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Leadership Development Programs

Three photos of individuals participating in AACN Leadership Development programs.

Leadership development has been a cornerstone of AACN’s programs and services since the association’s inception nearly 50 years ago. 

AACN LEADS Logo with text transforming academic nursing leadership

To ensure that all AACN members have access to enrichment experiences tailored to their needs, AACN has launched AACN LEADS.  

Designed to provide a variety of learning opportunities to all individuals along the leadership continuum, from novice faculty to seasoned administrator, AACN LEADS introduces a portfolio of programs for new, early career, and experienced deans, associate deans, program directors, and faculty. AACN uses the acronym LEADS to intentionally match specific levels of programming with the audiences served: 

Cover of brochure for leadership development     LEADS Acronym logo spelled out - L is Leveraging Your Potential: For Faculty, E is for Elevating Your Influence: For Aspiring Deans and Faculty in Leadership Roles, A is for Advancing Your Impact: For New Deans, D is for Determining the Future: For Early Career Deans, and S is for Seizing Opportunity: For Experienced Deans

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Though several existing programs are being reconceptualized to meet contemporary leadership development needs – including the Executive Development Series and the Summer Seminar – there are several new programs currently taking shape under the banner of AACN LEADS.


If you have questions about any of AACN's leadership programs, please contact Cynthia Leaver, AACN Director of Academic Nursing Development at

Programs Under AACN LEADS


Designed for aspiring deans and faculty in leadership roles. This 12-month program kicks off with a week-long residency program tailored to meet the development needs of those wishing to advance to the next level of organizational leadership. 

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Now Available for Purchase!

AACN is producing educational modules focused on leadership development, which can be accessed on demand.  Each module will spotlight insights and lessons learned from former AACN Board Chairs.

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Geared toward new and transitioning deans, Advancing Academic Leadership for New Deans, provides an intensive 13-month experience led by the Center for Creative Leadership. 

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MentorLINK is an 8-month program that brings experienced deans together with deans looking for advice on how to overcome challenges and maximize impact.

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The AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program is a world-class enrichment program for seasoned academic nursing leaders. This program addresses issues related to managing and leading change, influencing and galvanizing a diverse set of stakeholders, and building enterprising relationships . 

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Rounds with Leadership

A forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

Headshots of AACN's Board Chair Cynthia McCurren and AACN's President and CEO Deborah Trautman. Image includes signatures.

Read the latest forum

Spotlight ELAN Cohort

38 nursing faculty from across the nation attended the inaugural Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN) program, held on July 28-August 2 in Chaska, Minnesota. 

Image of the 38 individuals who make up the 2019-2020 Cohort of AACN's Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN) Program

View 2019-2020 Cohort Directory