MentorLINK: A Virtual Mentor Program for Deans

MentorLINK: Connecting for Success


MentorLINK: Connecting for Success is a personalized service that brings experienced deans together with deans looking for wisdom and support to overcome challenges and maximize impact. 

This structured, 8-month experience features: 

  • Guaranteed contact at least once a month
  • Leadership development programming
  • Career-plan development
  • Time for networking with your mentor at national AACN meetings. 

The mentoring relationships developed through this service reflect the principles of commitment, mutual respect, trust, empathy, self-assessment, and advocacy. Registrations are due August; matches with a seasoned mentor are established in September; and the mentorship commences in the Fall. 

Registration Deadline is August 31, 2022.


Overall Program Design: Clear program goals, registration and mentor matching processes, clear outcomes, and evaluation. 

Leadership Curriculum: Sequenced and tailored content programming designed to set and manage expectations, as well as to engage and empower both mentors and mentees.  

Program Management: Seamless administration of mentor matching, participant activity tracking, communications and support, and evaluation with continuous improvement.

Benefits of AACN mentoring relationships:

  • Increased job satisfaction and enhanced role development 
  • Access to leadership training and seasoned deans for support of positive outcomes 
  • Possibility for professional collaborations 
  • Long-term retention in a deanship for those new to the role 
Program Features & Expectations

The program content is divided into three stages: Setting the Stage, Building the Relationship, and Sustaining the Gains. Each stage is delivered via highly engaging live sessions (all of which will be recorded and shared) and a customized content library of practical tips and tools for participants. Setting and working toward individual mentee goals will be a theme throughout the curriculum. This program is part of a partnership with the Nebo company, who specializes in leadership development, facilitation, and coaching.

Participation Expectations 

  • Orientation Session - Mandatory for mentors and mentees
  • Leadership Webinars:
    • Mentees are expected to attend all seven (7) sessions
    • Mentors are invited to attend (optional)
    • Mentees to complete pre-work and/or assignments for each session
    • Sessions will be recorded
      • September 2022    - Making the Most of Mentoring
      • October 2022  - Reactionary to Intentional
      • November 2022  - Being the Chief Resilience Dean of Your Team
      • January 2023 - Building Influence: Connect, then Lead          
      • February 2023 - Leadership Communication to Inspire Results
      • March 2023  - Building Collaborative Teams
      • April 2023 - Leading from Vision
  • One-on-one Mentoring Conversations: Mentors and mentees will have a minimum of seven (7) conversations over the course of the program.
    • Mentees are responsible for setting up these meetings (can be in person, by phone, or by video chat)
    • Conversations suggested to be 45—60 minutes in length
    • All conversations are confidential
  • Changes for Cohort II - Building on our success
    • New webinar topic: "Being the Chief Resilient Dean of Your Team"
    • Additional Networking opportunity with each online session: Content portion of the webinars to remain 60 minutes in duration, plus an additional 15-minutes will be allotted at the end to have further discussion about the material.
    • Delineated content on diversity, equity and inclusion can be part of the curricula 
How to Become a Mentor

If you are interested in committing to be a mentor for this third cohort (commencing September 2022), please complete the registration. The survey will include a few questions regarding your expertise and availability so that we can appropriately match you with a mentee. AACN is looking for mentors with 5 or more years of experience as a dean. Applicants must be deans/directors employed at AACN member institutions

NOTE: There is no registration fee for mentors.

Mentor Registration

Register by August 31, 2022. 

How to Become a Mentee

If you are committed to partnering in a mentored relationship for the 2022-2023 academic year, please complete the online registration form a few spots remain. Registration for this cohort is not open and will close August 31, 2022. We will ask a few questions regarding your goals, expertise, and availability so that we can match you with an appropriate mentor. AACN is accepting registrations from deans looking for wisdom and support to overcome challenges and maximize impact. Payment will be due at the time of your registration, and you will be matched in summer. Applicants must be deans/directors employed at AACN member institutions.

Learn more by watching the informational webinar

Mentee Registration Fee: $549

Mentee Registration

Register by August 31, 2022!

Benefits of Mentoring

For Both the Mentor and Mentee:

  • Enhances relationship skills: Provides the opportunity to practice deep listening skills and to ask curious questions, enhances overall emotional intelligence and leadership capacity
  • Creates co-learners: Provides opportunity to learn from each other -- from handling stressful situations to applying technology (reciprocal mentoring)
  • Increases work-related fulfillment for both mentors and mentees; expands professional networks and new connections with academic nursing leaders 

For the Mentee:

  • Increases knowledge of the job role
  • Provides a sounding board and safe place to get honest feedback and support
  • Increases satisfaction in workplace environment  

For the Mentor:

  • Opportunity to support peer growth and development
  • Access to professional development training (Mentor Orientation and attendance at Leadership programming, as desired)
  • Opportunities for service to the association and the profession
  • Potential scholarly collaborations with outcomes 
Meet Your Potential Mentor



Dr. Jackie Dunbar-Jacob
Dean, School of Nursing
University of Pittsburgh

Areas of Expertise: Budgeting, Development of New Programs, Faculty Recruitment, Negotiating with University or College Leadership, Upcoming Accreditation, Vision and Strategy


Dr. Phil Greiner
Director, School of Nursing 
San Diego State University

Areas of Expertise: Negotiating with University or College Leadership, Shared Governance, Vision and Strategy, Faculty Incivility

                                                  Dr. Carol Kenner
Dean and Professor
The College of New Jersey
Areas of Expertise: Program Development, Distance Learning, Faculty Recruitment, Fundraising/Development, Negotiating with University or College Leadership, Shared Governance

Dr. Janet Krejci
Dean and Professor
Marquette University
Areas of Expertise: Budgeting, Program Development, Distance Learning, Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty Recruitment, Fundraising/Development, Negotiating with University or College Leadership, Vision and Strategy
  Dr. Anna McDaniel
Dean and Professor
University of Florida
Areas of Expertise: Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty Recruitment, Faculty Incivility, Fundraising/Development, Student Recruitment, Vision and Strategy
  Dr. Demetrius Porche
Professor and Dean
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Areas of Expertise: Budgeting, Crisis Management, Program Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty Recruitment, Faculty Incivility, Negotiating with University or College Leadership


Meet the Facilitators

Meet the facilitation team for the third cohort of MentorLINK.

Kim D’Abreu

Leadership Coach, Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner & Facilitator 
Kim D’Abreu is a seasoned executive and thought leader within the education, healthcare, and non-profit sectors. Kim became a coach after she realized how much she enjoys “being a partner in other’s transformations.”  Kim spent many years helping organizations unlock the potential of their diverse talent, and she brings this experience and perspective to her coaching.  Kim particularly enjoys working with leaders in transition and who are grappling with decisions about the direction they’d like to take with their leadership and careers.  Her biggest influence is her grandmother, a woman ahead of her time who created the life she wanted to live.
Learn more.

Lee Ann Wurster-NaefeLee Ann Wurster-Naefe

Leadership Coach & Facilitator
Lee Ann’s philosophy and practice as coach is based on the fundamental belief that people are innately resourceful, resilient and wise. She incorporates somatics into her coaching and focuses on the leader in the context of the organizational system and their life. She partners with the leader to examine who they want to be or are becoming, compares it to how they and other people see them and develops an action plan to bridge this gap and increase their capacity to meet new challenges. She helps the leader develop new insights into their values, skills, thinking and behaviors as the leverage for personal growth/ development and organizational change. She does this with a robust, high-energy style and uses a combination of candor, humor, support and challenge to help the leader take new actions and sustain their learning.
Learn More.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What if I can’t make a mentee leadership webinar? 

All webinars will be recorded and available to participants.  

Is the AACN’s New Deans Mentor Program still available?  

MentorLINK builds on the success of the now retired New Deans Mentoring Program by providing greater support for the mentors and mentees, access to state-of-the-art leadership development materials, and program evaluation. All those currently active in AACN’s New Dean Mentoring Program will complete their mentorship as scheduled. If you would like to continue your mentorship afterwards, you will have the option of moving to the new MentorLINK program. See application deadline. 

How do you match the Mentors and Mentees? 

Mentors generally have five or more years in a deanship and volunteer on an annual basis. Matching is done with consideration of school size and type, geographic area, goals of the mentee, and other demographic factors.

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

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