While Helping Students Succeed, Associate Provost Discovers Playwriting Talent

Dr. Doug Bryan Enjoys Seeing Characters Come to Life on Stage


GWU Playwright Puts Students First

Dr. Claude Douglas “Doug” Bryan, associate provost for Student Success at Gardner-Webb University, wrote his first play in 2012 while auditing a class taught by Dr. Jim Thomas, former dean of the GWU School of Performing and Visual Arts.

He was surprised and delighted when the play, “Rummaging For Will,” was chosen to premiere on the GWU stage. “From that opportunity, my appetite was stimulated and the writing continued in the form of a second play,” Bryan relates.

His second play, “I-YA-I-YA-O,” was performed at GWU in 2015 and recently presented by the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre in Mars Hill, N.C.

Born in Greenwood, S.C., Bryan graduated from Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and spent almost 25 years studying and teaching in Texas. Holding five academic degrees, including a Ph.D. in psychology and counseling, Bryan came to GWU in 2002 as a professor of religious education. He has taught in such places as Nigeria, Hong Kong, Lithuania, Romania and India. He also wrote a novel in 2014, “What the Willows Know.”

Before discovering playwriting, Bryan wrote hymns by adding lyrics to existing classic tunes. He wrote the official theme song for Gardner-Webb’s Centennial celebration. Writing a play gives him an opportunity to collaborate with a director, designer and cast to move from printed dialogue on a page to a live presentation before an audience. Bryan is also passionate about helping GWU students achieve their dreams. The programs under his leadership include Undergraduate Academic Advising, Noel Center for Disability Resources, First-Year Programs, the Writing Center, and LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program).

“My overarching goal is to provide excellent academic support services that will maximize individual student success,” Bryan shares. “I am very fortunate to have excellent deans and directors who directly supervise these programs. Our success is directly related to their capable leadership and commitment to GWU students.”

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