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MSU-West Plains Chancellor Announces Retirement

Missouri State University

The chancellor of Missouri State University-West Plains is stepping down.  According to the university, Shirley Lawler made the decision due to health issues.

Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic affairs, has been named interim chancellor.  Lancaster has served in a variety of teaching and administrative roles at MSU-West Plains for 30 years.

President Clif Smart said that, due to the coronavirus, Lancaster will serve in the interim role for at least the next year.  He said he’ll work with the MSU Board of Governors to evaluate the feasibility of a national search next year.

During Lawler’s two-year tenure, MSU-West Plains established an apprenticeship program through GOCAT, built an 850-seat amphitheater, established the Ozarks Teacher Corps Scholarship, established a West Plains Police Substation at Drago Hall, secured a $300,000 commitment from Ozarks Medical Center to help the campus expand the Associate of Science in Nursing degree program and increased enrollment by five percent in fall 2019, according to the university.