American Sentinel University Announces Updates to Nursing Leadership Team for Online Nursing Programs

– Nursing Leadership Team Focuses on Student Experience to Maintain the Highest Levels of Quality in Nursing Programs –

AURORA, Colo. – February 12, 2015 – American Sentinel University, a leading online university accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, today announced updates to the nursing leadership team for the university’s online nursing programs.

Karen Whitham, EdD(c), RN, CNE has been promoted to the position of assistant dean, undergraduate nursing programs and will be responsible for managing the RN to BSN program. In her new role, she will manage undergraduate faculty and students and play an important role in developing the undergraduate curriculum and BSN coursework in the RN to BSN/MSN program.

Previously, Whitham served as the university’s chair, nursing programs, faculty, and students. Earlier in her career she taught on-ground and online for practical, associate and bachelor’s level nursing programs at Kaplan University and Rasmussen College.

Whitham is a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) and a member of numerous nursing associations, including Sigma Theta Tau International and National League for Nursing. She was an item writer for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and a scenario contributor for the publication Simulation Learning System- Licensed Practical/Licensed Vocational Nursing.

She holds an Associate of Science in Nursing from Mercy College of Health Sciences, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Iowa, a Master of Science in Nursing from Regis University and a master of science in higher education from Kaplan University. Currently, Whitham is an Ed.D. candidate in health professions education at the College of Saint Mary.

Tona Leiker, Ph.D, APRN-CNS, CNE has been promoted to the position of assistant dean, nursing curriculum and assessment and will continue to be responsible for developing the curriculum for both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.

In addition, Dr. Leiker will be responsible for implementing and evaluating the Systematic Plans for Evaluation (SPE) for all nursing programs and ensuring that online nursing courses meet the quality requirements and standards set forth by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and American Sentinel University.

Previously, she served as the university’s chair, graduate nursing programs with an emphasis on curriculum review and development.

Dr. Leiker has a wealth of experience teaching students, mentoring peers and developing programs and she has been a member of associations and groups vital to the health care education industry, including serving as President of the National Nurses Society on Addictions, Kansas School Nurse Organization, Epsilon Gamma at Large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, and was a member of many nursing focused organizations such as: Tabor College Nursing Honor Society Charter, Governance Board Member of Kansas Center for Nursing and a member of American Nurses Association, Kansas State Nursing Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Kansas Organization of Nurse Leaders, Golden Key International and Phi Kappa Phi University of Kansas Chapter.

She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the University of Kansas.

Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN will continue to serve as the university’s associate dean, nursing graduate programs and will be responsible for managing the DNP, MSN and RN to BSN/MSN programs and work closely with Dr. Leiker to plan, organize, supervise and ensure the success of the graduate nursing program at American Sentinel University.

She will also work with the dean, nursing programs to maintain curriculum integrity, promote optimum learning opportunities for students and foster a rich online environment for the students.

Dr. Foster has been a member of associations and groups vital to the health care education industry, including the National League of Nursing, Michigan Liberal Arts Deans Organizations (MLAD), National Organization of Associate Degree Nursing (N-OADN), Northern Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives (NIONE), Michigan Council of Nursing Education Administrators (MCNEA), Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, Performance Improvement Subcommittee for Borgess-Lee Hospital, The Governance Institute and member of Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital board of trustees.

“At American Sentinel, we are driven by a simple, but ambitious goal: we nurture talent. Our primary focus is on our student experience and we strive to foster a supportive, encouraging environment of personal and professional growth,” says Judy Burckhardt, Ph.D., MAEd, MSN, RN, dean, nursing programs at American Sentinel University. “Our updated nursing leadership team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the American Sentinel nursing programs that embody our core values and make them the right professionals to lead the nursing programs in 2015 and continue to make American Sentinel nursing programs some of the best in the country.”

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.