raising enrollment and delivering on the promise of opportunity at the liberal arts college.
“I’m truly amazed at Drury’s breadth of opportunities that Drury offers,” Cloyd says. “I don’t know how you all do it. I come from a campus that’s a little larger in student body. We have about 135 faculty, full-time or tenured track faculty. You guys have about the same number of faculty, and yet the breadth of opportunities you offer is truly amazing.”
Cloyd is coming from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas where he served as university president from 2001-2014. Conway, like Springfield, is home to other higher education institutions including the University of Central Arkansas. Cloyd says Drury will be more like a boutique store rather than a big box store like Missouri State University and it will be important to set themselves apart.
“I think it’s wonderful to have these institutions in proximity to each other because there is synergy that we can develop,” Cloyd says. “Also it gives us more of a real possibility to differentiate ourselves visually, purposefully, differentiating ourselves from those other institutions from the way we look, the way a student and family has an experience the second they set foot on this campus.”
Cloyd says he is interested in shadowing faculty and staff to better transition into the campus. He also says he will be looking into opportunities for living/learning communities, increasing technology usage, increasing engagement with the community and examining the panoply of curricular and co-curricular activities.
Cloyd will take up residence at the president’s house on Drury’s campus, and says he wants to have an open dialogue with students and for them to feel comfortable coming to events at the house.
“I would like to have a presidential ambassadors’ advisory council of students who help me understand what’s going on on-campus—what the mood is, what the trends are,” Cloyd says.
Drury's current president, David Manuel, announced his retirement in October after serving three years at the university. He’ll step down in May. Cloyd’s first day as Drury’s 18th president is July 1.