silhouettes of profile faces - Diversity Leadership Institute - diversity, equity & inclusion - American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Diversity Leadership Institute Overview

AACN’s Diversity Leadership Institute provides an overview of the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in academic nursing and the role of Diversity Officers in nursing education and practice. Program facilitators frame DEI within the context of higher education and academic nursing while presenting high-involvement strategies and practices that can be deployed at schools of nursing.

Attendees gain new knowledge and experiences designed to stimulate strategic thinking and elevate impact. Program content was designed to increase self-awareness while building skills and capacity to lead change and launch successful DEI-focused initiatives. This program offers the opportunity for participants to develop a diversity plan designed to drive excellence and met local needs. Upon completion, participants will present their projects describing how they will apply their plan within their respective organizations. At the conclusion of this program, a certificate will be awarded.

Time Commitment

Applicants should be prepared to commit significant personal time to the Institute. The five-month program includes the following mandatory time commitments:

  • Five two-day virtual modules with each module lasting 5 hours. These modules will be scheduled for:

    • January 2025
    • February 2025
    • March 2025
    • April 2025
    • May 2025
    • June 2025
  • Approximately two hours of pre-work to be completed before each module.
  • Monthly 2-hour small group fireside chats with mentors. Individual meeting with mentors are available as needed.
  • Developing and presenting a capstone project to address a diversity issue or challenge within their nursing community.

Who Should Attend?

Individuals who are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and interested in:

  • connecting diversity strategic planning with institutional strategic planning
  • expanding the diversity leadership role both internally and externally
  • developing new community connections
  • leveraging diversity leadership councils, faculty senate, and student affairs to create curricular interventions
  • connecting diversity research, assessment, and experience

Key Focus Areas

Increased Awareness

  • An understanding of how class, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, and sexual identity shape the environment in which they live and work, affect each of their personal identities, and impact the lives and opportunities of students and faculty


  • vision of how their role as educational leaders can promote equity for all students, marshaling the resources of learning and teaching, of data driven decision making, and of connections to the community, especially in communities other than their own
  • Courage, commitment, and persistence to act on all of the above, to be transformative change agents, and to develop networks and support structures that sustain them in this work


  • Expand knowledge base to help the organization identify the developmental steps for an organization with a clear vision of equity and social justice, and mobilize for improvement, using, among other skills, an explicit understanding of adult learning and skills in holding difficult conversations and creating a climate for learning about equity and inequity;

Skill Development

  • Personal skills and habits of mind to understand their own cultural identities, their personal triggers, and biases and take the next developmental steps in their identity development and leadership journey;
  • Analytic skills to understand the implications of research and appreciate multiple points of view through active and careful listening, to be willing to confront views that impede/counter equity and diversity while honoring the dignity of those holding them.

Graduates of the Institute will:

  • Compare and contrast conceptual frameworks of group identity;
  • Examine organizational infrastructure within the context of diversity and inclusive excellence;
  • Apply current diversity research when developing and planning for execution of diversity strategies tailored for their own institutions;
  • Implement a real-world diversity and inclusion initiative for respective organizations; and
  • Apply foundational concepts and strategies to the change process.


In order for your application to be considered, AACN must receive your completed application by July 5, 2024 at 8:00 a.m. (ET). All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by July 31, 2024. Please note that spaces are limited and applications will be reviewed as they are received.

Apply Here

View Schedule at a Glance

View Past Cohorts



The cost of tuition for the Diversity Leadership Institute is $2,500.


Please send any questions to Christine Downing at