Guide to AACN Conferences

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Baccalaureate Education Conference

The annual fall Baccalaureate Education Conference is a forum for faculty, deans, and other academic leaders engaged in undergraduate and pre-licensure nursing education programs to explore issues of mutual interest as well as share ideas and successful strategies. The educational sessions inform, engage, and challenge participants with timely and relevant information and discussions. The poster sessions and abstract presentations describe programs, courses, initiatives, or evaluation strategies that characterize the conference theme, addressing the many changes and challenges in baccalaureate and other professional entry-level programs. The Executive Development Series (EDS) and the Instructional Leadership Network (ILN) Program are offered in conjunction with this conference. 

BONUS Annual Meeting

This annual spring meeting is planned by members of the Business Officers of Nursing Schools (BONUS) Network.  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 meeting.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Summit and Research Symposium

The annual winter 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 opportunities 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 (CNC) that focuses on the CNL’s role in data collection and evaluation for reporting clinical outcomes.

Doctoral Education Conference

The annual winter Doctoral Education Conference brings together deans/directors/chairs, associate deans for research, directors of doctoral programs, and faculty to chart the future of doctoral nursing education. 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. The poster sessions and abstract presentations describe programs, courses, initiatives, or evaluation strategies that characterize the conference theme, addressing the many changes and challenges in doctoral programs. This conference is held concurrently with the Faculty Practice Pre-Conference and the Research Leadership Network (RLN) Meeting.

Executive Development Series

The popular Executive Development Series (EDS) is offered every fall and spring and is designed for aspiring and experienced academic leaders who want to polish their executive-level skills. 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. EDS is 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 the management of financial and human resources. Effective May 2014, the Fall EDS is open to aspiring and experienced academic leaders but the Spring EDS will be open to the primary dean/director/chair of schools of nursing.

Faculty Development Conference

The annual winter Faculty Development Conference was implemented in 2007 and 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. The poster sessions describe programs, courses, initiatives, or evaluation strategies that characterize the conference theme: Success Strategies for New Faculty.

Faculty Practice Conference

The annual winter Faculty Practice Pre-Conference is designed for those who promote, administer, and engage in faculty practice. It 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 nurse educators and business experts who share their experiences in this unique environment. This pre-conference precedes the Doctoral Education Conference and is coordinated by the Practice Leadership Network (PLN).

Fall Semiannual Meeting

The Fall Semiannual Meeting brings AACN members together with noted thought leaders to discuss key funding, organizational, and legislative challenges and opportunities impacting nursing education. Each member school Dean/Director/Chair is invited to bring one or more Associate/Assistant Deans/Directors to the Fall Semiannual Meeting as a way to familiarize these senior academic leaders with content and issues they will find useful as they assist their deans and improve education in their settings. A reduced rate is offered for these representatives. All meeting sessions are open to Associate/Assistant Deans/Directors, who are particularly encouraged to register for the Organizational Leadership Network (OLN) Meeting, and attend the free new-member orientation session late Saturday afternoon. DEANS MUST BE REGISTERED IN ORDER FOR THEIR ASSOCIATE/ASSISTANT DEAN(S) TO ATTEND.

Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals Conference

This annual spring conference is planned by members of the Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals (GNAP) Network, which 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 establish a resource network of peers.

Hot Issues Conference

The Hot Issues Conference is offered every other spring and focuses on a theme reflecting an issue of most concern at the time to deans and faculty of AACN member schools. The poster sessions and abstract presentations describe initiatives and strategies that characterize the conference theme. The inaugural Hot Issues Conference was held in April 2003, and themes to date have included the faculty shortage, the teaching role, clinical simulation, technology, and online learning.

Leadership for Academic Nursing Program (LANP)

Every summer AACN sponsors an executive leadership fellowship program tailored specifically for aspiring and new deans. Designed to prepare a more diverse, younger pool of leaders for nursing programs, this professional development experience encompasses an assessment and evaluation of leadership skills, opportunities for strategic networking and case study development, consultation to achieve long-term goals, and identification of key partnerships. LANP is competitive, resulting in a select group of leadership fellows. Applicants must be nurse educators employed at AACN member institutions, meet the eligibility criteria, and provide evidence of institutional support for this program. Click here to learn about the application process for LANP.

Master's Education Conference

The annual winter Master’s Education Conference brings together deans/directors/chairs, academic administrators, and nursing faculty from master’s programs focused on direct care roles (e.g., Clinical Nurse Leaders and nurse educators) and indirect care roles (e.g., public health nurses, informaticists, clinical research coordinators, and nurse administrators/managers). Multiple opportunities exist for participants to discuss mutual concerns, offer successful strategies, and share successes via discussions, poster sessions, and abstract presentations.

Nursing Advancement Professionals Conference

This annual spring conference is planned by members of the Nursing Advancement Professionals (NAP) group, which are advancement professionals with responsibilities and interests in the area of nursing philanthropy, public relations, marketing, alumni relations, and institutional advancement. 

Spring Annual Meeting

AACN’s Spring Annual Meeting brings chief nursing academic officers together with noted thought leaders to discuss key funding, organizational, and legislative challenges and opportunities impacting nursing education. This meeting is only open to the institutional dean/director/chair of AACN-Member Schools of Nursing. The Spring Annual Meeting and the Executive Development Series (EDS) are held consecutively so that participants can attend both events.

Summer Seminar

This popular annual event allows deans/directors/chairs and senior faculty members 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