Every year, The Mirror chooses to honor one person on Drury’s campus who the staff feels is impactful and whose presence at Drury is irreplaceable. This year, Shewmaker’s own Dr. Jonathan Groves, Department Chair, was selected as the honoree for his dedication to students.
Anyone who knows about The Comm Department seems to associate Groves’ name with it; he’s a professor, adviser, and mentor to many who frequent the halls of Shewmaker. The Mirror felt that of all people, Groves was profoundly deserving of the title for his unfatiguable and unwavering commitment to bettering the department and his students.
Since being named as Department Head two years ago, Groves has managed to bring KDRU, Drury’s student-run radio station, to the FM waves; he’s pushed for new curriculums and rearranged the majors; he’s overseen a new version of the “Campaigns” class, which now works with local nonprofits; and in general, he’s prioritized creating more realistic, rewarding, and civic-minded classes for students. He’s done this all while continuing his work as a “media geek” (which he often refers to himself as), live-tweeting every event he possibly can, and conducting research.
It’s a mystery to all students how he does everything and still makes time to help his students, but he does it, and with great humbleness. According to Mirror writer Masha Podokshik, when she informed him he would be receiving the award, he replied, “I think there are many people worthier of this award. But I am honored to be selected. It makes me think about what I have accomplished and what I have yet to accomplish.” There may not be a more modest man on Drury’s campus.
Groves also led the Department through a tough and tragic time as the campus grieved the sudden loss of one student, “Ariel” Wen Xu. Ariel was a communication major and an extremely talented swimmer, and her passing was very hard for faculty, friends, and fellow students. Groves opened his doors to all who needed consolation, a good laugh, or compassion. For this, students were grateful, and it demonstrated Groves’ character as well as his ability to provide perspective in such situations.
Although Groves will be leaving on sabbatical next year, he’s left the department in a strong, stable state. He’s excited to return to the Christian Science Monitor, a Pultizer Prize- winning newspaper, to study newsroom and organizational change. He also will continue writing his book titled “The Lean Newsroom” on the topic of organizational culture.The students may be sad to see him go for the short time, but all wish him the best and patiently await his return.
Groves’ enthusiasm and dedication are unmatched in the classroom, and he’s the kind of professor who teaches you both technical and life skills. His excitement and passion for teaching students is obvious, and for that, Dr. Groves, we salute you.