Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2024 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that Jean Giddens, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, dean and professor of nursing at the Virginia Commonwealth University, has been appointed Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. Dr. Giddens officially began her two-year term as Board Chair at noon today following AACN’s Spring 2024 Business Meeting in Washington, DC.

“As practice, research, and education become increasingly complex, leaders across the health professions must work together toward the common goal of improving health and health care,” said Dr. Giddens. “As Board Chair, I am committed to advancing AACN’s role in this critical work by preparing more practice-ready nurses and leading with a deep appreciation for the power of collaboration, inclusion, and innovation.”

Dr. Jean Giddens is an internationally known nurse scholar and academic leader who has helped shape the future of nursing education and practice. Since 2013, she has served as dean and professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing and will begin her tenure as dean of the University of Kansas School of Nursing on April 15, 2024. Her distinguished career in nurse education encompasses leadership roles at the University of New Mexico, Mesa State College, University of Texas-El Paso, and Eastern New Mexico University. Her extensive track record of scholarship includes numerous publications, peer-reviewed articles, and presentations on conceptual learning, innovative teaching, academic progression, and academic leadership.

An active leader and advocate for nursing, Dr. Giddens has served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles to advance the profession. She has served as Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Virginia Association of Colleges of Nursing and on the Leadership Advisory Board for the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium. She currently sits on the editorial boards of Nurse Educator and the Journal of Nursing Education. She previously served on the editorial board of AACN’s Journal of Professional Nursing, including as guest editor for a special issue on Leading in Academic Nursing.

For more than 15 years, Dr. Giddens has been a highly engaged member of AACN who has contributed to a number of leading initiatives, including the development of the latest competency expectations for nursing program graduates and the transition to competency-based nursing education. She has served as Board Chair-Elect and Board Member at Large; as a member of the Finance, Program, and Nominating Committees; and as a Chair and member of several Conference Subcommittees. She was invited to serve on AACN’s Vision for Nursing Education Task Force, which developed a white paper detailing overarching goals for academic nursing and preferred educational pathways. Dr. Giddens co-chaired AACN’s Essentials Task Force, which developed The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education. This landmark document outlines a bold, forward-thinking roadmap for nursing education, which has sparked a new era of innovation, including competency-based approaches to teaching, new ways to assess learning, and closer engagement with practice partners. Dr. Giddens has worked to advance the competency expectations for professional nursing program graduates as the Board Liaison to the Essentials Implementation Steering Committee.

“As Board Chair, I will work closely with all members of the academic nursing community to champion AACN’s mission to serve as the catalyst for excellence and innovation in nursing education, research, and practice,” added Dr. Giddens. “Together we will move the association forward as a driving force for meaningful change in health care and higher education.”

Joining Dr. Giddens on the AACN Board of Directors are these fellow members: Chair-Elect Julie Sanford from The University of Alabama; Treasurer Judith Karshmer from Arizona State University; Secretary Victoria Niederhauser from the University of Tennessee Knoxville; Stephen Cavanagh from the University of California-Davis; Rhoberta Haley from Pacific Lutheran University; Kimberly Hunter from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; Deborah Jones from University of Texas Medical Branch; Robin Newhouse from Indiana University; Demetrius Porche from Louisiana State University Health Science Center; Julie Swann from Emory Saint Joseph Hospital; Rita Trofino from Saint Francis University; and Lin Zhan from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition, AACN’s President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Trautman serves as an ex-officio member of the AACN Board.

To read more about AACN’s 2024 election results, click here.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the voice for academic nursing representing more than 875 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice. Learn more at


# # #