2023 Executive Development Series (EDS) for Deans

Leading in the Dynamic Landscape of Academic Nursing

March 24-25, 2023

The Executive Development Series (EDS) is designed for leaders in higher education to gain high-level leadership and management skills. This1.5-day pre-conference session connected to AACN’s Deans Annual Meeting, will surface the challenging issues faced by Deans, then provide space to explore capabilities, and identify themes within their own practice of leadership. Deans will explore “acts of leadership”, emotional intelligence, and how the act of showing up influences relationships and effective leadership.  Practicing navigation of challenging conversations will offer Deans practical tools to capitalize on collaboration through using an intentional model.

This program is developed by the Center of Creative Leadership in collaboration with AACN and the Executive Development Series Subcommittee. The Center for Creative Leadership is recognized as a globally top-ranked innovative leadership development provider based in Greensboro, NC.


Dennis JohnDennis John, PhD, Leadership Solution Provider, Center of Creative Leadership (CCL)

Dennis comes to CCL with 20 years of experience in the higher education and nonprofit sectors, holding a variety of strategic leadership roles in that time. Beginning his professional career as a registrar for a small law school in Southern California, Dennis went on hold senior leadership positions in accreditation and licensing, institutional effectiveness, admissions, and institutional research. In his most recent role as Director of Research for Math for America in New York, Dennis designed and implemented a large-scale research agenda measuring programmatic impacts on educators across all five New York City boroughs. Dennis has also developed and taught graduate leadership courses and is an expert in Systems Thinking and qualitative research methodology.  Read full bio


  • Understand leadership as a collective, social process and how it enhances the practice of leadership in the shared governance environment of higher ed.
  • Develop a greater understanding of one's own interpersonal preferences, others' interpersonal preferences, and consider ways to interact more effectively as a leader.
  • Examine and practice emotional intelligence skills and the skills necessary to lead challenging conversations.

Who Can Attend

The Executive Development Series for Deans is a member-only event exclusive to the Dean/Director of AACN member schools of nursing.

How to Attend

The Executive Development Series for Deans will be offered as an in-person event prior to the Deans Annual Meeting.

Conference Venue

The Fairmont Washington, DC
2401 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Health & Safety

Last updated December 20, 2022

AACN has revised its policies for entry to in-person conferences: verification of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test will no longer be required. It is however recommended that attendees have received the COVID-19 vaccination and take an antigen test before traveling to the event. AACN strives to provide a safe and healthy environment for all meeting participants. By attending an in-person AACN event, all participants must agree to comply with preventative health and safety measures.

The health and safety measures for AACN in-person events are subject to change.

Registration Fees

Executive Development Series (EDS) for Deans
March 24-25, 2023
  StandardEnds Feb. 25 LateStarts Feb. 26
Dean/Director $599 $699

Register for EDS

EDS Program

Friday, March 24, 2023

8:00-9:00 a.m.
Light Continental Breakfast    

9:00-9:45 a.m.
Welcome, Creating Connections, Agenda, and Objectives

9:45-11:00 a.m.
The Dynamic Landscape of Leading in Academic Nursing
In this session, participants will share their thoughts and struggles around leadership practice in an academic institution, especially in academic nursing. Small groups will work together to surface the challenging issues, explore the capabilities leaders need to address those issues, and discuss the obstacles to building those capabilities. The session will end with a gallery walk and a report to set the workshop's context.

11:00-11:15 a.m.

11:15-12:00 p.m.
An Exploration of Self as Dean and as Leader
Drawing on the insights from the previous session, participants will consider their own practice of leadership – when they are at their best and when they are at their worst. Small group discussions will draw out common themes and struggles. The session will close with a discussion focused on “acts of leadership” and how we show up matters because it influences our relationships, and ultimately, the collection of those behaviors influences the culture of our organization.

12:00-1:15 p.m. 
Lunch (on your own)

A Toolkit for Leading with Emotional Intelligence
CCL research demonstrates that leaders’ lack of emotional intelligence is highly correlated to their likelihood of derailing in their careers. In this session, participants will gain a deeper understanding of emotional intelligence as a concept and then explore tools for developing and practicing as an emotionally intelligent leader. We will consider the internal processes that surface in stressful situations and understand how to use cognitive reappraisal to reframe and manage the emotions of such situations.  

2:15-3:00 p.m.
A Toolkit for Leading with Emotional Intelligence (continued)
Continuing the discussion of leading with emotional intelligence, we will learn and practice CCL’s feedback tool to effectively manage both our emotions and the emotions of others in conflictual situations.

3:00-4:00 p.m.
Considering Your Dean’s Leadership Team: Are We Leading Effectively?
Effective teams capitalize on their members' diversity of ideas and input to lead and collaborate creatively. In this session, we will explore CCL’s framework for collaborative leadership, which many have said is particularly well-suited for the shared governance environment of higher education. Participants will explore the framework, then use its associated assessment to understand the effectiveness of their leadership team and the steps they can take together to strengthen their collective leadership. 

6:00 p.m.
Networking Dinners (Optional)
Meet in Hotel Lobby at 5:45 p.m.. Sign up at registration desk.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

8:30-9:00 a.m.
Welcome Back, Reconnecting, and Q&A

9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
Leading Challenging Conversations
Conflict or disagreement often arises when there are unresolved tensions between two or more parties wanting a similar outcome but differing views on achieving that outcome. In a Dean’s world, such tensions manifest daily between students and faculty, faculty and administration, staff and faculty, faculty and faculty, and so on. In this session, participants will learn and practice a practical tool to help recognize those tensions and to capitalize on them to foster collaboration through an intentional conversational model.

Good Morning Coffee and Tea Break

12:00-12:15 p.m.
Closing Remarks





AACN Conference Team
Phone: 202-463-6930
Email: conferences@aacnnursing.org