ACEN Announces New Board of Commissioner Members 

ACEN Announces New Board of Commissioner Members

June 14, 2021

Please welcome the new members of your Board of Commissioners.


THE VOTES ARE IN! Effective October 1, 2021, there are newly elected and re-elected Commissioners who will join the Board.

Each Commissioner will serve a three-year term from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2024. The 17 Board of Commissioner represent the following roles: 11 nursing education representatives, 3 nursing service representatives, and 3 public representatives. This diversification ensures your ACEN Board of Commissioners are able to give balanced representation from across identified constituencies insofar as possible.

The Board of Commissioners is a governing board and has the authority of a governing board, which is (1) ensuring the financial resources of the ACEN such as setting the fee schedule, budget, and reviewing the audit; (2) setting policy such as the policies found in the Accreditation Manual and the Standards and Criteria; and (3) most importantly, having the sole authority to determine the accreditation status of nursing programs. Members of the Board of Commissioners also serve as Chairpersons at Evaluation Review Panels, guiding the panelists through discussions and asking for status recommendations.

We are very excited to congratulate our new and returning members of the Board of Commissioners!

Nursing Educator Representatives 

Kristen Barbee, PhD, RN, CNE
Program Director & Associate Professor
Wingate University
Wingate, North Carolina

Dr. Kristen Barbee has 26 years of nursing experience, with 14 of those years in nursing education. As a nurse educator, she has taught and/or directed programs at the associate, baccalaureate, and master’s levels. Currently program director of the baccalaureate program at Wingate University, Dr. Barbee values the accreditation process and the program improvement that occurs due to ACEN accreditation.

She is currently working on development of an RN-BSN completion program option for the university. Dr. Barbee received her diploma from Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing, her BSN from Gardner-Webb University, her MSN in Nursing Education from East Carolina University, and her PhD in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has held the CNE certification since 2006 and was an NLN LEAD leadership program participant in 2014. She is currently involved in research examining the relationship of grit and purpose in nursing school applicants and students.

Dr. Barbee has served as a site visitor for ACEN since 2016 and has a passion and enthusiasm for conducting site visits. Networking and evaluating other programs is truly a passion. She has also been honored to serve on the Evaluation Review Panel since 2017. Her first site visit serving as a team chair will occur in spring 2018. Participating in the planning of the Inaugural ACEN Accreditation Conference has been a fun experience for Kristen, and she’s looking forward to seeing how all the planning produces an end product!

Dr. Barbee believes that one of the best ways to know more about an organization is to serve that organization in some capacity or role. She was the Public Relations Director on the N-OADN Board of Directors from 2006-2008; Secretary of the NC ADN Council from 2005-2010; Secretary for the National Association of Bariatric Nurses from 2012-2013; Director of the Qualitative Research Interest Group for the Southern Nursing Research Society from 2012-2014; and President of the Upsilon Mu chapter of Sigma Theta Tau from 2015-present.

Dr. Barbee is honored to be nominated for a seat on the ACEN Board of Commissioners and will serve it and its members to the best of her ability.

Joy Cole, PhD, RN
Assistant  Professor of Nursing
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah

Dr. Joy Cole, PhD, RN is a nurse educator who promotes the ongoing development of the nursing profession and the educational process. Dr. Cole knows that an effective, efficient healthcare system must be championed by educated professionals who are unwavering patient advocates, dedicated knowledge builders, and responsible resource stewards. She embraces the challenge to transform healthcare and works collaboratively with other professionals in clinical, educational, and research venues to accomplish this goal.

As a registered nurse, Dr. Cole’s experience spans decades and includes direct patient care, education of both undergraduate and graduate-level nursing professionals, and service to community members to promote wellness and compassionate inclusion. Dr. Cole holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Nursing Education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Shari Gholson, DNP, RN, CNE
Dean of Nursing
West Kentucky Community & Technical College
Paducah, Kentucky

Dr. Shari Gholson, DNP, RN, CNE has 33 years of nursing experience, including 20 years in nursing education. She is a professor of nursing at West Kentucky Community and Technical College and is serving as Dean of the Nursing Division and program coordinator of the Associate Degree Nursing Program since 2006.

Shari earned her Doctorate in Nurse Practice from Northern Kentucky University, Master’s Degree in Nursing from Vanderbilt University (clinical nurse specialist) and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Murray State University. She also holds the Certified Nurse Educators credential. She has served the college in a number of leadership roles including faculty representative to the WKCTC Board of Directors, chair of the Kentucky Community and Technical College Nursing Curriculum Committee, and has presented at local, state, national, and international conferences/workshops.

Dr. Gholson has served as an ACEN site visitor since 2013, a team chair since 2015, and an Evaluation Review Panel member since 2016. She is a member of several professional associations including Sigma Theta Tau International, American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, Kentucky Deans and Directors, Kentucky Council of Associate Degree Nursing, and Kentucky Nurses Action Coalition.

Shari considers it an honor walk beside nursing faculty of WKCTC as they chose to teach those that will follow them into the nursing profession and will value the opportunity to do the same with the ACEN organization.

Cheryl Osler, EdD, MS-CNS, LMHC, MSL, RN, CNE
Associate Dean of Nursing
Spokane Community College
Spokane, Washington

Dr. Cheryl Osler, EdD, MS-CNS, LMHC, MSL, RN, CNE has 32 years of nursing experience, including 19 years in nursing education. She is a nursing professor at Spokane Community College and is serving as the Associate Dean of Nursing since 2015. She is currently working on developing an RN to BSN program option for the college.

Dr. Osler earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California, a Master’s Degree in Community Mental Health Nursing from the University of Hawaii (clinical nurse specialist), a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University, a Master of Studies in Law from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Seattle Pacific University. She also holds the Certified Nurse Educators credential and worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in private practice for ten years.

Dr. Osler has served as an ACEN site visitor since 2013, a team chair since 2018, an Evaluation Review Panel member since 2019, and is an external consultant for nursing schools preparing for an ACEN site visit. She is serving on several boards, including MultiCare Human Subjects Institutional Review Board, Girls Scouts of Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho Board of Directors, Inland Empire Nurses Association Board, the Clinical Placement Northwest Board of Directors as Vice President, Greater Inland Northwest American Red Cross Board of Directors, and serves as a certified Disaster Mental Health Counselor, and youth disaster preparedness educator for the American Red Cross.

Dr. Osler is certified in healthcare compliance and business law. She is passionate about compliance and owns Healthcare Compliance Northwest, a health care compliance and legal nursing consulting company. Her enthusiasm for compliance is one of the main reasons she would like to serve on the ACEN Board of Commissioners.

Dr. Osler is honored to be a candidate for a seat on the ACEN Board of Commissioners, and if elected, will serve to the best of her ability.

Nursing Clinician Representative 

Demica Williams, DNP, RN, CNE
Clinical Nurse Educator for IntermediateServices
University Healthcare System
Augusta, Georgia

Dr. Demica Williams, DNP, RN, CNE has dedicated over 20 years to the nursing profession. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) and her Masters of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Adult Acute Clinical Nurse Specialist from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. She most recently completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nursing Administration with an Educator track at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Williams has over 10 years of experience as a nursing professor in associate, practical, and BSN programs, and 5 years of experience as a Department Chair of Nursing for ACEN accredited nursing programs. She has served as a program evaluator for ACEN since 2015 and has participated in evaluation review panels for ACEN. Dr. Williams has experience with grant writing; specifically, to assist nurse educators. In 2016 she received a grant for faculty to attend a CNE review course on campus, which resulted in over 90% of her full-time faculty becoming certified nurse educators. Dr. Williams also became a certified nurse educator due to this endeavor and has contributed as a published author to CNE exam preparation review materials.

Dr. Williams transitioned from academia to the full-time nursing practice environment in 2017 to work as a Clinical Nurse Educator for the Intermediate Care service line at University Hospital in Augusta, GA, which holds a Magnet Hospital designation. During her tenure with University Hospital, she has been able to participate in PTAP accreditation as a facilitator for nurses enrolled in the Nurse Residency Program. She spearheaded opening and educating a Discharge Center to assist with patient flow in 2019. She went on to publish an article in Nursing Matters, the hospital newsletter about the logistics of the new center. She has also collaborated with nursing administration to develop programs that focus on the retention of new graduate nurses and nursing support staff.

She has been able to maintain a professional relationship with ACEN as a program evaluator representing nursing practice and as a member of the Evaluation Review Panel. She continues to work as a clinical nurse educator in the acute care setting while managing responsibilities as nursing faculty at ECPI University in Columbia, SC. Her professional memberships include the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), the Georgia Nurses Association (GNA), the South Carolina Nurses Association (SCNA), and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Public Member Representative

Robert Sintich, EdD, MS
Hancock, New York


Dr. Sintich has more than 40 years of higher education administrative experience holding various administrative positions at several community colleges including Union, Morris and Warren. More recently, at Warren County Community College, Dr. Sintich served as Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Curriculum, Dean of Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Officer and Provost. Following his years of college administration, he became Chairman of the Departments of English, Math, History, Psychology, Science and Sociology while teaching as a full-time Professor of History and Social Science.

At Warren County Community College, Dr. Sintich initiated and helped develop several programs to enhance enrollment goals such as nursing, automotive, food and beverage and a unique offering for veterans known as V.I.P.E.R (Veterans In Pursuit of Educational Readiness). The Viper program recognizes the skill and training that veterans receive in their MOS (military occupational specialty) and other military preparedness and translates these learning experiences into the form of equivalent college credit.

Dr. Sintich obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton, as well as a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. His doctoral degree was awarded by Rutgers University upon completion of his doctoral thesis which centered on the study of the community college system in the State of New Jersey. He has participated and directed staff in the participation and presentation of many accreditation reports submitted for Diploma and Associate Degree nursing programs. As Provost at Warren County Community College, Washington, New Jersey, he spearheaded launching the nursing program that continues to date, which was the first new nursing associate degree program put forward in New Jersey in 20 years.

Dr. Sintich recognizes that time is a precious commodity. He cannot imagine any other profession that he feels more privileged to serve as a Public Member then that of the ACEN Board of Commissioners.