Chancellor Search

Dr. Shirley LawlerMay 1, 2018
Contact: Clif Smart

Missouri State-West Plains names new chancellor

Dr. Shirley Lawler will take the helm on June 1

SPRINGFIELD – For the first time, a woman will lead Missouri State University-West Plains. Dr. Shirley Lawler will begin as chancellor on June 1.

"We had a number of strong candidates for the chancellor position," said Matt Morris, chair of the search committee and vice president for administrative services on the Springfield campus. "Shirley quickly rose to the top."

Lawler was provost/vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at Ozarks Technical Community College before she retired in 2012. She began at OTC in 1997 and served in a number of positions, including associate vice president for academic affairs, dean of technical education and dean of academic services.

"Shirley's strong background at OTC will help her lead the West Plains campus," said Missouri State President Clif Smart. "I look forward to working with her."

Lawler replaces Chancellor Drew Bennett, who announced in August that he would retire this spring.

"Missouri State University-West Plains offers affordable and accessible educational programs to the constituents of south-central Missouri," said Lawler. "For many first-generation college students in the region, Missouri State-West Plains is their open door into higher education. I'm excited to lead the campus in continuing to meet the education and training needs of the area."

Lawler has distinguished career in education

Lawler has a doctorate in education from the University of Missouri. She also has a bachelor's in business education and Master of Education in secondary education, both from Missouri State.

Prior to working at OTC, Lawler worked at Logan-Rogersville High School for 12 years. She was also an adjunct instructor at Missouri State from 1984-2002.

Contract details

Lawler will be paid $162,000 per year. Other benefits include:

  • The opportunity to live in the chancellor's residence.
  • Access to the West Plains Country Club.
  • Complimentary tickets to all West Plains campus events.
  • Funds to host university events.

Lawler's appointment is subject to approval by the Missouri State Board of Governors at its next regular meeting on May 17.