New Dean Resources

Becoming a dean is a rewarding yet challenging career transition that may leave you struggling to prioritize new responsibilities and navigate difficult decision-making. AACN is here to help guide you through the process by providing practical resources and tools for those new to leading an academic nursing enterprise.

If you have questions or need additional information, contact Beth Aronson, AACN's Membership Director at

New Dean Dialogue and Orientation

During the Academic Nursing Leadership Conference and AACN Deans Annual Meeting there is an Orientation for New Deans and New Members and we encourage those new to their role to attend this very informative session where an overview will be provided regarding membership benefits and opportunities to engage with AACN. In addition, AACN schedules a New Dean Dialogue at many of our conferences where new deans have the opportunity to connect with a member of the Board or Membership Committee in a small informal setting. 


AACN members have access to over 200 on-demand webinars free of charge. A sampling of topics is listed below. AACN is an accredited provider of continuing education units by ANCC. 

  • Academic-Practice Partnerships
  • CCNE Accreditation
  • COVID-19 Response
  • Executive Leadership Development in Nursing Academia
  • Government Affairs and Advocacy
  • Incivility
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Quality and Safety Education in Nursing
  • Sustainability in Nursing Education

View the Online Learning Center

The Essential Series

AACN is the driving force for innovation and excellence in academic nursing.  The Essentials Series delineates the national consensus by providing the elements and framework for building nursing curricula. To facilitate access to the Essentials documents, the AACN Board of Directors voted to have these documents posted on the Web for nurse faculty worldwide to download. The Essentials outline the necessary curriculum content and expected competencies of graduates from baccalaureate, master’s, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, as well as the clinical support needed for the full spectrum of academic nursing.

View AACN Essentials

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, and 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. Applications are due in the spring; matches with a seasoned mentor are established in the summer; and the mentorship commences in September. 

Learn More

Books on Leadership

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Other’s Don’t 
by Simon Sinek, 2017

Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions 
by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber, 2016

The Leadership Challenge 
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, 2017

The Essential Academic Dean or Provost 
by Jeffrey L. Buller, 2015

Reframing Academic Leadership 
by Lee G. Bolman and Joan V. Gallos, 2011

Leadership Development

Executive Development Series for Deans
Designed for academic leaders who want to polish their executive-level skills. Explore mutual challenges and share winning solutions in a collegial, interactive environment. This program is exclusively for the Chief Academic Nursing Officer (Dean/Director).

Elevating Leaders in Academic Nursing (ELAN)
This competitive, year-long program provides participants with a focused assessment experience, a range of content and case studies related to successful leadership, and the opportunity to establish networks with peers. Developed based on the success with the Leadership for Academic Nursing Program (LANP) this program is designed for aspiring deans and senior faculty in leadership roles.

Advancing Academic Leadership for New Deans
Geared toward new and transitioning deans, 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. 

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. 

View all leadership development opportunities