Professional Development

Member  learning and leadership development have been the cornerstone of AACN’s programs and services since the association’s inception more than 50 years ago.

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AACN Deans Annual Meeting
As a unique platform for engagement with chief academic nursing officers, this meeting provides deans/directors of AACN member schools of nursing with the opportunity to hear the latest data, innovations, and strategies on issues of interest in the policy, leadership, higher education and workforce arenas. With dedicated time to network and collaborate, the Deans Annual Meeting re-energizes participants and helps them prepare and be responsive to an evolving higher education environment.

Pre-Conference Event:
Executive Development Series for Deans
This program is open to AACN member deans and directors prior to the Deans Annual Meeting. Whether it is providing approaches to building key connections, mastering a variety of communication techniques, or facilitating the advancement of those that report to you, participants consistently report that the presentations provide recommendations and strategies that are relevant, timely, and transferable. 

Academic Nursing Leadership Conference
This gathering of AACN member deans/directors and their associate/assistant deans brings together senior academic leaders and noted thought leaders to advance the priorities of academic nursing.  National experts are invited to this professional, leading industry meeting to present macro trends facing higher education. Concurrent Sessions drill down to application level content.  Participants are also offered dedicated networking time with peers, synchronized visits to Capitol Hill to advance nursing policy, the opportunity to participate in shaping the business of the association, and time in an expanded exhibitor hall. 

Pre-Conference Event:
Organizational Leadership Network (OLN) Program
The AACN Organizational Leadership Network (OLN) is comprised of nursing academic leaders with broad administrative responsibilities, including associate deans and assistant deans. The OLN fosters professional growth and development, information sharing, communication, and discussion of key issues. Networking within these groups will be facilitated through programs, meetings and electronic communications. Learn more.

Transform is a new conference offering for faculty teaching in baccalaureate or master’s nursing programs. This new event combines AACN’s former Baccalaureate Education and Master’s Education Conferences into a single experience featuring thought leaders who are redefining how professional nurses are educated and how they practice.

Pre-Conference Events:

Faculty Development Conference
If you are new to the faculty role and looking to gain confidence in teaching, or experienced faculty seeking to expand your skillset, you should attend this conference.

Executive Development Series for Faculty
This event is tailored for faculty to explore what it takes to successfully and sustainable pivot as individual, educators, and institutions.

Faculty Leadership Network Luncheon
The Faculty Leadership Network is an AACN Leadership Network for faculty whose primary focus is teaching didactic and clinical courses, and provides opportunities to explore real world issues, pose pedagogical questions, and exchange ideas related to teaching and curriculum in professional nursing education.

Doctoral Education Conference
Deans, directors and faculty that teach in doctoral programs, as well as those who have the research agenda as a primary responsibility, convene annually at this popular conference. National trends in doctoral education, strategies to increase enrollment, and ways to increase or maintain rigor in doctoral education are hallmarks of this gathering. With content addressing both the practice and the research doctorate, and the willingness to debate the controversial issues that surround doctoral education, this conference provides ample opportunity for development of teaching, research, and administrative roles. Pedagogical research, scholarship in both PhD and DNP programs, practice initiatives, creative academic practice partnerships, and program development abstracts are sought for both poster and podium presentations. 

Pre-Conference Events

PhD Pre-Conference
The PhD Pre-Conference is designed for deans/directors/chairs and/or associate deans  who offer research-focused doctoral nursing programs or for those planning a new program. Issues germane to PhD education and the challenges commonly encountered are presented by leaders in doctoral education. The preconference immediately precedes the Doctoral Education Conference, allowing educators to attend both events.

Faculty Practice Pre-Conference 
The Faculty Practice Pre-Conference is designed for those who promote, administer, and engage in faculty practice. More emphasis is being placed on the need for practice savvy educators who can translate current health care environment scenarios to the classroom at every level. Strong Academic-Practice Partnerships are instrumental in providing support for engaged faculty practice.  The pre-conference immediately precedes the Doctoral Education Conference, allowing educators to attend both events.

Research Leadership Network (RLN) Program
The AACN Research Leadership Network will foster professional growth and development, information sharing, communication, and discussion of key issues. Networking within these groups will be facilitated through programs, meetings and electronic communications. Learn more.

Clinical Nurse Leader Summit
The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Summit brings together educators, practitioners, and leaders in the practice arena to discuss the latest trends in higher education and practice impacting CNLs. Unique among conferences within AACN because of the collaboration between educators and practitioners, you will have the  opportunity to hear educational strategies, regulatory mechanisms, and the impact of CNL practice on patient outcomes. Tied to the CNL Research Symposium, this conference is a one of a kind in the nation. It is offered in conjunction with the Master’s Education Conference. 

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Leadership Development Programs

Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN)
ELAN is an evolution of the LANP program.
This leadership program for upper level faculty who have experience in academic administration roles and chief academic officers new to the role, includes a week-long intensive seminar that allows for a select group of fellows to become immersed in a unique leadership experience. With a focus on 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, fellows are well prepared to test new strategies at home. Fellows are chosen in a highly selective process. Consider joining the inaugural cohort of ELAN fellows. Applicants must be nurse educators employed at AACN member institutions, meet the eligibility criteria, and provide evidence of institutional support for this program.  Learn more

Advancing Academic Leadership for New Deans
Geared toward new deans and those in the role for up to 2 years, this program provides an intensive 12-month experience led by the Center for Creative Leadership. This comprehensive program includes four- face-to-face meetings, three of which are tied to AACN meetings, as well as the expectation that participants will develop and implement a leadership project at their home institutions utilizing the principles they are learning. Learn more.

Diversity Leadership Institute
The central focus of the Diversity Leadership Institute is to provide an overview of the evolution of diversity and inclusion and the role of Diversity Officers in academic nursing and nursing practice. It frames diversity within the context of higher education and academic nursing while presenting high-involvement diversity practices in teams and leaders.

Summer Seminar
Our popular summer event provides chief academic nursing administrators, associate deans, and senior faculty with the opportunity to explore leadership development strategies in a setting far away from the pressures of daily academia. Themes and topics change each year, and creatively address the latest information in academic leadership.

AACN-Wharton Executive Development Program
This highly respected leadership development program offers chief academic nursing officers the opportunity to enhance a skill set allowing them to progress to higher levels of leadership, or build leadership capacity to move forward strategically. AACN partnered with the Wharton School within the University of Pennsylvania, to offer this one of a kind program that experientially teaches how to manage and lead change at the enterprise level. The program is dynamic, responsive to current issues in higher education, and will have a lasting impact on attendees. Learn more.

MentorLINK 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. 

Leadership Network Conferences

Nursing Advancement Professionals (NAP) Conference
The annual Nursing Advancement Professionals Conference is a networking and educational opportunity for advancement, development, marketing, and communications professionals; deans and directors; volunteer foundation and alumni board members; and anyone interested in learning more about how nursing schools can build their external relations programs. Learn more.

Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals (GNAP) Conference
Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals is a diverse group comprised of nursing education administrators and faculty responsible for graduate nursing student recruitment, admissions, marketing, and programming. The purpose of the group is to provide an opportunity for those most involved in recruiting graduate nursing students to share their successes, develop new strategies, and to establish a resource network of peers. Learn more.

Business Officers of Nursing Schools (BONUS) Annual Meeting
Business Officers of Nursing Schools is dedicated to facilitating networking among those who work in the administration of nursing education and to providing education in areas of business, technology, and financial and administrative management of nursing schools. Assistants to the dean, fiscal managers, business officers and any personnel involved in the operational management of a school of nursing will benefit from attending this conference. Learn more.

Online Learning Center: Webinars, Conference Recordings, and Modules

AACN provides an array of webinars exclusively for nurse educators teaching in baccalaureate and higher degree programs. All webinars offer continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. You can take advantage of the Webinars live, or in an archived format when convenient for you. Continuing Education Credit is available for up to three years following the live presentation of the webinar.  

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Conference Recordings

Take advantage of livestreams, audio, and video recordings from select conferences! The offerings are a great opportunity to tune in for those unable to attend the conference and a chance for participants to virtually relive their favorite sessions by noted thought leaders and experts. 

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Learning Modules

AACN offers learning module series as a free faculty development resource for nurse educators teaching in undergraduate and graduate programs. 

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