WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2020 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce the results of its 2020 election to fill seats on the AACN Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. With votes cast by more than half of all member deans from the nation’s nursing schools with baccalaureate and higher degree programs, those selected to serve as AACN’s top leaders include Board members Cynthia McCurren (Chair-elect) from Grand Valley State University; Jean Leuner (Secretary) from Auburn University Montgomery; Jerry Mansfield from Mount Carmel Health System; Victoria Niederhauser from the University of Tennessee Knoxville; Randolph Rasch from Michigan State University; Jan Strom from Aurora University; and Marjorie Wiggins from Maine Health System. New members of AACN’s Nominating Committee include Tracey Murray from Coppin State University and Rita Trofino from Saint Francis University.

“On behalf of AACN’s member deans, faculty, and students, I am delighted to welcome these new and returning members to the Board and Nominating Committee who are committed to helping shape the future of academic nursing,” said AACN Board Chair Ann Cary, PhD, MPH, RN, FNAP, FAAN. “In keeping with AACN’s commitment to strengthening ties between nursing education and practice, we are particularly pleased to welcome two new members from the practice community who will be filling two newly created seats on the AACN Board. We applaud all of our Board and Committee volunteers who are committed to providing the leadership and vision needed to take AACN to new heights.”

Those elected to the AACN Board of Directors and Nominating Committee will begin their terms of service following the business meeting at AACN’s Deans Annual Meeting on Monday, March 23, 2020. New and re-elected Board members include:

Cynthia McCurrenCynthia McCurren, PhD, RN, Dean and Professor of the Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University (GVSU), was elected as Chair-elect for two years and will serve as Board Chair from 2022-2024. Prior to her current appointment at GVSU in 2007, she served in a variety leadership and teaching roles at the University of Louisville (U of L) from 1983-2007, including Interim Dean and Associate Dean for academic affairs, and Director of nursing research for U of L Hospital. Active in Michigan’s nursing community, she currently serves on the Board of the Michigan Organization of Nursing Leaders, is the past President of the Michigan Association of Colleges of Nursing, and was an appointed member of the Michigan Task Force for Nursing Education/Michigan Nursing Education Council. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Metro Health—University of Michigan Health and on the Quality and Safety Committee for the Spectrum Health Board. Her service to the association includes AACN Board Member at Large, Membership and Program Committee Chair, State Grassroots Liaison, and member of the Vision for Nursing Education Task Force, Leadership Development Advisory Group, and Conference Planning Subcommittees. Dr. McCurren currently serves as Co-Chair of AACN’s Essentials Task Force, which is working on re-envisioning the preparation of nurses prepared at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Jean LeunerJean Leuner, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN, Dean and Professor at the Auburn University Montgomery College of Nursing and Health Sciences, was re-elected to a two-year term as Board Secretary. Her career as a nurse educator includes service as Dean of the University of Central Florida College of Nursing from 2003-2015 as well as previous academic leadership roles at the Medical University of South Carolina, the MGH Institute of Health Professions, and Saint Anselm College. Currently a member of AACN’s Audit Committee, Dr. Leuner has been very active in the association, serving as Board Member at Large, Governance Task Force Member, Program Committee Chair, Faculty Development Working Group Chair, State Grassroots Liaison, and as a mentor to new deans. Her leadership roles outside the organization extend to serving as a member of the Winter Park Health Foundation Board of Trustees, member of the Franklin Pierce University Board of Trustees, member of the State of Alabama Association of Colleges of Nursing, former Chair of the Florida Association of Colleges of Nursing, and Chapter President for Sigma Theta Tau International.

Victoria NiederhauserVictoria Niederhauser, DrPH, RN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN, Dean and Professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Nursing, was elected to a two-year term on the Board of Directors. Prior to assuming her current position in 2011, she held various leadership roles at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene and held academic appointments at George Mason University and George Washington University. Dr. Niederhauser has published the book Core Review for Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioners and has authored over 50 articles and book chapters on child health and educational issues. She has received funding for nursing research and training grants totaling over $6.6 million. Dr. Niederhauser is a board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner, a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. Active in AACN, she has served on the Nominating Committee, Hot Issues Program Committee, as a Like-Schools discussion moderator, new dean mentor, and leader of the US News & World Report rankings advisory group.

Randolph RaschRandolph Rasch, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, Dean and Professor of the College of Nursing at Michigan State University, was elected to a two-year term as Board Member at Large. Prior to his current role, Dr. Rasch held leadership positions at the nursing schools affiliated with Vanderbilt University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Greensboro, and North Carolina Central University. Active within AACN, he currently serves on the AACN-AONL Advisory Committee and has served as a member of the PhD Summit Planning Committee and as a State Grassroots Liaison. His leadership experience extends to serving as the Chair of the Big Ten Academic Alliance Nursing Deans Group and member of both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. Among his many honors are the Dr. Gene Tranbarger Writing Award from the American Association for Men in Nursing and the Trailblazer Award from the National Black Nurses Association. A Fellow of the National Academies of Practice, Dr. Rasch was appointed by the governor of the State of Michigan to lead an initiative to reduce healthcare disparities, particularly maternal-child morbidity and mortality.

Jan StromJan Strom, PhD, MPH, RN, Dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health at Aurora University, was elected to a two-year term as Board Member at Large. She previously served in top academic nursing roles at both Northern Illinois University (2012-2017) and Elmhurst College (2007-2012). A dedicated member of the AACN community, she has served on the Government Affairs and Membership Committees, as a State Grassroots Liaison, and as a lead presenter at New Deans Mentor sessions. For the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, she currently serves as a member of the Accreditation Review Committee and as an accreditation site visitor and team leader. Her work in the community extends to serving in several leadership capacities with the Illinois Association of Colleges of Nursing (including President/Chair from 2016-2018) and on Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital Ethics Committee.

New Practice Representatives on the AACN Board of Directors include:

Jerry MansfieldJerry Mansfield, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer of the Ohio Region for Mount Carmel Health System, was elected as a Practice Representative to the AACN Board of Directors. He recently served as the Executive Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Patient Experience Officer for Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Health. He currently serves on the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research Board of Directors, the Nurse Executive Council of the Beryl Institute, and the Clinical and Nursing Advisory Board of the O'Neil Center for Patient and Family Engagement. In addition to holding executive roles at two major academic health centers (MUSC and The Ohio State University) and academic appointments over the past 20 years, he was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow (2005) and served as an advisor to several RWJF programs, including the Bridging Health and Health Care Advisory Group and the Future of Nursing Scholars Program.

Marjorie WigginsMarjorie S. Wiggins, DNP, MBA, RN, FAAN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer of the Maine Health System, was elected as a Practice Representative to the AACN Board of Directors. With more than 30 years of experience in nursing practice and leadership, she has been an active supporter of many of AACN’s signature initiatives. She has served on the Clinical Nurse Leader Implementation Task Force and the Governance Task Force and currently serves on the Essentials Task Force. A strong proponent of academic-practice partnerships, Dr. Wiggins received AACN’s CNL Visionary Leader Award in 2013. Her work to advance the profession also includes serving as the first nursing member on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s Clinical Learning Environment Review Committee, as Board member of the Clinical Nurse Leader Association (2009-2015), and on the boards of several schools of nursing.

Continuing members of the AACN Board of Directors include Chair-Elect Susan Bakewell-Sachs from Oregon Health & Science University (who will serve as Chair from March 2020-March 2022); Treasurer Lin Zhan from University of Memphis; Jean Giddens from Virginia Commonwealth University; Judith Karshmer from Arizona State University; Julie Sanford from the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and Terri E. Weaver from the University of Illinois at Chicago. AACN President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Trautman serves as an ex-officio member of the AACN Board.

The newly elected members to AACN’s Nominating Committee include:

Tracey MurrayTracey Murray, DNP, CRNP, FNP-C, Dean of the College of Health Professions at Coppin State University, was elected to serve a two-year term on AACN’s Nominating Committee. Her leadership experience extends to serving as Health Commissioner on the Baltimore Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, member of the Nurse Leadership Institute Advisory Council, and member of the Maryland Regional Action Coalition. A graduate of the AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program, Dr. Murray has served on AACN’s Finance Committee and participated in the New Dean Mentoring Program. At AACN meetings, she often provides insights and recommendations regarding diversity, inclusion, and the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions.

Rita TrofinoRita Trofino, DNP, MNEd, RN, Associate Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education and Nursing Department Chair at Saint Francis University, was elected to serve a two-year term on AACN’s Nominating Committee. She has served in a number of volunteer roles at AACN, including on the Steering Committee of the Organizational Leadership Network, the Membership Committee, as a mentor in the New Dean Mentor Program, and as a site visitor for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. With over 25 years of experience in academic nursing, Dr. Trofino also has served the larger healthcare community through her volunteer work with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Nursing Schools Association, Cambria Regional Chamber, and the American Heart Association, where she has served as a volunteer CPR and First Aid instructor for over 40 years.

Continuing Nominating Committee members include Jeanette Andrews from the University of South Carolina and Stephen Cavanagh from the University of California-Davis. AACN Board Chair Ann Cary from Florida Gulf Coast University will join the Nominating Committee when her term as chair ends in March.


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the voice for academic nursing representing more than 825 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing education. 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 www.aacnnursing.org.

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