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New Dean Resources

Becoming a dean is a rewarding yet challenging career transition that may leave you struggling to prioritize new responsibilities and navigate difficult decision-making. AACN is here to help guide you through the process by providing practical resources and tools for those new to leading an academic nursing enterprise.

If you have questions or need additional information, contact Erin Bolinger, AACN’s Membership Assistant,
at for assistance.

AACN Webinars
AACN members have access to over 150 archived webinars free of charge. A sampling of topics is listed below. AACN is an accredited provider of continuing education units by ANCC. 

  • Academic-Practice Partnerships
  • CCNE Accreditation
  • Executive Leadership Development in Nursing Academia
  • Government Affairs and Advocacy
  • Incivility
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Quality and Safety Education in Nursing
  • Sustainability in Nursing Education

View Webinars

The Essential Series

AACN is the driving force for innovation and excellence in academic nursing.  The Essentials Series delineates the national consensus by providing the elements and framework for building nursing curricula. To facilitate access to the Essentials documents, the AACN Board of Directors voted to have these documents posted on the Web for nurse faculty worldwide to download. The Essentials outline the necessary curriculum content and expected competencies of graduates from baccalaureate, master’s, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, as well as the clinical support needed for the full spectrum of academic nursing.

View AACN Essentials

Orientation for New Deans

During the Academic Nursing Leadership Conference (Fall Semiannual Meeting) and AACN Deans Annual Meeting (Formerly known as the Spring Annual Meeting) there is an Orientation for New Deans and New Members and we encourage those new to their role to attend this very informative session where an overview will be provided regarding membership benefits and opportunities to engage with AACN. On Tuesday morning of the meetings, the chair of the New Dean Mentoring Program will facilitate a breakfast discussion on Nursing Deans Who are New to their Role.


New Dean Mentoring Program

Get expert advice from an experienced dean during this year-long mentorship program. 

AACN's New Dean Mentoring Program matches an experienced AACN-member dean with a member who is new to the dean's role for a yearlong period of mutual development. New deans determine the areas of concern to them and establish the method and frequency of communication with their mentors. Mentors counsel and advise their new dean colleagues on the role of the dean and familiarize them with AACN member services and activities, in addition to accomplishing the mutually-established goals.

Sign up by visiting your  Member Dashboard and select Volunteer and Engagement Opportunities. Matches typically are made within two weeks.

Sign Up for the Mentor Program


Books on Leadership

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Other’s Don’t 
by Simon Sinek, 2017

Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions 
by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber, 2016

On Managing People 
by The Harvard Business Review, 2011

The Leadership Challenge 
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, 2017

The Essential Academic Dean or Provost 
by Jeffrey L. Buller, 2015

Reframing Organizations 
by Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, 2013

by Joseph Aoun, 2017

The Ideal Team Player 
by Patrick Lencioni, 2016

Reframing Academic Leadership 
by Lee G. Bolman and Joan V. Gallos, 2011

Team of Teams 
by General Stanley McChrystal, 2015

Boundary Spanning Leadership 
by Chris Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason, 2010


Leadership Development for New Deans
Dean 101 Series

An effective series originally developed in September 2011 remains available in a series of six powerpoints that you can review at your own pace. New tools are on their way, check back Summer 2018. 

Spring Executive Development Series (EDS)

Designed for academic leaders who want to polish their executive-level skills. Explore mutual challenges and share winning solutions in a collegial, interactive environment.

Fall Executive Leadership Development Series

AACN's Executive Development Series increases the knowledge and skills needed for successful leadership in a school of nursing at a time of complex and accelerating change in health care and higher education.

AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program

This program is open to deans/directors and associate deans/directors from AACN member schools who currently serve as the chief or associate chief nursing academic officer. Registration is limited to 40 participants via this competitive application process. Applications from members aspiring to the above roles or currently in other key leadership positions will be considered as space allows.

Leadership for Academic Nursing Program (LANP)

AACN sponsors an executive leadership fellowship tailored specifically for aspiring and new deans. Designed to prepare a more diverse pool of leaders for nursing programs, this professional development experience encompasses an assessment and evaluation of leadership skills, opportunities for strategic networking and case study development, consultation to achieve long-term goals, and identification of key partnerships.

View all AACN Conferences