College of Health Professions' History

The College of Health Professions (CHP) was established in 1970 to answer the increasing need for trained health care professionals. Many of its programs had previously been part of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS).

Wichita University established a nursing program in 1938 in connection with two area hospitals, Wesley and St. Francis. In addition, courses in pre-medicine, pre-dentistry (1930) and medical technology (1938) were offered. Eventually other courses such as pharmacy and optometry were added to the LAS under the heading Special Programs of Study. In 1976 a course in Gerontology was also added to LAS (in 1988 this program was transferred to the CHP).

In 1970 the CHP had four departments; Dental Hygiene, Inhalation Therapy, Department of Nursing and Medical Technology. Three years later the CHP expanded to include several baccalaureate programs. In addition there were programs in Health Care Administration, Medical Records Administration and Physical Therapy. An associate degree program was also established to include programs in Cytotechnology, Dental Hygiene and Inhalation Therapy (later renamed Respiratory Therapy). Several no credit programs were also begun for the Nurse Clinician, Physician Assistant and Basic Emergency Care Training Program. In 1976 these three programs received a special certificate of accomplishment and the Physician Assistant program received the baccalaureate degree. At this time a Service Department was added with a program in Community Health Education (renamed Health Administration and Education) and a program in Health Science.

The current departments were organized in 1988. The Advanced Education in General Dentistry program was established in 2011.

Dr. Cramer ReedDr. D. Cramer Reed
Tenure as Dean: 1970-1973

Dr. D. Cramer Reed was born July 24, 1915 in Artesia, New Mexico. He earned his bachelor's degree in biological science from Wichita University in 1937. He served as class president and was a member of the football team. He earned his MD from Washington University in St. Louis and his MS from the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career as an urologist and educator in 1946, and was the first to perform a kidney dialysis in Wichita.


Dr. Carmen NessDr. Carmen Ness
Tenure as Dean: 1973-1975

Dr. Carmen Ness was born March 13, 1928 in Albert City, Iowa. He received his bachelor's degree in 1950 in Physical Education, Biology and Health from Buena Vista College. After graduating from Buena Vista College and serving in the military during the Korean War, he went on to earn his masters in Health and Physical Education in1953 from State University of Iowa and HSD in Health Education in 1957 from Indiana University. He was the first in his family to finish college.


Dr. Sidney RodenbergDr. Sidney Rodenberg
Tenure as Dean: 1976-1986

Dr. Sidney Rodenberg was born April 5, 1926 in St. Louis. He served in the U.S. Army and in the Medical Corps service in the Philippines. Dr. Rodenberg held a bachelor’s degree in zoology, master’s degree in microbiology from Washington University and doctorate degree in botany, all from Washington University in St. Louis. He received an honorary Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971.


Dr. M. Diane RobertsDr. M. Diane Roberts
Tenure as Dean: 1987-1997

Dr. Mary Diane Roberts was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Zoology from Mississippi State University. She then earned a doctorate from the University of Texas School of Public Health.

Dr. Roberts came to WSU as Associate Dean in the CHP and was named interim Dean after the sudden death of her predecessor. The following year she was formally appointed Dean of the College of Health Professions.


Dr. Peter CohenDr. Peter Cohen
Tenure as Dean: 1998-2013

Dr. Cohen received his bachelors in Psychology from the University of California Berkeley, masters in Psychology from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Cohen is skilled in multiple sectors of education and is passionate about facilitating leadership capacity in others. He has been a college educator for nearly four decades, and his research in the area of faculty evaluation has been internationally recognized.


Dr. Sandra BibbDr. Sandra Bibb
Tenure as Dean: 2014-present

Dr. Sandra Bibb was born in Mobile, Alabama. She served an active duty nurse in the Navy for more than three decades and earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in nursing, all from the University of San Diego.

Prior to joining WSU Dr. Bibb served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Daniel K. Inouye, Graduate School of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland.


Interim Deans

Donald D. Christenson

Steve Gladhart

Bonnie Holiday

Jim Kelley

Dr. W. Lee Smith

Keith Pickus

Photo credit: Wichita State University and Wichita State University Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives