Mary Bennett is Director of the WKU School of Nursing, which has programs ranging from the Associate of Science in Nursing to the Doctor of Nursing Practice. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) 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, added an online RN-BSN program and started the new DNP program. In addition the traditional BSN program has doubled in size. Since 2007 faculty in the School of Nursing have obtained two salary increases for market adjustment, added 12 additional faculty lines and 5 staff lines. Currently the School of Nursing has over 1500 students and over 50 faculty and staff. 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.
Dr. Bennett is a past member of the Kentucky Board of Nursing. She is 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. She is a member of numerous other local and regional professional organizations. Her research interests are the effects of various complementary and alternative therapies on stress and natural killer (NK) cell activity, decision making in end of life care, and workforce development and socialization of health care professionals.
Dr Bennett has Regular Graduate Faculty Status with the Graduate School.