Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing


The Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN) is a program designed for aspiring deans and senior faculty in leadership roles. This new program provides participants with a focused assessment experience, a range of content and exercises related to successful executive leadership, and the opportunity to establish a peer network that fosters long-term partnerships and collegial support.


The purpose of Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN) is to enhance the executive leadership skills of: 

  • Individuals in administrative and leadership positions who aspire to lead the nursing academic unit.

ELAN is a year-long fellowship and will kick off with an in-person week-long workshop to be held July 28-August 2, 2019 in Chaska, MN. ELAN participants will take advantage of a leadership immersion, which includes peer coaching, team-building, and advanced simulations. After the on-site event, participants will have access to an online community, two 4-hour e-learning workshops, and peer group discussions. Additional services that will support the fellowship may be added to the experience, such as coaching and mentoring, at an additional cost. 


The development of high-level leadership skills in faculty and administrators in schools of nursing is vital to the success of the baccalaureate and graduate nursing enterprise given the complex challenges being faced by these organizations. Individuals in leadership roles at schools of nursing are challenged by an array of complex issues including:

  • Financial constraints faced by higher education 
  • The need to develop effective partnerships with the practice environment to assure the development of training opportunities and appropriately educated professional nurses
  • The need for strategies to recruit diverse student populations to the field 
  • The need to partner with multiple players to meet these challenges
  • Competition for scarce resources at the university level

Moreover, there is growing awareness that the aging of the nursing professoriate is reflected in the demographics of those individuals who are administering academic nursing programs.

Program Features

ELAN features an intensive 6-day workshop, focused assessment activities, facilitation of a mentorship experience, opportunities for follow-up with seminar faculty, and the sharing of ideas and resources among fellows. 

Program Structure

  • Prework: assessment battery, reading, and case studies
  • 6-day in-residence leadership immersion experiences
  • Post work: Virtual workshops 
  • Peer coaching group conference calls
  • Private online community 
  • Program fee: $4,000

The program focuses on key leadership competencies needed in nursing education and healthcare environments. ELAN is devoted to general executive leadership development. Note that fiscal and academic issues, while discussed and used as examples, are not the primary focus.  

Seminar topics include the following: 

Introduction of the Key Vision and Framework for a Strategic Intervention on Leadership:

  • Theories of leadership
  • Relating theory to strategic actions 
  • Evidence for validation 
  • Review and evaluation of the strategic assessment 

From the Broad to the Specific: 

  • Strategic assessment of the individual – possibilities for growth and change 
  • Peer learning and feedback mechanisms 
  • Case studies for change 
  • Creating personal models for strategic growth and change 

Targeted Cultural Change: 

  • Linking the individual’s assessment to the organizational culture 
  • Developing plans for intervention 
  • Establishing long-term networks 
  • Change and conflict 
  • Evaluation and redesign  
Eligibility Requirements

ELAN is competitive, resulting in a select group of leadership fellows. Applicants must be nurse educators employed at AACN member institutions, meet the eligibility criteria, and provide evidence of institutional support for this program. Specific eligibility requirements include:

  • Educational preparation and licensure in nursing 
  • Faculty or administrative appointment in a school of nursing 
  • Progressive experience in academic administrative roles and positions  
  • Professional goals congruent with the aims of the fellowship program 

 Applicants selected to participate in ELAN will be expected to:  

  • Complete all the self-assessment processes prior to the seminar (360 degree review, etc.) 
  • Attend the entire 6-day seminar
  • Participate in group discussions during the fellowship year via AACN’s Online Community - AACN Connect  
  • Commit to developing personal and professional skills to assume the role of chief academic administrator of a school or college of nursing 

Priority is given to individuals seeking leadership development in order to transition into the role of dean/director, or who have the potential for long-term commitment to the role of a chief academic administrator of a nursing program. Additionally, in order to enhance the pipeline of academic leadership, those faculty in formal leadership positions are encouraged to apply. Selected fellows will be expected to attend the entire conference and participate in all educational and evaluation activities.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted online. This application form will be open until March 15, 2019. In preparation for your application, please review the full call for applications and the online application

Upon successful completion of your application, AACN and a panel of reviewers will determine the cohort. Decisions will be made, and applicants contacted April 2019. At that time institutions will receive and invoice for the $4,000 program fee. Upon formation of the cohort pre-work for the summer face-to-face will begin May 2019.

ELAN Fellows

The 2019 cohort will be the inaugural year for the ELAN Fellows.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I attended LANP - should I attend this? 

  • ELAN would repeat much of the content; we do not recommend applying for this program. Please see AACN LEADS for all leadership development opportunities offered by AACN.

How can I apply?

What if my school can’t pay?

  • At this time we want to accept applications that will be funded by their school. If your school is not able to fund your registration for this program ($4,000), and you would like to supplement the cost of this program please contact rmainous@aacnnursing.org

For additional questions, please contact AACN's Associate Director of Online Learning and Engagement Alexa Tehansky at 202-463-6930 ext. 265.

To view details about ELAN's predecessor, LANP, as well as information about the LANP fellows, click here.