Drew Bennett became the chancellor of Missouri State University-West Plains on July 1, 2007.
Dr. Bennett received his BA in History from Tulane University, his MS in Human Relations from Golden Gate University, his MS in National Security Strategy from the National War College, and his PhD in Adult and Extension Education from Texas A&M University. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, he rose to the rank of colonel, serving in various assignments that took him around the world on land, in the air and at sea, commanding infantry units at every level from platoon to regiment and working on Service, Joint (multi-service) and Combined (US and allied) Staffs. As a Marine, most of his service was in operational units in the United States and in Asia. Of notable exception was a tour as the senior speech writer for the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles Krulak and a one-year fellowship for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Representative Newt Gingrich. He is a veteran of the Multi-national Peacekeeping Operation in Beirut, Lebanon, Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Operation Unified Assistance, the tsunami relief operation, in Indonesia, and he was in the Pentagon on 9/11.
In addition to publishing numerous articles and book reviews, Dr. Bennett has taught as a full-time faculty member at Texas A&M University and the National War College and as an adjunct faculty member at Blinn College, Central Texas College, George Washington University and Norwich University. He has taught seated and online courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. Prior to becoming Chancellor, he held the Commandant of the Marine Corps Chair at the National War College in Washington, D.C.
Since joining Missouri State University, Dr. Bennett has led an effort to make college more accessible for citizens in the Missouri State University-West Plains service area. An innovative outreach program, extensive communication campaign and college access grant funding have been used to increase enrollment. Over the last 10 years he has led the campus in achieving significant accomplishments to include:
- 10% increase in enrollment
- 145% increase in percentage of faculty & staff diversity
- 100% increase in percentage of student diversity
- 26% increase in full-time faculty
- 10 new academic degrees and several new programs
- 3 new buildings
- 12 building renovation projects
- 3 professorships established
- $11,348,033 in grants
- $8,879,974 in donations
- 2,726 graduates
His op-eds on education have appeared in papers throughout the state and in two national journals, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. Under Dr. Bennett's leadership, Missouri State University-West Plains was selected for two years in a row as "A Great College To Work For" by The Chronicle of Higher Education, selected for two years in a row by the Aspen Institute as one of the top 120 two-year colleges in the United States and selected by Washington Monthly Magazine as the 6th best two-year college in its ranking. Dr. Bennett served on the board of the Rural Community College Alliance, including two years as the President of the board.