Faculty Leadership

After a very distinguished career teaching and leading nursing academics, Dr. Judy Burckhardt retired as Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs at American Sentinel University January 1, 2017. During her career, Dr. Burckhardt mentored not only students, but nurse leaders across the country. Her influence will be ongoing. She will be joining the Board of Trust at American Sentinel University as of January 1st. We look forward to many more years of Dr. Burckhardt sharing her knowledge and expertise with the University. Thank you Dr. Burckhardt, for all that you have done for the University, and for the Nursing profession.

American Sentinel University continues the pursuit of academic excellence and we are pleased to announce that Dr. Elaine Foster will replace Dr. Burckhardt as the  Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs.  And Dr. Karen Whitham will replace Dr. Foster as the Associate Dean, DNP and Healthcare Programs.

Dr. Elaine Foster
Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs

Elaine Foster

Before being appointed as the Dean, Nursing and Healthcare Programs, Dr. Elaine Foster was the Associate Dean of graduate nursing 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 Accrediton.

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. Sandra Cleveland
Chair, DNP and IMT Programs

/Dr Cleveland

Dr. Sandra Cleveland, Chair DNP and IMT Programs at American Sentinel University. Dr. Cleveland most recently served as an Associate Professor and Chair, graduate programs. Dr. Cleveland has 25 years as a registered nurse and more than 20 years of nursing education experience. She has been involved in online education for a decade. She most recently worked as an Associate Professor and Faculty Development Specialist at Chamberlain College of Nursing; Program Director for the ADN and LPN programs at Davenport University, and University of Detroit-Mercy where she has received awards for teaching. She has presented at numerous state and national conferences and published a number of articles. Dr. Cleveland is a Certified Nurse Educator and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International and the National League of Nursing.

Dr. Cleveland holds a Ph.D. in Education (nursing specialization) from Capella University; Master of Science Nursing from Wayne University, and a Bachelor of Science Nursing from the Grand Valley State University.

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.