April 2, 2010 - Kathleen Potempa, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan, was elected to serve a two-year term as president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Dr. Potempa assumed the presidency at AACN’s 2010 Spring Annual Meeting held in Washington, D.C. last week.
“Educating the next generation of professional nurses in sufficient numbers is critical to sustaining the health of the nation and foundational to AACN’s mission,” said Dr. Potempa. “As AACN’s president, I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with academic, practice, and policy leaders to thoughtfully address the challenges confronting nursing education. Together, we can take meaningful steps toward identifying solutions to strengthening the preparation and pipeline of nurses serving as educators, scientists, primary care providers, and front-line clinicians.”
Dr. Potempa has been an educator in baccalaureate and higher degree programs since 1978 and an administrator since 1975. Before her appointment at the University of Michigan, she had been dean of the School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) since 1996 and was promoted to vice president and dean in 2002. Prior to her tenure at OHSU, Dr. Potempa was interim dean and associate dean at the University of Illinois at Chicago and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Nursing and Midwifery. She has been elected several times to the AACN Board of Directors as President-Elect (2008-2010), Secretary (2002-2004), and Member-at-Large (2000-2002). In addition, she has served AACN in a variety of roles, including chair of the Task Force on Distance Technology in Education and as a member of the Task Force on the Hallmarks of Professional Nursing Practice.
Dr. Potempa is a nursing leader who has served on numerous organizational committees, advisory councils, and boards. She was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to an advisory board member of the National Advisory Council for Nurse Education and Practice (2002-2006). During her time on the Council, she was elected to the Executive Committee (2003) and served as chair for two years (2004-2006). She recently was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to the National Council for Nursing Research. Her term commenced February 1, 2009.
In addition to her work on national committees, Dr. Potempa is an accomplished nursing scientist who has been continually funded since 1984. Her research focuses on fatigue, exercise, and cardiovascular fitness, as well as nursing pedagogy. Her expertise as a researcher has led her to serve on national expert panels and committees like the National Institutes of Health panels, which evaluate grant applications and research findings. In recognition of her work, she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Her international contributions to nursing have included numerous keynote addresses at international conferences for nursing and interdisciplinary audiences, including visiting professorships at universities of other countries.
Newly elected members of AACN’s Executive Committee include:
Jane Kirschling, DNS, RN, FAAN, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, assumed the role of AACN President-Elect and will serve as President from 2012-2014. Prior to her current academic appointment, Dr. Kirschling was the dean of University of Southern Maine College of Nursing and Health Professions (1999-2006); the Ruth Miller Brody and Bernard B. Brody Professor and associate dean for academic affairs, University of Rochester School of Nursing (1996-1999); and she held a variety of teaching and leadership roles at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing (1984-1996). Her long-time service on the AACN Board includes the role of Secretary (2007-2010), Member-at-Large (2003-2007), chair of the Government Affairs Committee (2003-2007), and member of the Program Committee (2001-2003). Dr. Kirschling also represents AACN at the American Nurses Association Congress on Nursing Practice and Economics and as a member of the AACN/Department of Veterans Affairs Liaison Committee.
Juliann G. Sebastian, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Nursing, was elected to the AACN Board as Secretary. Before becoming dean at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2006, she served in several capacities at the University of Kentucky, including assistant dean for advanced practice nursing, professor, associate professor, and co-director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. Currently serving as the Board's liaison to the AACN Task Force on The Essentials of Master's Education in Nursing, Dr. Sebastian has been actively engaged in AACN as chair of the Faculty Practice Conference Subcommittee, member of the Program Committee, and a member of the Task Force on the Essentials of Nursing Education for the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Clinical Doctorate Task Force.
Two new Members-at-Large were elected to the AACN Board this year, including Peggy O. Hewlett, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, and Eleanor Howell, PhD, RN, dean of the Creighton University School of Nursing. A Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellow, Dr. Hewlett’s academic career has included appointments at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi College School of Nursing. A popular presenter at AACN meetings, she has served the association as a member of the Doctoral Conference Planning Committee, a Grassroots Liaison for South Carolina, and a mentor in the Leadership for Academic Nursing Program. Former chair of the Nebraska Assembly of Nursing Deans and Directors (2004-2008), Dr. Howell has held academic appointments at Creighton University, Auburn University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has served as dean at Creighton University for the last seven years. Dr. Howell has been active in AACN as a member of the Program Committee, chair of the Executive Development Series Subcommittee, and Grassroots Liaison for the state of Nebraska.
Re-elected this year to a second two-year term on the AACN Board of Directors was Timothy Gaspar, PhD, RN, dean of the University of Toledo College of Nursing who will continue as Board Member-at-Large.
Newly elected members to AACN’s Nominating Committee also were announced at the Spring Annual Meeting and include Paulette Burns, PhD, RN, dean of the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Texas Christian University, and Marcia Hern, EdD, CNS, RN, dean of the University of Louisville School of Nursing. Both committee members were elected to serve two-year terms. An active member of AACN’s Faculty Development Working Group, Dr. Burns also serves as President of the Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education. A pediatric clinical nurse specialist, Dr, Hern has served AACN as member of the Program Committee, chair of the Hot Issues Subcommittee, and member of the NursingCAS Advisory Group.