Leadership Development



Leadership development has been a cornerstone of AACN’s programs and services since the association’s inception nearly 50 years ago. 


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We all encounter pivotal moments in our lives that reshape us, leave a lasting imprint on our futures, and even mold the way we lead. Now, it's time for you to embark on a transformative leadership journey with AACN LEADS.

AACN LEADS is a visionary initiative from AACN that ensures all members have access to customized enrichment experiences. AACN LEADS programs support faculty and administrators at various career stages, offering a wide range of learning opportunities tailored for new, early-career, and experienced deans, associate deans, program directors, and faculty members.

Programs Under AACN LEADS

AACN Dean Mentoring Program

Geared toward new, early career, and transitioning deans, matches made each year between experienced deans and early career deans to provide guidance, insight, and experience informed tips and tactics for leading academic nursing.

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Aspiring Deans & Faculty Program

Designed for aspiring deans and faculty in leadership roles. This 12-month program kicks off with a week-long residency program tailored to meet the development needs of those wishing to advance to the next level of organizational leadership.

Application Opens October 15, 2024

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Advancing Academic Leadership for Deans

Geared toward new and transitioning deans, Advancing Academic Leadership for Deans, provides an intensive 13-month experience led by the Center for Creative Leadership.

Application Opens October 15, 2024

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Senior Academic Leaders Program

The AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program is a world-class enrichment program for seasoned academic nursing leaders. This program addresses issues related to managing and leading change, influencing and galvanizing a diverse set of stakeholders, and building enterprising relationships.

Application Closed

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Leadership Education Modules

This module series offers guidance and practical strategies to navigate real-world challenges and amplify nursing professionals at all levels, including those aspiring to leadership roles. Each module is available on-demand and spotlights insights and lessons learned from recognized academic nursing leaders. Purchase all four modules and take advantage of savings with bulk purchases and institutional bundles available now!

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LEADS Testimonal

Leadership Programs Testimonials

This experience will transform your ability to lead a strong team of individuals to positive outcomes.

Leaning into empowerment of others and being open to other ways of getting to the same goal has been an important leadership development experience for me.

I am already thinking of how to work with our team to provide more clear direction and alignment. It was most helpful to use the assessment tools and formulate methods for my leadership style.

We made phenomenal connections and relationships. The content was amazing and very helpful to me in my leadership role.

The hands-on sharing and exercises that followed review of leadership material was one of the most helpful aspects of the program. I found it very rewarding to apply the learning to current situations and challenges we are facing as new deans.

The individual challenges to dig deeper and engage within self. The conversations brought so much depth and insight. I have no words for the amazing experience!


Photo: 2024 AALD Cohort 5

Featured Resource

Journal of Professional Nursing

Cover of the Journal of Professional Nursing

Official Journal of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

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Read the Latest Rounds with Leadership

AACN Chair Jean Giddens and AACN CEO/President Deborah Trautman

A forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

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Upcoming AACN Conference

Deans Annual Meeting

March 29-31,  2025  |  Washington, DC

Pre-Conference: Executive Development Series (EDS) - March 28-29, 2025

Register Now