School of Nursing Faculty and Staff
- Med Center/WKU Health Sciences Complex
Mary Bennett is Director of the WKU School of Nursing and Allied Health, which has programs in Nursing and Dental Hygiene. The Nursing programs ranges from LPN to ASN (Online), BSN, Master's in Nursing for second degree students (MEPN) and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). She holds a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) from Rush University in Chicago, and MSN, BSN and ASN from Indiana State University School of Nursing. Since beginning her nursing career she has held several clinical positions, from working as RN in ICU to serving as a nurse practitioner for the Indiana Air National Guard.
Her teaching experience started with an instructor position at Lakeland Community College in an Associate Degree Nursing program. She then returned to her alma mater at ISU to teach in the Associate and later the Baccalaureate and Graduate programs. While serving at Indiana State University she was promoted to full professor and served for several years as the Assistant Dean of the School of Nursing.
In 2007 she came to Western Kentucky University to serve as the first Director of the newly formed School of Nursing. Under her leadership the School has added the former Bowling Green Community College ASN program, an online LPN to ASN program and started the new PMHNP, DNP and MEPN programs. Since 2007 the traditional BSN program has tripled in size. In 2011 The School of Nursing began working with a community partner to build a new 74,000 sq ft building to house the School of Nursing and the new Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. The new building opened Aug 2013. The WKU Dental Hygiene program and the Institute for Rural Health joined the School of Nursing in July 2019. Currently the School of Nursing and Allied Health has over 1300 students and over 40 full-time faculty and staff.
Dr. Bennett is a past member of the Kentucky Board of Nursing, past president of the Kentucky Association of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs and a former board member for both the Kentucky Nurses Association and the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwifes.
The SONAH Director currently serves on the Area Health Education Center board, the Kentucky Nursing Deans and Directors group, the Kentucky Nurses Action Coalition and has recently been appointed by the Governor to serve on the Team Kentucky Nursing Advisory Committee to address Kentucky’s state of emergency related to nursing shortage.
Her research interests are the effects of various complementary therapies on stress and natural killer (NK) cell activity, decision making in end of life care, and nursing student sucess as it relates to nursing workforce development.
Dr Bennett has Regular Graduate Faculty Status with the Graduate School.