John Whitcomb, Ph.D., has been appointed director and chief academic nursing officer for the Clemson University School of Nursing. He has served as the School’s interim director since 2022 and transitioned into the permanent director position on May 17.
During his time as interim director, Whitcomb said he focused on providing stable leadership, assessing needs and helping the School continue to move forward during a time of transition. In his role as director, he said he looks forward to building on the School’s successes and finding innovative ways to engage with the community, making purposeful connections with industry partners and enhancing students’ undergraduate and graduate experiences.
“Over the course of my career, I have been privileged to work with practitioners and scholars all over the world,” said Whitcomb. “But nothing compares to the Clemson School of Nursing and its exceptional faculty, staff and students. I am honored to serve the School in this capacity and to work alongside some of the best and brightest in our field.”
Whitcomb said his first action items as director will include incorporating the University’s bold new strategic plan, Clemson Elevate, into the School’s teaching, research and community initiatives; examining opportunities to increase undergraduate enrollment capacity; increasing recruitment of high caliber faculty; and reopening the family nurse practitioner master’s degree program.
According to Leslie Hossfeld, dean of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, Whitcomb’s exceptional leadership over the last year and extensive experience in the field of nursing make him a natural fit for the role of director.
“After a competitive national search, I am delighted Dr. Whitcomb will remain in this College leadership role,” said Hossfeld. “The School of Nursing has thrived under his leadership as interim director, and I know it will continue to excel in research, teaching and service as he steps into the permanent role of director and chief academic nursing officer.”
Whitcomb earned a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in in critical care nursing, nursing administration and health services from Marymount University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Medical University of South Carolina.
He is a 26-year veteran of the United States Navy where he served as a hospital corpsman and Navy nurse before retiring as a commander in 2009. He has served as a specialty advisor to the Surgeon General in critical care nursing and a trauma training officer for the White House Medical Unit.
Whitcomb has been with the University since 2009 and is the first male nurse in the Clemson School of Nursing – and the only male nurse in the state of South Carolina – to hold this position.
The School of Nursing is part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, a 21st-century land-grant college joining together a unique combination of schools and departments: Communication, Nursing, Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health Sciences and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice. These areas have distinctive characteristics and missions – all joined together by a common thread of service to people and communities.
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