05/26/2020 McMurry News

McMurry University has named Matthew J. Draud, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and Dean of the faculty. In his role, he will serve as the advisor to the president in matters relating to curriculum and instruction, faculty selection and management, and programmatic initiative supporting and enhancing the student learning experience at the University. Matthew will join McMurry on June 22.

“Matt is the perfect person to support the advancement of the student learning experiences at a pivotal time in higher education,” says McMurry University President Dr. Sandra S. Harper. “He is a bold and innovative thinker who will inspire our faculty and students to think differently. His academic background as a biologist and scientist will serve the University extremely well as we continue to focus on science, technology engineering, and mathematic (STEM) education.”

“The opportunity at McMurry will allow me to build upon my administrative background and I look forward to working collaboratively and creatively to increase student success and improve institutional sustainability,” says Matthew J. Draud, Ph.D. “When I began pursuing the role at McMurry, I looked forward to exploring ways to integrate flexible online learning models into a traditional higher education environment – little did I realize at the time how important this vision would be in the current volatile landscape.”

Most recently, Draud served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI. Before Siena, he headed up the biology department at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. He began his career at Long Island University, where he was a tenured professor, chair of the biology department, and director of the graduate program. Draud’s key professional posts includes serving as a Peer Corps Reviewer for The Higher Learning Commission and he previously served as a research analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment for the United States Congress in Washington, D.C.

“Matt will be the first academic officer at McMurry with a science background, which is exciting for the University,” adds Dr. Harper, “He will provide vital insights and support as we continue to work on additional STEM focusing grants, beyond our current Title V.”

Draud shared that he also has a keen interest in business development and entrepreneurial start-ups. He has been involved for the past several years with Upstart Adrian, a visionary group very similar to many of Abilene’s business incubators, which has developed a program that focuses on building awareness of the entrepreneurial skills necessary for people that want to start new businesses in Adrian.

Draud earned his Ph.D. in biology from Lehigh University.  He has his master’s of science in biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a bachelor of arts in biology from Thomas More University.

“While I am a scientist, biologist, by training and look forward to advancing the sciences at McMurry, you might be surprised to learn that I am more engaged in business program development than my CV outlines,” adds Draud. “I am eager to become engaged with the local community to find out how McMurry can continue to support people who want to start businesses in Abilene.”

Draud goes onto explain his passion for identifying and understanding community business needs and his goal of aligning McMurry degree offerings to fill talent gaps that exist in the Big Country. “In addition to serving McMurry, I look forward to my involvement in the Abilene community contributing to the growth of this dynamic city,” adds Dr. Draud.

Draud will be relocating to Abilene with his wife, Michelle who is a nurse with expertise in high-risk obstetrical care, and he has two young adult children, son Travis who recently completed a Masters degree in biology from Easter Michigan University and daughter Savannah who is working on a doctoral degree in biology at University of Mississippi.

Draud is replacing Dr. James Hunt, who is retiring in June. Hunt has served as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty since 2015.


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Alaisha Montanez ’11