Guide to AACN Conferences

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Baccalaureate Education Conference

The Baccalaureate Education Conference was implemented in 1998 at the recommendation of the AACN Board of Directors and members. This annual conference is devoted to issues of particular interest to baccalaureate nursing educators, such as student demographics, curriculum issues, enrollment trends, teaching approaches, and matters of legality, ethics, and public accountability. The conference welcomes Deans/directors, academic administrators, faculty, graduate students preparing for nursing faculty careers, and others interested in baccalaureate nursing education. Group discussions, poster sessions and abstract presentations encourage participants to clarify issues and share successful approaches.

BONUS Annual Meeting

Business Officers of Nursing Schools (BONUS) is dedicated to facilitating networking among those who work in the administration of nursing education and to providing education in areas of business, technology, and financial and administrative management of nursing schools. Assistants to the dean, fiscal managers, business officers and any personnel involved in the operational management of a school of nursing will benefit from attending this conference.

CNL Summit and Research Symposium

The CNL Summit provides a national forum for all healthcare and academic audiences currently implementing or interested in exploring CNL education and practice. Conference topics generally include the impact and value of the CNL role on improving patient outcomes, implementing and sustaining the CNL role across diverse systems of care, the CNL role in quality and safety initiatives, innovations in education, and the complementary relationship between the CNL and other members of the healthcare team, including nurse managers, APRNs, and physicians. In addition to plenary sessions, concurrent, abstract, and poster presentations allow participants to choose topics of interest in a smaller forum. Special forums for CNL faculty and nursing/healthcare executives also are offered. The Summit features the CNL Research Symposium, a pre-conference workshop hosted by the Commission on Nurse Certification that focuses on the CNL’s role in data collection and evaluation for reporting clinical outcomes.

Doctoral Education Conference

The annual Doctoral Education Conference, concerned exclusively with offering the nursing profession's terminal degree, welcomes deans, associate deans, doctoral program directors, directors of research, and faculty. Sessions address matters specific to doctoral education in nursing, including teaching strategies, program and student characteristics, research requirements/funding, and issues concerning advanced practice nursing. Participants are encouraged to share successful approaches and respond to the unique challenges affecting doctoral programs.

Executive Development Series

AACN's Executive Development Series (EDS) increases the knowledge and skills needed for successful leadership in a school of nursing at a time of complex and accelerating change in health care and higher education. The EDS meetings are designed to ease the transition of faculty into leadership positions. Faculty new or aspiring to administrative positions as well as recently appointed deans will find this conference particularly beneficial. The workshop format encourages discussion among participants as well as application of program content to one's own setting. Topics change each year, and offer insights into responsibilities faced by nursing education administrators in academic and student affairs and management of financial and human resources.

Faculty Development Conference

Begun in 2007, this annual conference is aimed at those new to the faculty role and those who would like to gain more self-confidence in teaching in baccalaureate and higher degree programs.  Program and concurrent sessions address various aspects of the faculty role, creating an active learning environment, clinical teaching and evaluation, and other topics of interest to those who wish to improve their teaching practice.   

Faculty Practice Conference

The Faculty Practice Pre-Conference helps nurse educators and others plan, implement, manage, and evaluate faculty practice in an academic setting or as an academic role. Participants consider issues and trends in the design, implementation, and evaluation of their faculty practice, and they enjoy networking with nursing educators and business experts who share their experiences in this unique environment. The pre-conference format for this group was introduced in 2012, and the same program precedes both the Doctoral and Master’s Education Conferences. This event is in transition from the previous biennial Faculty Practice Conference to a new event to be determined and coordinated by the Practice Leadership Network. 

Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals Conference

Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals is a diverse group comprised of nursing education administrators and faculty responsible for graduate nursing student recruitment, admissions, marketing, and programming. The purpose of the group is to provide an opportunity for those most involved in recruiting graduate nursing students to share their successes, develop new strategies, and to establish a resource network of peers.

Hot Issues Conference

The Hot Issues Conference is held every other year, alternating with the Faculty Practice Conference. Each biennial conference has a new theme reflecting an issue of most concern at the time to deans and faculty of AACN member schools. The inaugural Hot Issues Conference was held in April 2003, and topics to date have included the faculty shortage, the teaching role, and clinical simulation.

Master's Education Conference

The Master's Education Conference examines the role of higher education in preparing nurses for a changing health care and practice environment. Sessions focus on issues and concerns unique to master's education in nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader education and role preparation for other generalist roles at the master’s level. This annual conference is designed to meet the needs of deans/directors, academic administrators, and faculty in nursing master's programs, and includes strategies and techniques to improve teaching skills for faculty in all master’s education programs; assisting master's students to assume various roles in the health care system; and responding to the issues that directly affect nursing practice at this level. Multiple opportunities exist for participants to discuss mutual concerns, offer successful strategies, and share successes via discussions, posters and abstract presentations. Join AACN for the 2014 Master’s Education Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Nursing Advancement Professionals Conference

The Nursing Advancement Professionals (NAP) group is for advancement professionals with responsibilities and interests in the area of nursing philanthropy, public relations, marketing, alumni relations, and institutional advancement. This group meets annually in the Spring.

Spring Annual and Fall Semiannual Meetings

AACN's semiannual meetings in Washington, D.C. every spring and fall provide nursing school deans/directors a forum to discuss critical issues facing nursing programs in universities and four-year colleges. Participants share views with other leading administrators and policymakers in timely sessions that examine infrastructure, funding, programming, trends, and concerns of nursing higher education. Semiannual meetings also keep members abreast of pending federal legislation, regulatory matters, and the latest developments at agencies and foundations involved with nursing education and nursing research. One associate dean may register with and accompany each dean to the Fall Semiannual Meetings.

Summer Seminar

This popular annual event allows deans/directors and senior faculty to explore critical concerns in education in a setting away from the pressures of daily administration. Themes and topics change each year, addressing nursing higher education issues and providing executive development for aspiring, new, and experienced deans as well as others in academic leadership positions.


Please contact Catherine Cox, Director of Programs at