Interest in nursing education at the University began as early as 1933, but it was not until the late 1950s and 1960s that a "needs and resources" study was done. Out of this came a more concentrated interest and planning for a baccalaureate nursing program began.

By 1966, Wichita State University was committed to the development of a baccalaureate program in nursing and in June 1967, approval was requested of the Board of Regents. The department operated in University College until 1970, when the College of Health Related Professions was developed.

The School of Nursing baccalaureate program was initially accredited by the National League of Nursing (NLN) in 1973. In 1974-75, planning began for a Master’s level nursing program and was approved by the State Board of Regents in April 1977. In March of 1981, the Master’s program received initial NLN accreditation and the baccalaureate program received continuing accreditation. In 1998 the School of Nursing affiliated Nursing with Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). In May of 2003 both the Undergraduate and Graduate program received full accreditation from CCNE for 10 years.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents on November 15, 2007. Full accreditation for a new program of five years, was received in 2010. The program has two points of entry, post Master’s and post Baccalaureate. The first post Master’s students began classes in January of 2008 and the first post Baccalaureate enrolled students in fall 2008. In the spring of 2012, the School accepted its last class of MSN students seeking Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) options, moving all APRN specialty areas to the DNP. It is expected that all admitted MSN-APRN students will complete their program by 2015.

In June 2012, two new concentrations were approved by Kansas Board of Regents: Nursing Leadership and Administration and Nursing Education, with admissions to the program starting fall 2012.

WSU SON a history of alumni and faculty leaders:

Fellow in American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) one of the most prestigious honors in the field of nursing,”

  • Elaine Steinke, PhD, APRN, CNS-BC ( to be inducted 2012, October)
  • Jan Riordan EdD, APRN-CS, IBCLC, FAAN (emeritus)
  • Diana Guthrie, PhD, APRN, CDE, FAADE, FAAN
  • Debbie Hinnen, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE, FAAN, (alumni)

Fellows of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP): dedicated to the global advancement of NPs and the high-quality health care they deliver.

  • Alicia A. Huckstadt, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP (2012)

Fellow of the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education (ANEF): “individuals who have made enduring and substantial contributions to nursing education as teachers, mentors, scholars, public policy advocates, practice partners and administrators. They provide a visionary leadership and are recognized for their expertise in nursing education.”

  • Voncella McCleary-Jones, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, ANEF (2016)