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About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



AACN Announces 2018 Election Results

Published February 07, 2018


WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2018 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce the results of its 2018 election to fill seats on the AACN Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. With votes cast by nearly two-thirds of all member deans from the nation's nursing schools with baccalaureate and higher degree programs, those selected to serve as AACN's top leaders include Board members Judy Beal (chair-elect) from Simmons College; Jean Leuner (secretary) from Auburn University Montgomery; Lepaine Sharp-McHenry from Oklahoma Baptist University; Christie Shelton from Jacksonville State University, and Kristen Swanson from Seattle University. New members of AACN's Nominating Committee include Janet Krejci from Marquette University and Lillia Loriz from the University of North Florida. 

"On behalf of AACN's member deans, faculty, and students, I am pleased to welcome these new and returning members to the Board and Nominating Committee who are working to shape the future of nursing education," said AACN Board Chair Juliann Sebastian, PhD, RN, FAAN. "As the national voice for academic nursing, AACN is at the forefront of transforming how nurses are being educated and how patient care is being delivered. We applaud all of our Board and Committee volunteers who are committed to providing the leadership and vision needed to take AACN to new heights."
Those elected to the AACN Board of Directors and Nominating Committee will begin their terms of service following the business meeting at AACN's Deans Annual Meeting on Monday, March 26, 2018. New and re-elected Board members include:

  • Judy BealJudy Beal, DNSc, RN, FNAP, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Simmons College in Boston, was elected as chair-elect for two years and will serve as Board Chair from 2020-2022. Since 1983, Dr. Beal has served in a variety of leadership roles at Simmons College, including professor, director of research, associate dean, interim dean, and dean. In her home state of Massachusetts (MA), she served as vice president of the MA Association of Colleges of Nursing, member of the MA Nursing and Allied Health Initiative Advisory Council for the Department of Higher Education, and co-chair of the MA Nurse of the Future Statewide Initiative. A fellow of the Harvard Institute of Management and Leadership in Education, Dr. Beal is an alumna of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program and was named a fellow of the National Academy of Practice and the American Academy of Nursing. She is also an active volunteer leader with the American Academy of Nursing. Her long-time affiliation with AACN includes service as secretary, board member-at-large, chair of the Nominating Committee, and chair of the AACN/AONE Steering Committee on Academic-Practice Partnerships. 

  • Jean LeunerJean Leuner, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN, dean and Barbara S. Witt Professor at the Auburn University Montgomery College of Nursing and Health Sciences, was elected to serve a two-year term as Board Secretary. Her career as a nurse educator includes service as the dean of the University of Central Florida College of Nursing from 2003-2015 as well as previous academic leadership roles at the Medical University of South Carolina, the MGH Institute of Health Professions, and Saint Anselm College. Currentlya member of AACN's Governance Task Force, Dr. Leuner has been very active in the association, serving as board member-at-large, Program Committee chair, chair of the Faculty Development Working Group, Florida state grassroots liaison, and as a mentor to new deans.  Her leadership roles outside the organization extend to serving as a member of the Winter Park Health Foundation Board of Trustees, member of the Franklin Pierce University Board of Trustees, member of the State of Alabama Association of Colleges of Nursing, former chair of the Florida Association of Colleges of Nursing, and Chapter President for Sigma Theta Tau International.

  • Lepaine SharpeLepaine Sharp-McHenry, DNP, RN, FACONDA, dean of the College of Nursing at Oklahoma Baptist University, was re-elected as an AACN board member-at-large. Prior to her current appointment as dean in 2013, she worked as a nurse educator for 15 years at the University of Arkansas, which included serving in the role of assistant director of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. Her background in nursing regulation and practice includes service as vice president of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, vice president of the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration, founding president of the Arkansas Directors of Nursing Administrators in Long Term Care, and president of the Arkansas Society for Healthcare Educators. She was appointed by Arkansas Governor Mike Bebee to the Governor's Roundtable on Healthcare and by Governor Mike Huckabee to the state's Minority Health Commission. She also served the Long Term Care Facility Advisory Board and the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. For AACN, Dr. Sharp-McHenry has served on the Finance Committee, and as a dean mentor, Oklahoma state grassroots liaison, small schools discussion leader, and a board liaison to the Preferred Vision of the Professoriate Task Force.

  • Christie SheltonChristie Shelton, PhD, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, dean of the School of Health Professions & Wellness at Jacksonville State University, was elected to her first term as AACN board member-at-large. Since 2003, she has served in a number of leadership roles at Jacksonville State University, including dean and associate dean of the College of Nursing, BSN program director, co-principal investigator, and nursing instructor. Her teaching areas of expertise include leadership, medical-surgical nursing, and statistics. Outside the university setting, she has served as treasurer and member of the State of Alabama Association of Colleges of Nursing and member of the Alabama Health Action Coalition. She also serves as a board member for Cleburne County Hospital, The Spectrum Option, and Sanctuary Home. Her work with AACN includes serving as chair of the Faculty Development Planning Committee, member of the Program Committee, and state grassroots liaison for the state of Alabama.  

  • Kristen SwansonKristen Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing at Seattle University, was elected to a two-year term as board member-at-large. Prior to assuming her current position in 2014, Dr. Swanson served as dean of the School of Nursing at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and held a variety of academic leadership roles at the University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania, and The College of New Jersey. A noted scholar, she is well known for her research on pregnancy loss and the Swanson Theory of Caring, which is used internationally as a guide for research, education, and practice. Active within the association, Dr. Swanson has served previously on the AACN board of directors and is currently a member of the Task Force on Defining Scholarship for Academic Nursing. She also served as chair of the Nominating Committee, member of the Doctoral Conference Program Committee, mentor in the New Dean Mentoring Program, and a North Carolina state grassroots liaison.          

Continuing members of the AACN Board of Directors include Chair-Elect Ann Cary from the University of Missouri Kansas City (who will serve as Chair from March 2018-March 2020); Treasurer Teri Murray from Saint Louis University; Susan Bakewell-Sachs from Oregon Health & Science University; Philip Greiner from San Diego State University; Terri E. Weaver from the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Lin Zhan from University of Memphis.

The newly elected members to AACN's Nominating Committee include:

  • Janet KrejciJanet W. Krejci, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, dean and professor at the Marquette University College of Nursing, was elected to a two-year term on the Nominating Committee. Prior to assuming her position at Marquette in 2017, she held top leadership roles at Illinois State University where she was provost and vice president of Academic Affairs (2014-2017) and dean and professor in the College of Nursing (2009-2014). Her contributions to AACN include serving on the Leadership Development Advisory Group, Government Affairs Committee, and chair of the Organizational Leadership Network in addition to representing Illinois as grassroots liaison. Dr. Krejci's contributions to health care extend to serving as chair of the Advocate BroMenn Medical Center Governing Council, member of the Governor-appointed Advisory Board, member of the Illinois Center for Nursing, mentor in the Central Illinois Multicultural Leadership Development Program, member of the Program Planning Committee for the American Council on Education's Fellows Program, and vice president of the Sigma Theta Tau International-Delta Gamma chapter. Dr. Krejci is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow (2008 cohort) and an American Council on Education Fellow (2007 cohort). She was named an Honorary Member of AACN in 2016. 
  • Lillia LorizLillia Loriz, PhD, ARNP, GNP-C, director of the School of Nursing at the University of North Florida (UNF), was elected to a two-year term on the Nominating Committee. Since 2003, she has served as the chief academic nursing officer and professor at UNF. For AACN, Dr. Loriz has served a member of the Faculty Policy Think Tank, member of the Government Affairs and Master's Conference Planning Committee, and as a state grassroots liaison. Her leadership in the community extends to serving on the Southern Regional Education Board, as member and vice chair of the Volunteers in Medicine Board, and on the Memorial Hospital Board. Among her many honors, Dr. Loriz has been recognized with a Jacksonville Health Care Heroes Award, named one of the Great 100 Nurses in Florida by the Florida Nurses Association, named the Distinguished Director of the Year by the Florida Nursing Student Association, and honored with an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

Other Nominating Committee members include Barbara Ihrke from Indiana Wesleyan University and Victoria Niederhauser from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. AACN Board Chair Juliann Sebastian will join the Nominating Committee when her term as chair ends in March.