Coalition for the Common Good Announces Founding Dean of New Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions

Posted Jul 10, 2024

The Coalition for the Common Good is pleased to announce that Diane White, Ph.D., will be the founding dean of the Antioch Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Diane White Headshot 4  1
Diane White, Ph.D.

The school represents an important step forward in the collaborative efforts of the Coalition for the Common Good and will be the future home of Antioch’s graduate Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs, as well as the Master of Science in Athletic Training, all transitioning from Otterbein University. The Master of Science in Allied Health, which already transitioned from Otterbein, is enrolling students now. A new Nurse Anesthetist Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics are currently under development. 

“The new Graduate School is perhaps the single most important early component of the Coalition for the Common Good, as it provides the opportunity for enrollment growth while aligning with the shared mission of Antioch, Otterbein, and the Coalition,” said Chet Haskell, D.P.A., Antioch University provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “White brings the vision, experience, and skills to lead the new school, honoring the quality of Otterbein’s programs while adding a social justice strand to their curriculum and expanding their presence nationwide as they are transitioned to Antioch University.” 

With Otterbein’s graduate programs in the capable hands of Antioch University with strategic plans for growth, Otterbein will focus on what it does best: continue to develop and grow remarkably qualified and skilled undergraduate students who are exceptional young professionals, including those in its Nursing and Health and Sport Sciences programs.  

White said she was drawn to this opportunity by her lifelong belief in access to high-quality healthcare education, her deep commitment to healthcare for all, and the quality of the curriculum. A nurse by training, a lifelong educator, and a practitioner, she is committed to re-imagining healthcare in the United States, transforming it into a system that works for all.  

“I am honored to be the Founding Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions,” White said. “We must prepare graduates to transform healthcare and play a pivotal role in advocating for health equity and access for all humanity. The Coalition for the Common Good demonstrates Antioch’s intentional efforts to provide a structure for learning and action that challenges the status quo to transform healthcare. I am so excited to be part of this.”  

Before joining Antioch, White was most recently the founding dean of the School of Health Science at Georgia Gwinnett College, and her prior experience includes professor, department chair, and dean. She founded a School of Health Sciences based on a culture of care, developed the first total prelicensure conceptual curriculum in Georgia, demonstrated expertise in experiential learning modalities, and engaged in remote and applied learning. She has designed simulation and clinical practice laboratories, led accreditation efforts, developed Health Science degrees, and collaborated with external partners. 

White has a doctorate degree in nursing from Georgia State University and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing as well. Her most recent publications and presentations focus on areas such as emotional intelligence in nursing, creating a culture of care in nursing education, and fostering DEI in the nursing curriculum. 

“The country is in dire need of a different healthcare system,” said White. “We are at a pivotal time in political history where the need for competent, intelligent expert health citizens are needed to advocate for change. Our students will be those that promote democracy and can act.”   

White will apply this vision and experience to the transition of Otterbein’s graduate nursing and health-related programs to Antioch. 

“I look forward to continuing the excellence of existing programs that Otterbein University has exhibited,” said White. “I anticipate progressive growth of these programs and the development of future programs in the Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions at Antioch University. Excellence coupled with leadership in social justice will make our graduates unique, sought after, and known nationally for winning one for humanity.” 

Otterbein Provost and Senior Vice President Wendy Sherman Heckler, Ph.D., sees this as a great opportunity for the Otterbein programs to have a national presence. 

“I was inspired by White’s commitment to the shared mission of Otterbein and Antioch,” Sherman Heckler said. “I’m excited to know that Otterbein’s high-quality graduate curriculum will be in good hands under her capable leadership. Her genuine interest in working collaboratively with our faculty to launch Antioch’s Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions was evident in every conversation.”     

Otterbein faculty have joined Antioch’s Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions in leadership roles, including Regina Prusinski, DNP, founding chair of the Antioch Nursing Department; Deana Batross, DNP, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner director; Allison Smith, PhD, program chair for the Master of Science in Athletic Training; and Nadiya Timperman, chair of the Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Gifty Akomea Key, PhD, has joined Antioch as chair of the Master of Science in Allied Health.   

“This is an important step forward in the realization of the vision of the Coalition for the Common Good,” Haskell said. “By building on the existing excellence of Otterbein’s graduate nursing and health professions programs, we expect to demonstrate programmatic growth through collaboration within a shared vision. White will be a central leader in this initiative.”

Learn more:

Read a profile article on White to learn more about her personal journey toward understanding health inequities and her goals for the new school in fostering graduates who can create positive change in the healthcare system.  

Listen to White on the Seed Field Podcast as she discusses incorporating social justice into the nursing curriculum and the need for healthcare reform in the U.S. White shares her background, her focus on diversity and social justice in healthcare education, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing inequalities.  

About the Coalition for the Common Good

The Coalition for the Common Good is a higher education system of private, independent nonprofit colleges and universities aligned around the shared mission of educating students to advance their careers and preparing learners to further social and racial justice, democracy, and the common good. Through sharing resources and creating flexible learner pathways across programs and schools, the Coalition will reduce costs for students and institutions, expand access to degree and non-degree programs, and educate for jobs and justice. Antioch University and Otterbein University are the founding members. The Coalition, approved by the Higher Learning Commission and the Ohio Department of Higher Education, was announced in August 2023.