American Association of Colleges of Nursing

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American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Logo of American Association of Colleges of Nursing.gif
Logo of AACN
Abbreviation AACN
Formation 1969
Headquarters One Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 530
Washington, D.C., United States
Membership 725 members
President Eileen Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN
CEO Deborah E. Trautman, PhD, RN

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing education. AACN's educational, research, federal advocacy, data collection, publications, and special programs work to establish quality standards for nursing education; assist deans and directors to implement those standards; influence the nursing profession to improve health care; and promote public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice.

Established in 1969, the AACN now represents nursing schools more than 750 universities and four-year colleges in the United States. The program of the AACN is focused on the following goals:

  • To establish quality standards for bachelor's degree and graduate-degree nursing education
  • To assist deans and directors of nursing schools to implement those quality standards
  • To influence the nursing profession to improve health care
  • To promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate education, research, and practice in nursing.


From 121 member institutions in 1969, AACN today represents more than 750 member schools of nursing at public and private universities and senior colleges nationwide. These schools offer a mix of baccalaureate, graduate, and post-graduate programs. The dean or chief nurse administrator serves as the representative to AACN, though the association serves all members of the academic unit. AACN maintains seven Leadership Networks for nursing school faculty and staff involved in instructional development, research, organizational leadership, faculty practice, business operations, graduate student recruitment, and communications/development. Each network hosts an annual meeting for participating members.

AACN programs[edit]

Curriculum Standard: Using a national consensus-based process, AACN has led the development of a series of Essentials documents that outline competency expectations for graduates of baccalaureate, master's, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. Using these documents, schools of nursing are able to ensure they adhere to high standards for their educational programs and meet accreditation guidelines. AACN has published quality indicators for research-focused doctoral programs, a white paper on the Clinical Nurse Leader, and guidelines defining the essential clinical resources for nursing education, research, and faculty practice.

Government Advocacy: In government relations and other advocacy, AACN works to advance public policy on nursing education, research, and practice. AACN is a leader in securing sustained federal support for nursing education and research; in shaping legislative and regulatory policy affecting nursing schools; and in ensuring financial assistance for nursing students.

Accreditation: An autonomous arm of AACN, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate education programs preparing effective nurses. Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, CCNE serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices. CCNE is the nation's leading accrediting agency for baccalaureate and master's level nursing programs, and has recently initiated processes to accredit DNP programs and post-baccalaureate nurse residencies.

Research and Data Services: Each year, AACN surveys all baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs as part of its work to maintain the Institutional Data System, a databank reporting statistics on student enrollments and graduations, faculty salaries and demographics, budgets, institutional resources, and other trends in baccalaureate and graduate nursing education.

Conferences and Webinars: Dean and faculty development is a high priority for AACN, evidenced by the many national meetings, conferences, and Webinars sponsored every year. The semi-annual meetings in Washington, D.C. advance the business of the association and enable deans and directors to collaboratively address issues of concern. Faculty and staff development is accomplished by conferences geared toward educators teaching in baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral nursing programs as well as those engaged in faculty practice. Senior faculty and aspiring deans are served by the Executive Development Series and the Leadership for Academic Nursing Program. AACN offers Webinar series offered for nurse educators teaching in baccalaureate and higher degree programs.

Special Projects: AACN seeks grant-funding to launch initiatives of special interest to nurse educators working in baccalaureate programs. These projects are focused on end-of-life nursing care, quality and safety education for nurses, and cultural competency. AACN is working to advance the integration of the Clinical Nurse Leader(CNL) role into the healthcare delivery system while promoting the benefits of CNL certification. Other projects include advancing the adoption of nurse residency programs, facilitating the transition to the Doctor of Nursing Practice, and the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation.


AACN publishes the bi-monthly Journal of Professional Nursing and Syllabus newsletter, a monthly email advisory AACN News Watch, and other publications for nursing educators, administrators, students, and researchers. AACN collaborates with Peterson's to produce the Peterson's Guide to Nursing Programs, a directory of accredited baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in the U.S. and Canada. As needed, AACN produces position statements, news releases, issue bulletins, white papers, and fact sheets. AACN maintains Web resources, including faculty tool kits, information for prospective nursing students, and news on professional issues, including the nursing shortage and diversity in nursing.

Newsletters and publications[edit]

AACN Syllabus AACN's bimonthly newsletter reports Association activities and developments in nursing higher education. Coverage includes interviews with policymakers, updates on federal legislation and regulatory policy, and discussion forums on issues in nursing education, nursing research, and health care.

AACN News Watch News Watch is an email advisory covering the association’s initiatives, political advocacy, publications, conferences, and collaborations.

AACN Faculty Link Every month, faculty teaching full- or part-time in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) will receive this newsletter about free Webinars on faculty development topics, funding opportunity alerts, enrichment opportunities, announcements about awards and scholarship programs, government advocacy resources, and bulletins on nursing education news.

GNSA Bulletin The Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) Bulletin provides members of the GNSA with information about upcoming Webinars, scholarships, grants, career resources, and other opportunities of interest to nursing students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs.

AACN Policy Beat AACN Policy Beat monthly newsletter is incorporated with AACN's News Watch and provides members and constituents with a more in-depth discussion of current government affairs issues that impact nursing education and research.


AACN is governed by an 11-member Board of Directors, each of whom represents a member institution. The Association has several standing committees, including the Government Affairs, Finance, Nominating, Membership, and Program Committees, and sponsors task forces on professional concerns.

Board of Directors[edit]

  • President: Eileen Breslin, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • President-Elect: Juliann Sebastian, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Treasurer: Margaret Faut Callahan, Marquette University
  • Secretary: Judy Beal, Simmons College


  • Ann Cary, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Harriet Feldman, Pace University
  • Greer Glazer, University of Cincinnati
  • Anita Hufft, Texas Woman's University
  • Cynthia McCurren, Grand Valley State University
  • Patsy Ruchala, University of Nevada, Reno
  • David Vlahov, University of California-San Francisco

Chief Executive Officer: Deborah E. Trautman

External links[edit]