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University Leadership

Rick Oliver

Dr. Richard Oliver is the CEO of American Sentinel University. Previously, he was a professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. While there, Dr. Oliver received the Outstanding Professor Award and a Dean’s Teaching Award. For several years, he served as a visiting professor of management at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. In 2016 he was named a Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) 2016 Innovation Award Winner. The award recognized his vision and guidance to introduce several key technological advances geared to assisting students to successfully complete their coursework at the University.

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Oliver had a 20-year career at Nortel Networks, where he was vice president of marketing, and he also worked for DuPont Co. Dr. Oliver is the author of seven books and more than 50 book chapters and journal articles about management, technology and education, and has lectured around the world on these topics.

He served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Services Marketing and the Journal of Strategic Management Education. Dr. Oliver has served on seven corporate boards and was chairman of the board of directors of Symmetricom, a high-tech telecommunications company, from 1997 to 2004.

Dr. Oliver holds a Ph.D. in informatics from the State University of New York, a Master of Arts in communications from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor of Science in economics from Cornell University.

Mary Adams

Mary Adams is the president of American Sentinel University. She has more than 25 years of experience in distance education, including serving as president of Aspen University from 1992 to 2004. Ms. Adams served as commissioner of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC (Formerly Distance Education and Training Council-DETC), and as past chair of the Research and Education Standards Committee. She has chaired more than 30 accreditation visits and received the DETC’s Distinguished Service Award and Distinguished Recognition Award. In 2016 she received the DEAC’s Person of the Year award, their highest recognition for individual achievement.

Ms. Adams holds an MBA from ISIM University and a Bachelor of Arts in history from California State University, Fullerton.

William Tammone

Dr. William Tammone is Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice President for Strategy and Innovation of American Sentinel University. Previously, he served as the chief academic officer at Macomb Community College (Michigan’s largest community college, serving more than 40,000 students annually), the Colorado Community College System in Denver, Illinois Central College (where he also served as interim president), Montcalm Community College in Michigan and, Ivy Tech State College in Columbus, Indiana.

His experience with online education dates back to 1998, when he began playing a leading role in helping to establish the Michigan Community College Virtual Learning Collaborative (a consortium of more than 25 community colleges that still exists today as Michigan Colleges Online). He also taught online himself for many years.

Dr. Tammone has also served on several nonprofit boards, including the Board of Directors for the Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in Peoria, Illinois, and he has more than 20 years of experience as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

Dr. Tammone has a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Human Biology from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University – Bloomington.

Donna Prudhomme is the chief financial officer of American Sentinel University. She has over 20 years’ experience in accounting with ten years in higher education. Prior to coming to American Sentinel, Donna was the assistant southeast area director of finance for Ernst and Young. While at American Sentinel, Donna has served as the controller and institutional research analyst.

Ms. Prudhomme holds an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from the University of Alabama.

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  • Brian Carlisle, Chief Information Officer
  • Loren Ellison, Vice President, Admissions Services
  • Christine Hansen, Vice President, HLI Operations
  • Tiina Hyvonen, Vice President, Marketing Operations
  • Jay Kim, Vice President, Financial Services
  • Devon Putnam, Vice President, Student Engagement
  • Michael Rickart, Vice President, Partner Engagement
  • Kristine Zewe, Senior Vice President, University Administration, People & Culture

Healthcare Learning Innovations provides a comprehensive digital portfolio of interactive courses, educational simulations, and innovative learning products and services for healthcare professionals as well as educators.

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan is the president of Healthcare Learning Innovations at American Sentinel University. He has an extensive background in healthcare and healthcare IT, strategic business development, and online learning. Previously, Jeff was senior vice president of enrollment and retention at American Sentinel University.

Prior to American Sentinel, Mr. Caplan was the executive vice president for a specialty healthcare media company and the vice president of marketing and product management for a healthcare electronic exchange between hospitals and suppliers. Mr. Caplan spent his early career at DuPont, where he led a variety of businesses and functions.

Mr. Caplan holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Rutgers University.

William Tammone

Dr. William Tammone is Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice President for Strategy and Innovation of American Sentinel University. Previously, he served as the chief academic officer at Macomb Community College (Michigan’s largest community college, serving more than 40,000 students annually), the Colorado Community College System in Denver, Illinois Central College (where he also served as interim president), Montcalm Community College in Michigan and, Ivy Tech State College in Columbus, Indiana.

His experience with online education dates back to 1998, when he began playing a leading role in helping to establish the Michigan Community College Virtual Learning Collaborative (a consortium of more than 25 community colleges that still exists today as Michigan Colleges Online). He also taught online himself for many years.

Dr. Tammone has also served on several nonprofit boards, including the Board of Directors for the Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in Peoria, Illinois, and he has more than 20 years of experience as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

Dr. Tammone has a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Human Biology from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University – Bloomington.

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.

MelissaPenner

Dr. Melissa Penner is the chair of the MSN program and associate professor at American Sentinel University. Previously, she was the Simulation and Clinical sites Manager at Kaplan School of Nursing in Chicago, Ill, where she lead the implementation of a simulation program for 16 campus based pre-licensure programs across the nation and integrated simulation into the curriculum of nursing programs. Dr. Penner fulfilled various roles at Kaplan University, including full time and adjunct faculty member for PN, ADN, BSN and MSN courses and served as a campus Director of Nursing for PN program. Dr. Penner worked as an RN in the office/surgery at Quinlan Eye Surgery and Laser Center and at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in the adult Emergency Department and Operating Room. Dr. Penner gained experience as an LPN in the long term care setting.

Dr. Penner has earned distinction from the National League of Nursing as a Certified Nurse Educator and is a board member of the Chi Alpha chapter of Sigma Theta International and is a member of the National League for Nursing. She is also a volunteer with Unity Point Nurse Honor Guard.

Dr. Penner holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from American Sentinel University, a Master of Art in Teaching and Learning, with an emphasis on teaching with technology, a Master of Science degree in nursing education from Kaplan University, a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Mercy College of Health Sciences, and an Associate Degree and Diploma in nursing from Marshalltown Community College.

Yolanda Smith

Dr. Yolanda Smith is Chair of the DNP Program at American Sentinel University. Previously, she was the Chair/Nurse Administrator of the BSN program at Oakwood University, and before that served as nursing faculty where she taught various courses in the classroom and clinical environments. She has been in the field of education for over 19 years, eight of which has been devoted to nursing education. Dr. Smith has held direct nursing positions in various areas including long-term care, rehabilitative care, care management, pain management, and ambulatory same-day surgery. Her research interests include strategies for enhancing student success where her doctoral work focused testing a model to examine the relationship between nurse educators’ intent to use and actual use of evidence-based critical thinking strategies to promote critical thinking skills in nursing students.

Dr. Smith is a member of various professional organizations including American Nurses Association, Alabama State Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau International. She is also a Program Evaluator for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Dr. Smith holds an Ed.D. specializing in Curriculum and Instruction from Andrews University, a Master of Science Nursing/Nursing Education from Andrews University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers University.

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.

JoanneNanavaty

Dr. Joanne Nanavaty is the Chair of the RN to BSN program and an Assistant Professor in Nursing at American Sentinel University. She was an adjunct for the university for over seven years before joining the university full-time. Previously, she was the Lead Instructor for Stone Academy. Dr. Nanavaty worked as a float staff nurse and trained at the Cleveland Clinic for the open-heart step-down unit at Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT. Her experience also includes school nursing from kindergarten through the 12th grade and as a LPN instructor at Lincoln Technical Institute schools. As Program Coordinator for a health district, she supervised and coordinated health education and prevention programs, health screenings, and immunization clinics. As Community Educator for the Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism, she developed and presented health education and risk reduction programs for local municipalities. Dr. Nanavaty organized various preventative screening programs and health education programs for St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut as Coordinator of Programs and Services.

Dr. Nanavaty is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, International Nursing Honor Society, Kappa Alpha Chapter. She has published in the nursing journal Nurse Education Today.

Dr. Nanavaty holds a Doctorate of Education in Nursing Education at Western Connecticut State University, a MSN (Management and Organizational Leadership) from American Sentinel University, a BSN from Western Connecticut State University, a BS in Health Education from Western Connecticut State University, and Minor in Biology from Western Connecticut State University.

Dr. Kris Skalsky is the chair of Scholarship and Research and Professor at American Sentinel University. She graduated from Argosy University with a Doctorate of Education in Instructional Leadership and holds a Master’s of Science in Nursing Education from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Skalsky obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Toledo and her diploma in nursing from the Community Hospital School of Nursing in Springfield, OH. She began her career as a pediatric nurse and had direct care positions in the operating room and medical surgical areas. She has held leadership positions in acute and chronic dialysis facilities. Dr. Skalsky has over 20 years of experience working in nursing education. Her research interests include quantitative studies grounded in implementation science and the study of strategies that can impact math and statistical anxiety. Dr. Skalsky is a proud member of Sigma Theta Tau.

Lauren Stehling

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.