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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 2022 Election Results for Board of Directors and Nominating Committee

Published February 10, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 10, 2022 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce the results of its 2022 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 Jean Giddens (Chair-elect) from Virginia Commonwealth University; Julie Sanford (Secretary) from the University of Mississippi Medical Center; Stephen Cavanagh from the University of California-Davis; Jerry Mansfield from Mount Carmel Health System; Victoria Niederhauser from the University of Tennessee Knoxville; and Ora Strickland from Florida International University. New members of AACN’s Nominating Committee includeWendy Likes from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Sally Maliski from the University of Kansas. 

“On behalf of AACN’s member deans, faculty, and students, I applaud this distinguished group of nurse leaders for their strong commitment to advancing excellence in nursing education, research, and practice,” said AACN Board Chair Susan Bakewell-Sachs, PhD, RN, FAAN. “AACN’s effectiveness is driven by our highly engaged membership, and we are truly grateful for the expertise, insights, and energy that the new and returning Board members bring to our work to lead transformation in academic nursing.”

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 28, 2022. New and re-elected Board members include:

  • Jean GiddensJean Giddens, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Nursing, was elected to serve a two-year term as Chair-Elect (she will serve as Board Chair from 2024-2026). Prior to her appointment at VCU in 2013, Dr. Giddens held several leadership positions at the University of New Mexico School of Nursing, including executive dean from 2010-2013, as well as teaching roles at Mesa State College, University of Texas-El Paso, and Eastern New Mexico University. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Nurse Educator and the Journal of Nursing Education and has served as a guest editor for the Journal of Professional Nursing. For AACN, Dr. Giddens has served on the Board of Directors (2019-present), the Vision for Nursing Education Task Force, the Finance and Nominating Committees, and on the Program Planning Committees for the Master’s Education Conference, Executive Development Series, and Faculty Development Conference. She most recently served as co-chair of the AACN Essentials Task Force, which completed its charge in April 2021 to delineate competency expectations for graduates of baccalaureate, master’s, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. 
  • Julie SanfordJulie Sanford, DNS, RN, FAAN, dean and professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing, was newly elected to serve a two-year term as Board Secretary. Dr. Sanford formerly served as the director of the school of nursing at James Madison University (JMU) from 2011-2019. Prior to arriving at JMU, her career in nursing education included leadership and teaching roles at the University of South Alabama, University of Southern Mississippi, and Spring Hill College. In 2018, she provided U.S. Senate testimony advocating for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development funding. Dr. Sanford previously served as chair of the International Network of Universities’ Nursing Leadership Collaborative. For AACN, she has served on the Board of Directors (2019-2021) as well as on the Nominating and Government Affairs Committees, as chair of the Baccalaureate Education Conference Planning Committee, as a state grassroots liaison, as a CCNE team leader, as a member of the CCNE Report Review Committee, and as a mentor in the New Dean Mentoring program. She is a graduate of the AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program. 
  • Stephen CavanaghStephen Cavanagh, PhD, MPA, RN, FACHE, FAAN, dean and professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California-Davis, was newly elected to serve a two-year term on the Board of Directors. He previously served as dean and professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing and in a variety of leadership roles at Wayne State University in Detroit, including CEO and board chair for the school’s Nursing Practice Corporation, associate dean, and assistant dean. Earlier in his career he worked as professor and department head for several schools in England, including the Birmingham and Solihull College of Nursing and Midwifery, Nene College, University of Wolverhampton, and North East Surrey College of Technology. Dr. Cavanagh has contributed to AACN as an active member of both the Finance and Nominating Committees. In the practice arena, he currently serves on the Clinical Leadership Team for the University of California-Davis Health System. 

  • Jerry MansfieldJerry Mansfield, PhD, MS, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer of the Ohio Region for Mount Carmel Health System/Trinity Health, was elected as a Practice Representative to the Board of Directors. He also serves as associate dean for leadership and clinical practice at Mount Carmel College of Nursing.  Previously, Dr. Mansfield served as the executive chief nursing officer and chief patient experience officer for Medical University of South Carolina Health. He currently serves as co-chair, Nurse Executive Council of the Beryl Institute. A Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow (2005), he has served as an advisor to several RWJF programs, including the Bridging Health and Health Care Advisory Group and the Future of Nursing Scholars Program. For AACN, Dr. Mansfield served on the Board of Directors (2020-2021) and on both the Essentials Task Force and the Research-Focused Doctoral Program Pathways to Excellence Task Force. He currently co-chairs the Essentials Implementation Steering Committee. 

  • Victoria NiederhauserVictoria Niederhauser, DrPH, RN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN, dean and professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Nursing, was re-elected to a two-year term on the Board of Directors. Prior to assuming her current position in 2011, she held various leadership roles at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene and held academic appointments at George Mason University and George Washington University. Dr. Niederhauser has published the book Core Review for Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioners and has authored over 60 articles and book chapters on child health and educational issues. She has received funding for nursing research and training grants totaling over $15 million. Dr. Niederhauser is a board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner, a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. Active in AACN, she has served on the Board of Directors; the Program, Audit, and Nominating Committees; as a new dean mentor; and leader of the US News & World Report rankings advisory group. 
  • Ora StricklandOra Strickland, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and professor at Florida International University’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, was newly elected to serve a two-year term on the Board of Directors. She previously served as a Distinguished Professor at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, where she was the first to hold the Independence Foundation Endowed Research Chair. The founder and former chief editor of the Journal of Nursing Management, Dr. Strickland is a member of the Board of Directors for the Miami Jewish Health System. She is a founding member of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Nursing Consortium of South Florida and on the Hot Issues Conference Planning Committee for AACN. A distinguished scholar, Dr. Strickland was awarded 10 first place American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards for various nursing research and measurement books. She was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau’s International Research Hall of Fame in 2017.

Continuing members of the AACN Board of Directors include Chair-Elect Cynthia McCurren from University of Michigan-Flint (who will serve as Chair from March 2022-March 2024); Treasurer Lin Zhan from University of California Los Angeles; and Members-at-Large Pier Broadnax from the University of the District of Columbia; Deborah Jones from University of Texas Medical Branch; Susan Mullaney from UnitedHealth Group; and Demetrius Porche from Louisiana State University Health Science Center. AACN President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Trautmanserves as an ex-officio member of the AACN Board.

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

  • Wendy LikesWendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, FAANP, dean and professor at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing, was elected to serve a two-year term on the Nominating Committee. A former chair of the Tennessee Nursing Deans and Directors Group (2017-2019), she currently serves on the St. Francis Health Governing Board, the Assisi Foundation Community Advisory Board, and as co-chair for the Tennessee Doctor of Nursing Practice Statewide Taskforce. For AACN, Dr. Likes has served on the program and planning committees for the Organizational Leadership Network and on the planning committee for AACN’s Executive Development Series. She is an AACN Leadership for Academic Nursing Program Fellow. 

  • Sally MaliskiSally Maliski, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the dean and endowed professor in Oncology Nursing Research at the University of Kansas School of Nursing. An active volunteer leader, she currently serves on the Kansas Health Leadership Alliance, the University of Kansas Health System Authority Board, the Healthy KC Commission, and the University of Kansas Medical Center Advancement Board, among others. She recently ended her term on the Vibrant Community Health Clinics Board. For AACN, Dr. Maliski has served on the Academic Progression Task Force, the Faculty Development Conference Subcommittee, and as an abstract reviewer for a variety of conferences. She was selected as a Fellow of AACN’s Leadership for Academic Nursing Program and the Wharton Executive Leadership Program.

Continuing Nominating Committee members include Jacklyn Barber from Morningside University; Nancy Fahrenwald from Texas A&M University Health Science Center; and Shirleatha Lee from University of South Carolina Upstate. AACN Board Chair Susan Bakewell-Sachs from Oregon Health & Science University will join the Nominating Committee when her term as Chair ends in late March 2022.