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Summer 2015


Meet the NLN CNEA Board of Commissioners
On April 9 and 10, the newly appointed NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA) Board of Commissioners held its first-ever meeting in Washington, DC. CNEA welcomes the 15 new commissioners to their role. Consisting of experts experienced in nursing education and practice, as well as public representatives, the board members are creative, diverse in background, and honored to support quality nursing education through service to CNEA. We are using this issue of the CNEA Connections to introduce them to CNEA’s stakeholders, who provide readers with their thoughts on serving on the inaugural Board.


Joan Darden, who is interim vice president at Darton State College in Albany, Georgia, is serving as chair and is excited about providing leadership to the CNEA board. “By using the NLN core values of caring, diversity, integrity, and excellence while collaborating with commissioners who are passionate and experienced in all types of nursing education and practice, we are poised to positively influence the future of nursing education,” said Dr. Darden. “Keeping in mind that CNEA is bound by USDE regulations, I believe that our colleagues who are seeking accreditation for their nursing programs will be pleased with our end product.”


Brother Ignatius Perkins, who serves as vice chair of the commission, echoed these sentiments, noting that the NLN’s core values are poised to elevate nursing education through a value-centered, outcomes-based learning experience for faculty and students. These core values are pillars that “are embedded in the very soul of nursing,” Brother Perkins said. “In their integrated unity they affirm, protect, and defend the covenant of trust, confidence, and competence in nursing practice through quality, culturally-relevant nursing education programs accredited by CNEA.” Brother Perkins is director of health services, Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph and founding director, Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York. ​

Betsy-Frank Sandra-Carollo

The Board of Commissioners fully embraces these NLN core values as an integral component of their work. Dr. Betsy Frank, professor emerita at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, sees the accreditation process as “an opportunity to promote the NLN’s core values through our accreditation process at a critical time in nursing education’s history.” And Dr. Sandy Carollo, co-director of the Yakima Nursing Program of Washington State University College of Nursing, sees a values-centered accreditation process as an opportunity to create “a culture of inclusion and collaboration, with the potential to create a synergy that will impact the nexus of health care education and practice, ultimately serving to promote the highest quality of health care.” ​

Nancy-Maebius-cropped Amy-Pettigrew

This values-driven approach is “historic and inspirational,” said Nancy Maebius. CNEA provides “a quality nursing program accreditation choice for all types of programs, influencing the education of future nurses. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of developing a new, unique option for nursing program accreditation based on caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence.” Dr. Maebius is the community relations liaison/education consultant with Galen College of Nursing in San Antonio, Texas. With the NLN core values guiding the Board of Commissioners in their work, Dr. Amy Pettigrew, dean of the Benjamin Leon School of Nursing at Miami Dade College in Florida, felt the initial board discussion “highlighted the commonalities across all levels of nursing education, not the differences, and set the stage for a values-based accreditation process.” ​

Pat-Castaldi This inclusive approach exemplifies how the NLN core values will be used not only to develop an accreditation process, “but also to reflect our beliefs about quality nursing education. It is with great honor that I serve on the Board of Commissioners and have the opportunity to work with colleagues to bring this new accreditation body to life,” said Pat Castaldi. Dr. Castaldi is the interim dean, Plainfield Campus and director of practical nursing and allied health at Union County College, Cranford, New Jersey.
Bronwynne-Evans The CNEA Board of Commissioners considers transparency to be a critical aspect of accreditation. “As board members of a new, standard-setting organization, we have a duty to put into place policies and procedures that shape appropriate and transparent decision making,” said Dr. Ngozi Nkongho, dean, St. Paul’s School of Nursing, Queens, NY. CNEA’s “innovative, transparent, user-friendly process draws upon the NLN’s history as an organization that serves nursing education and practice through collaboration across academic and public sectors,” said Dr. Bronwynne Evans, professor and PhD program director, Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Phoenix, adding that “I strongly believe CNEA will add a new dimension to the accreditation landscape.
Rose-Santee As they move forward with their work, the commissioners are excited to continue the atmosphere of collegiality that marked their first meeting. “I have seen first-hand how the NLN’s core values are demonstrated in the work of the organization,” said Rose Santee, associate dean of Trinitas School of Nursing, Elizabeth, NJ. “During the initial meeting, I felt welcomed by the education members, practice partners, and public members of the board, and the staff.  This is the sense of caring that I as a member of the board would like faculty and students of schools of nursing to experience as they strive to meet the standards.”

The professionalism of the commissioners was noted by Betty Horton as one of the most positive aspects of the inaugural meeting, who “enjoyed the interaction with others committed to accreditation as a way to promote academic quality.” Dr. Horton is manager of the anesthesia program approval process, International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists. She is serving as secretary of the CNEA Board of Commissioners.

Stuart-Savin Cole-Edmonson This commitment was evident not only among representatives of nursing education, but from public and practice partners as well. Public member Dr. Stuart Savin, supervisor of adult and continuing education for York County School of Technology, felt the inaugural meeting was “an amazing and humbling experience. Clearly this team has a focus to help build an even more successful future for our nursing programs, our students, our program accreditation, and ultimately for our patients.”The board’s nursing practice representatives are similarly excited by the opportunity to enhance nursing education through service to CNEA. “As a practicing nurse, it is a privilege to help shape future generations of nursing beginning with the education programs that are responsible for building the nurses of tomorrow. We as nurses have a professional obligation to engage in our practice, education and mentoring of students and experienced nurses. Serving on the commission allows me to do that in a very formal and rewarding way,” reflected Dr. Cole Edmonson, chief nursing officer of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas.
“As an intentional partnership between academia, practice, and the public we are privileged to serve, CNEA is positioned as a ‘next generation’ accreditation, transforming the experience for faculty, students, and ultimately patients, families, and communities served by the nursing profession,” said Mary Sitterding. Dr. Sitterding is the vice president, Center for Professional Excellence, Patient Services, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Cathleen-Shultz Dr. Cathleen Shultz, professor of nursing at Harding University Carr College of Nursing in Searcy, Arkansas, is serving as treasurer of the CNEA board. She summarized the first meeting as a “historical step in the NLN’s long-standing commitment to supporting quality in nursing education through the delivery of accreditation services. This first CNEA Board of Commissioners is proud to continue this tradition of excellence.”

As CNEA develops policies and procedures and moves closer to conducting a range of accreditation activities, we continue to seek opportunities to interact with our stakeholders and introduce them to our values-centered approach to accreditation. If you are in the Washington, DC area and would like to visit CNEA, please contact us at and we will be happy to welcome you to our headquarters at the historic Watergate complex.

All best wishes,

Judy Halstead, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN
Executive Director
National League for Nursing
Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation

CNEA at the NLN Summit

Learn more about NLN CNEA at these Summit events:
  • Pre-Summit Workshop - Wednesday September 30, 8:00 am - 11:45 am
    Understanding the NLN CNEA Accreditation Process
  • Concurrent Session - Thursday October 1, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    Applying the NLN CNEA Standards to Your Program
  • Special Session - Friday, October 2, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Accreditation Update: The Latest from the NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA)
  • Exhibit Hall
    Learn more about CNEA from Dr. Halstead and members of the Board of Commissioners during open exhibit hours.