Published on July 30, 2012 by Philip Poole  

Nena F. Sanders, dean of Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, has been selected to participate in a world-class enrichment program designed exclusively for nursing leaders. 

Sanders will be a part of the first cohort of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Wharton Executive Leadership Program.  Thirty-seven nurse educators from 25 states have been selected to participate.  Scheduled for Aug. 14-17 at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the program will prepare nursing leaders to address issues around managing and leading change, influencing and galvanizing a diverse set of stakeholders and building strategic relationships in highly volatile environments. 

"I am honored to be a part of such a dynamic group of leaders in nursing education and I look forward to sharing this experience with these experts in the field of nursing," said Sanders. 

Participants represent a broad, geographically diverse mix of educational programs, including large academic health centers, public and private institutions and small specialized schools of nursing.  Sanders is one of two deans from Alabama participating in the program.  Debra Davis, dean of the University of South Alabama College of Nursing, also is a member of the inaugural class. 

The innovative program is designed to help strengthen nursing's voice in national conversations about healthcare reform and enhancing patient care.  Sanders has been involved in nursing and health administration for more than 30 years and has a wide range of experience in health policy, administration and education at the state and national levels.  Currently, she serves as a member of the executive committee for Alabama Nurse Leaders in Education and Practice and as a member of the steering committee for the Alabama Health Action Coalition, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP-funded initiative focused on improving the health status of all Alabamians.  Through Sanders' involvement in leadership organizations such as the AACN-Wharton Program, the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing continues to strengthen its ability to engage internal and external stakeholders essential to obtaining access to needed resources for the future. 

Sanders has served as Ralph W. Beeson Dean and Professor in the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing for 11 years.  She joined the Samford faculty in 1999. Under her leadership the school has increased enrollment by more than 170% and has increased the number of academic programs offered. 


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.