Meet AACN's Faculty Scholars

The AACN Board of Directors approved the Faculty Scholars Grant Program in 2019 to spotlight the innovative work being led by nurse educators to redesign teaching and learning at AACN member schools.  Faculty scholars receive a total of $50,000 funding that support two $25,000 faculty scholarship projects. The focus of these scholarly activities reflect current issues in nursing education or practice and support of AACN’s strategic priorities.

For more information on the grant program and future call for applications, click here

2023-2024 Recipients

Read the press release

Michael JonesMichael L. Jones, PhD, MBA/HCM, RN, is a Clinical Associate Professor and the inaugural Associate Dean for Culture, Engagement, and Professional Development at the East Carolina University (ECU) College of Nursing in Greenville, North Carolina. In this role, Dr. Jones is responsible for providing leadership and administrative oversight for researching, developing, implementing, and maintaining a range of successful practices for supporting the ECU College of Nursing’s cultural climate that values and prioritizes cultural awareness and represents populations served by ECU, which includes students, faculty, and staff. Dr. Jones’ research focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of underrepresented populations using community-based participatory and patient-centered research practices and programming. He has served on various state, regional, and national boards and committees including the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Advisory Panel on Clinical Trials, for which he is the immediate past chair. Dr. Jones received the 2013 Mississippi State Medical Association Excellence in Medicine Wellness Promotion Award for his work addressing health disparities. Most recently, he was selected to participate in AACN’s 2024 Diversity Leadership Institute.

Catherine HorvathCatherine Horvath, DNP, CRNA, CNE, CHSE, FAANA, is an Associate Professor and Assistant Program Director in the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Program at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Dr. Horvath has extensive knowledge of nurse anesthesia program administration, teaching pedagogy, and simulation best-practices. She speaks and publishes on wellness topics for anesthesia students and providers. In addition to her education role, she has practiced as a CRNA for the last 31 years. Dr. Horvath completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia, earned a certificate of nurse anesthesia from New England Medical Center in Boston MA, Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from Northeastern University, and Doctor of Nursing Practice from Georgetown. She was an Instructor and Assistant Professor at Georgetown University from 2008-2019, where she served as director of various anesthesia courses and as simulation director. From 2019-2023 Dr. Horvath served as Program Director for the inaugural Johns Hopkins Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthesia Program. In 2023, she returned to Georgetown’s School of Nursing and the DNAP program.


2022-2023 Recipients

Read the press release

Dr. Carol KostovichDevelopment, Implementation, and Evaluation of a DEI Toolkit for Simulation

Carol Kostovich, PhD, RN, CHSE
Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Innovative Educational Strategies and Simulation, Loyola University Chicago 

Dr. Carol Kostovich, is an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Innovative Educational Strategies and Simulation at the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago. In addition to teaching, she oversees nursing simulation and lab activities provided across campuses within the pre-licensure and graduate programs. Dr. Kostovich holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and a post-graduate certificate in Educational Research Methodology. Her research focuses on the development of the phenomenon of nursing presence as an element of patient-centered care as well as designing and evaluating innovative approaches to teaching in the classroom, online, or in the simulation lab. She is a certified healthcare simulation educator. Dr. Kostovich is currently the principal investigator on a HRSA-funded Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention Simulation Education Training Program grant promoting undergraduate telehealth education with a focus on care for rural and underserved populations.

Virtual Reality Simulation to Aid in Competency-based Online Nurse Practitioner Curriculum

Kelly Small Casler, DNP, APRN-CNP, CHSE, and Kate Sustersic Gawlik, DNP, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP
The Ohio State University College of Nursing

Kelly Small CaslerDr. Kelly Small Casler is a Associate Clinical Professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing where she teaches in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. She also teaches in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program and is a doctoral project advisor. Dr. Casler launched her nursing career at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2001) and Master of Science (2006) degrees.  She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (2018) from the University of Kansas School of Nursing where her doctoral work focused on Primary Care of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. She is a certified healthcare simulation educator and holds a certificate of added qualification in evidence-based practice from the Fuld Institute for Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare. 

Kate Sustersic GawlikDr. Kate Sustersic Gawlik serves as an Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing, the Director of Undergraduate Health and Wellness Academic Programming, the Co-Director of the Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness program, and project manager for the Million Hearts® initiatives at The Ohio State University College of Nursing. She is certified as a family nurse practitioner and has extensive clinical experience in a variety of settings with expertise in population health, education of interprofessional healthcare students, wellness, parental burnout, and cardiovascular disease prevention. She has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate nursing courses and is recognized nationally as a cardiovascular prevention expert. Dr. Gawlik was awarded the American Association of Nurse Practitioners State Award for Excellence in 2018. She is co-editor and author of four nursing textbooks.

2021-2022 Recipients

Read the press release.

Laurie-Kennedy-MaloneEnhancing Nurse Practitioner Competency-Based Education and Assessment with Innovative Video Simulations

Laurie Kennedy Malone, PhD
Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro 

Dr. Malone has been a certified gerontological nurse practitioner since 1982 and a professor of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) since 1990. She is a Fellow of the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the Gerontological Society of America. She was the 2007 recipient of the John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing Geriatric Nursing Faculty Champion and the National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners' Excellence in Education Award in 2006. In November 2018, she was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence as a Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence. She coauthored Integrating Gerontological Content into Advanced Practice Nursing Education (Springer, 2010) and Advanced Practice Nursing in the Care of Older Adults, (FA Davis, 2014 and 2019). Both books received AJN Book of the Year Awards. She has authored over 35 peer reviewed publications. A former president of the National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners, she later served as a Director at Large of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA). In 2020, Dr. Kennedy-Malone received the Excellence in Leadership Award from GAPNA and, most recently, the Excellence in Creativity & Innovation, Edith Moore Copeland Founders Award from Sigma Theta Tau International. 

Kristen MunyanEnhancing Laboratory Infrastructure to Support At-Risk and ESL Students

Kristen Munyan, DNP, RN
Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director, Oakland University 

Dr. Munyan is an Assistant Professor and the Undergraduate Program Director at Oakland University School of Nursing in Rochester, Michigan. An alumna of Oakland's BSN (2008) and MSN (2010) programs, Dr. Munyan returned to Oakland University as faculty in 2017 after receiving her DNP and family nurse practitioner training from Wayne State University. Her research focus has involved identifying and addressing health disparities in foundational nursing assessments and interventions with specific interest in the utility of technology to address these needs. She is currently a co-PI on a study of the accuracy of nursing assessments of pain and dyspnea via telehealth. In her current role, she hopes to apply this focus on technology and vulnerable populations to enhancing equity in nursing education within the undergraduate program and promoting a diverse nursing workforce. Dr. Munyan instructs courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs at Oakland University and continues to practice in the community setting.

2020-2021 Recipients

Competency-Based Education Innovations

Ann GravesAdvancing Student Evidence-Based Practice Competency

Ann Graves, PhD, RN
Professor, University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing



Nursing Education Innovations Related to Disaster Response (COVID-19)

Beth CulrossImmersive Virtual Reality for COVID-19 Primary Care Nursing

Beth Culross, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC
Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Professor pointing at computer screen with two students

Enhancing Competency-Based Education and Assessment with Video Simulations

Learn More

Instructor demonstrating on an ipad to two healthcare students

Enhanced Lab Infrastructure to Increase Student Support

Learn More