BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Marsha Lewis, PhD, RN, professor and dean of
the University at Buffalo School of Nursing was selected by the
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for its
inaugural class of nursing deans and senior faculty to participate
in the first AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program.
This world-class enrichment program, designed exclusively for
top academic leaders in nursing took place from August 14 –
17 at the prestigious Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.
Lewis who just returned from the program expressed how
stimulating it was to be exchanging ideas with the top nursing
minds in the U.S.
"I was proud to represent the UB School of Nursing. The mission
of our school is to produce outstanding clinicians and researchers
and to improve nursing outcomes to meet the current and future
needs of society through our academic programs, research and
scholarship," said Lewis.
"This leadership program offered a unique opportunity to
strategize to advance our academic mission."
The program included 37 nurse educators from 25 states.
"Though many executive leadership programs are available at top
schools like Wharton, none focus exclusively on the needs of
nursing deans," said AACN president, Jane Kirschling. "Fortified
with a new layer of leadership expertise, those completing the
program will be well-prepared to make a lasting impact on how
nurses are educated and how they practice."
Lewis said the AACN-Wharton program provided a number of models
for leading change and innovative, entrepreneurial leadership that
apply directly to her oversight of UB nursing.
"I will utilize these as we refine the strategic plan and move
the School of Nursing forward in an effort to continue to grow,
expand and improve the quality of our scholarship, research and
teaching supporting our institutional goals and vision," said
She said that the AACN-Wharton program uses active learning
strategies that give participants the opportunity to experiment and
hone skills in building strategic relationships and leading change
in times of uncertainty.
"The opportunity to network, dialogue and brainstorm with
distinguished colleagues added immensely to the experience. The
program gave us the process, and our discussions helped flesh out
the issues and opportunities facing nursing programs across the
country," said Lewis.
As far as the ongoing national conversation about nursing and
health care, Lewis said, that this kind of program "encourages us
to listen to our stakeholders, both internal, such as students and
faculty, as well as external stakeholder groups in the community.
It also urges us to strengthen our partnerships and to identify
small steps that will move us towards the goal of a more
highly-educated, diverse nursing workforce to improve patient care
and fill research, faculty and advanced practice roles."
Lewis said she and her faculty strive to provide students with
the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the current
healthcare environment and to develop skills to lead change in the
"There is great synergy between the take home messages from the
Leadership Program and how we need to educate our students for
health care in the next decade and beyond.
"Nursing has an opportunity to be present and influential in
healthcare and make a difference," said Lewis.