Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Lectureship Award

Diversity is defined as individual attributes that extend beyond race, age, and gender to also include, but are not limited to, characteristics such as national origin, immigrant status, language, color, disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures. Inclusion is defined as a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness as well as leverages diversity so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential. An inclusive environment must be created in order for diversity to flourish. Sustainability occurs when structures and strategies, to manage diversity and institutionalize a culture of inclusion, are in place. For more information on AACN's diversity initiatives, visit www.aacnnursing.org/diversity

This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by schools of nursing that champion diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in nursing education. Annual awards may be made to one school in each of the following categories: Public Colleges/Universities, Private College/Universities, Small Liberal Arts Colleges, and Academic Health Centers. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in nursing education in both of the following areas:

Submit a nomination

The nomination deadline has been extended to  12:00 pm (ET) on December 4, 2020.

Award Criteria

The winner will demonstrate excellence in nursing education in both of the following areas:

I. Creating Change – Influencing change and adapting academic environments, and/or raising awareness of the need to promote diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in nursing education. Nominations must:

  • Clearly articulate the focus of the nomination
  • State the impact of actions taken by school
  • Identify scope of change, i.e., partners, community engagement
  • Address sustainability

2. Influencing Others – Serves as an opinion leader and recognized advocate for diversity, inclusion, and sustainability resulting in significant organizational or community impact.

Below are examples of how the awardee might Influence Others and Create Change.

  • Continually Learning – Develops educational programs, professional development opportunities, and/or awareness events that support this award’s triple aim.
  • Cultivating Diverse Teams – Creates inclusive teams of faculty, staff, students, mentors, and other constituents representing the rich diversity of communities served.
  • Risk Taking – Advances innovative solutions and decisive actions that break new ground in the drive to champion diversity, inclusion, and sustainability.
  • Accountable for Diversity and Inclusion – Sets standards, advances strategies, and/or implements measures to ensure that goals related to diversity and inclusion are met.
  • External Leadership Involvement – Plays a leading role in advancing diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in the nursing profession in addition to local efforts.
Nomination Process

Recipients will be chosen by AACN’s Board of Directors.

Nominations must be made by representatives of AACN member institutions. Self-nominations are accepted. The nomination letter should not exceed five pages in length and be single-spaced, 12-point font, with one-inch margins. All nominations should be electronically submitted via the online application.

1. Letters of nomination must include the following:

  • How the nominee institution has been instrumental in achieving diversity, inclusion, and sustainability in nursing education.
  • How the nominee institution fulfilled the criteria using concrete examples.
  • Description of the diversity-related program, initiative, or project.
  • The impact of the nominee institution’s efforts. Please include numbers of affected individuals; programs or policies implemented; and any other relevant measurements of successful diversity efforts. The evidence can be both quantitative and qualitative.

2. Reference letters: Two external letters of reference, outside the nursing academic unit, must accompany the nomination. Both must address the nominee’s diversity efforts, impact, and sustainability of the contribution that the nominee has made towards advancing diversity and inclusion.

Submission Process

View the online application

All nominations must be received by 12:00 pm (ET) on December 4. 

Presentation of Awards

Each winner will receive a $1,000 award and plaque. The award and lectureship opportunity will be presented yearly at the AACN Deans Annual Meeting.


For more information, contact AACN's Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Vernell DeWitty at (202) 463-6930, ext. 224 or at vdewitty@aacnnursing.org.

Congratulations to the 2020 Award Recipient!

Dr. Mary Koithan, 2019 Diversity Award Winner

Dr. Mary Koithan
Associate Dean of Professional/Community Engagement at University of Arizona

See past award winners >>