Published June 19, 2014
Marsha Lewis, professor and dean of the School of Nursing, was selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to be part of its inaugural class of nursing deans and senior faculty in the first AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program.
This world-class enrichment program, designed exclusively for top academic leaders in nursing, took place earlier this month at the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Lewis, who just returned from the program, was excited about exchanging ideas with the top nursing minds in the country.
“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 Lewis.
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 toward 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 health care environment and to develop skills to lead change in the future.
“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 health care and make a difference,” she said.