Faculty Leadership

Dr. Elaine Foster
Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs

Elaine Foster

Dr. Elaine Foster is the Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs at American Sentinel University. Previously, she was the Associate Dean for the School of Nursing at Kaplan University, overseeing the nursing program and its faculty and operations, launching new programs and managing all accreditation issues. For 27 years, Dr. Foster held various leadership roles at Southwestern Michigan College, including Dean of the School of Nursing and Human Services and Dean of academic studies. She has presented at numerous state and national conferences. In 2007, she served on a nursing legislative task force for the state of Michigan to develop a plan to reduce the shortage of nurses in the state.

Dr. Foster is a member of the National League of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau International. She is a Program Evaluator for Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. She is a past member of several state and national professional associations, including the Michigan Liberal Arts Deans organization, the National Organization of Associate Degree Nursing, the Northern Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives and the Michigan Council of Nursing Education Administrators (for which she served as president). Dr. Foster also serves on the board of trustees for the Cass County Council on Aging.

Dr. Foster holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from Andrews University, a Master of Science Nursing from Andrews University and a Bachelor of Science Nursing from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Karen Whitham
Associate Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs

Karen Whitham

Dr. Karen Whitham is the associate dean of nursing and healthcare programs at American Sentinel University. Previously, she was the assistant dean of undergraduate nursing programs and before that a member of the nursing faculty at Rasmussen College. Dr. Whitham has held various roles at Kaplan University, including Director of Pre-licensure Initiatives, practical nursing professor, clinical coordinator and adjunct online nursing professor. She worked as a staff nurse on a medical/surgical/telemetry unit at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, where she also was a clinical instructor in the College of Health Sciences.

Dr. Whitham is a Certified Nurse Educator and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the National League for Nursing and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning. She is also a Program Evaluator for the Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation.

Dr. Whitham holds an M.S. in higher education, teaching and learning, from Kaplan University, an MSN (leadership in healthcare systems emphasis) from Regis University, a BSN from the University of Iowa and an A.S. in nursing from Mercy College of Health Sciences. She completed a Doctor of Education in healthcare education from the College of Saint Mary.

Dr. Bridget Drafahl

Chair, Doctorate of Nursing and Healthcare Programs

Prior to her role as Chair, Dr. Drafahl was a full-time faculty member for American Sentinel University. Dr. Drafahl has been a nurse for over 30 years and has worked in several clinical areas, including management and quality positions, as well as a nurse educator for over 14 years.

Dr Drafahl has a BSN in Nursing from the University of Iowa, A MSN in Nursing from the University of Phoenix, and a PhD in Nursing from Capella University. She has multiple publications and most recently published on Excellence in the Journal of Nursing Management. Her doctoral work examined faculty burnout and disempowerment in nurse educators and their relationship to creativity in teaching.

Dr. Drafahl is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and the Association of Nursing Professional Development and holds certification as a Certified Nurse Leader and Professional Development. She has been an item writer for the CNL exam and is considered a content expert.

Dr. Kelli Greder
Chair, RN to BSN, MSN and General Education Programs

Kelli Smith

Dr. Kelli Greder is Chair, RN to BSN, MSN, and General Education Programs at American Sentinel University. Prior to this role she had been teaching at American Sentinel University in the MSN and DNP programs, and in the RN to BSN program before that. Dr. Greder has held various leadership and education roles over the past 20 years, and direct care nursing positions prior to that. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, American Nurses Association, Minnesota Organization of Registered Nurses, and the National League for Nursing.

Dr. Greder holds a Ph.D. in Education from Capella University, MSN in Nursing Education from the University of Minnesota, BSN from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN and ASN from Lakewood Community College (now known as Century), White Bear Lake, MN.

Dr. Lauren M. Stehling

Director, Nurse Practitioner Program

Dr. Lauren Stehling is the Director of the Nurse Practitioner Program. She has over 16 years of experience working in nursing education in various roles. Dr. Stehling graduated from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice; holds a Masters in Nursing Education from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX. Dr. Stehling received a Post-Masters Certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner and is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.