Experienced Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy

Lead Faculty

Carol Huston, MSN, DPA, FAAN

Dr. Huston has been a professor of nursing at California State University, Chico (CSUC) since 1982 and assumed the position of Director of the School from 2010-2015. She currently teaches classes on leadership, management, health finance, ethics, and health systems half time as emerita professor. Dr. Huston was named one of seven CSUC Master Teachers in 1999/2001 as well as the 2001/2002 CSUC Outstanding Teacher. She was also named CSUC Outstanding Professor in 2008/2009.

Dr. Huston is the co-author of six leading textbooks on leadership, management, and professional issues in nursing (a total of 20 editions) and has published more than 100 articles in leading professional journals. In addition, Dr. Huston has keynoted/presented at 300 nursing and healthcare conferences worldwide. Dr. Huston is also a successful grant writer and has served as the primary investigator or co-investigator of multiple grants. Dr. Huston has also served on the Enloe Medical Center (Chico, California) board of trustees since 2012 and has served as chairperson of that board since 2016.

In November, 2007, Dr. Huston was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing, an organization that represents nursing's most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice and research. In addition, she served as the 2007-2009 President of Sigma. As President, she was responsible for strategic planning, program implementation, and fiduciary oversight of approximately 130,000 nurses in 470+ chapters, in more than 90 countries. She has served as co-chairperson of the 2010 International Year of the Nurse (IYNurse) Initiative (a global partnership effort between Sigma, the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health, and the Nightingale Museum of London). She currently serves as the lead faculty for Sigma's Experienced Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (2014-present) and as the leadership facilitator/coordinator for Sigma's Institute for Global Healthcare Leadership, which launched in Washington, D.C., in 2016.


Academy Faculty

Karen L. Carlson, PhD, RN

Dr. Karen Carlson is professor emeritus from the College of Nursing at The University of New Mexico (UNM). Dr. Carlson holds a doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin (1991). She also holds a post-master’s certificate in budgeting and finance in public administration. Dr. Carlson taught in baccalaureate and higher degree programs in nursing for 26 years in New Mexico and Arkansas. She retired as Interim Dean at the College of Nursing, UNM. Dr. Carlson taught leadership concepts at the graduate level for several years.   

Karen Estridge, DNP, RN

Dr.Karen Estridge received her BSN from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio; her MSN from Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio; and her DNP from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Karen’s career has ranged from critical care bedside nursing to all levels of nursing management and leadership. She’s been a nursing faculty member since 1991 and currently serves as Director of the developing Nursing Program at Heidelberg University, Tiffin, Ohio.  Prior to her recent appointment at Heidelberg, Karen served as assistant professor, college assessment coordinator, and gerontology program director at Ashland University, Ashland, OH. 

Dr. Estridge's career leadership roles have included facilitating teams to create innovative patient care processes; fostering college and university projects; and guiding graduating students to become leaders, at undergraduate and doctoral levels, through coordinated projects and presentations.  She was a 2017 recipient of an Ashland University Faculty Mentor Award.  Karen has been an active member of Sigma since 1986 and held positions of chapter chartering president and subsequent faculty counselor for both the Theta Theta and Rho Nu-at-large chapters.  In addition, she has served on regional judging and conference planning committees as well as Sigma convention committee co-chair roles. 

Her most recent research, " Effectiveness of Interteaching with Senior Baccalaureate Nursing Students"  appears in The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin: International Journal for Professional Educators, (2018), 84-5, 14-25  

Sandra Millon Underwood, PhD, RN, FAAN

Sandra Millon Underwood, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has engaged in a number of funded research projects that have addressed disparities in breast cancer education; breast cancer prevention and control; hereditary cancer risk; breast cancer survivorship; and application of principles of genetics, genomics, personalized medicine, and precision medicine to targeted at-risk populations. Included among the agencies providing funding to support this body of research have been the National Cancer Institute, Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, American Cancer Society, Sigma, UWM Center on Race and Ethnicity, the Wisconsin Department of Health, the UWM Urban Research Center, and the Wisconsin Genomics Institute. These efforts, which have been broadly disseminated in the scientific, clinical and lay literature, have contributed to the understanding of the breast cancer experiences, concerns and needs of diverse groups of medically underserved African-American women; factors associated with the use of breast cancer screening protocols; perceived risks of African-American women relative to engagement in genetics, genomics and bio-banking; and the impact of culturally tailored, community-based programs designed to enhance breast cancer awareness, breast cancer screening, and social support and empowerment of African-American women who reside in inner-city communities.

Dr. Underwood has mentored nursing faculty, clinicians, and scientists in their professional pursuits. In this role, she has spearheaded initiatives that aimed to expand and strengthen the capacity of experienced faculty and budding nurse leaders to address issues specific to eliminating cancer-related disparities among at-risk and vulnerable population groups. While doing so, she has mentored faculty and junior investigators for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Sigma Experienced Nurse Leader Fellows Program; the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing Scholars Program at Loyola University; the Illinois Board of Higher Education: Nurse Education Fellowship Program; and, the Institute of International Education, Brazil Scientific Mobility Program.

Dr. Underwood has directed several research projects including the institution of a regional cancer education program aimed toward addressing cancer-related disparities within the clinical, community, and/or research arena. Approximately 300 nurses, physicians, and researchers were mentored through the course of the program. The mentoring led many of the participants to the successful pursuit of research careers; to the dissemination of scholarly reports addressing cancer-related health disparities; and to appointment and selection to esteemed positions associated with their scholarship and scholarly pursuits.

Theresa M. "Terry" Valiga, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN

Dr. Terry Valiga received her bachelor's degree from Trenton State College and her master of education and doctor of education degrees (both in nursing education) from Teachers College, Columbia University. She currently is professor emerita at the Duke University School of Nursing where she served as director of their Institute for Educational Excellence and division chair until her retirement in August 2017. Prior to her appointment at Duke, Terry served as the chief program officer at the National League for Nursing and held faculty and administrative positions in five universities. 

Terry has received grants to support research related to student learning, cognitive/intellectual development, curriculum design, leadership development, student perspectives of excellent teachers, and student evaluations of courses and teachers. She has published extensively on a variety of leadership and education-related topics and has co-authored four education-focused books and one book on leadership which is now in its fifth edition. In addition, she presents at national and international conferences, serves as a consultant to many schools of nursing, and is actively involved in several professional associations. 

In recognition of her sustained contributions to nursing education and scholarship, Dr. Valiga received Sigma’s Elizabeth Russell Belford Founders Award for Excellence in Nursing Education and the National League for Nursing’s Outstanding Leadership in Nursing Education Award, and she was inducted as a Fellow in the Academy of Nursing Education and the American Academy of Nursing.

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Contact the Center for Excellence in Nursing Education at cene@stti.org

Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the
American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

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