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Nursing Education Leader Set to Lead NLN CNEA Accreditation Services

Media Contact: Michael Keaton; 202-909-2544
Nursing Education Leader Set to Lead NLN CNEA Accreditation Services

Commission’s Founding Executive Director Saluted for Her Record of Success
Washington, DC — A changing of the guard at the top of the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA) is set to take effect tomorrow, April 1, with the retirement of CNEA founding Executive Director Judith A. Halstead, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN. Another longtime NLN leader and veteran nurse educator, Teresa Shellenbarger, PhD, RN, CNE, CNEcl, ANEF, has been tapped to succeed her for the position.

“We are so proud of what Judy has accomplished in the seven years since she became the first person to lead the CNEA, established to accredit values-driven nursing programs and schools across the spectrum of higher education,” said NLN CNEA Board of Commissioners Chair Joan Darden, PhD, RN, ANEF, professor emerita of Darton State College in Albany, Georgia. “As the commission prepares to welcome Teresa, there are currently over 100 CNEA pre-accredited or accredited programs, representing more than 16,000 students. CNEA has truly proven its value to nursing education on a global stage under Judy’s leadership.”

Launched in 2014 under Dr. Halstead’s direction, CNEA today boasts a strong track record of success. During its first year of operations, CNEA published Standards of Accreditation as well as policies and procedures, and appointed and trained more than 100 on-site program evaluators in nursing education and practice.

Programs that apply for CNEA accreditation must demonstrate in concrete, measurable terms, how CNEA accreditation standards are incorporated into curriculum and instruction and campus culture, as determined by trained program evaluators. Also, thanks to Dr. Halstead, CNEA has been engaged in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Education for full recognition as a federally-approved accrediting agency.

NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN said, “Judy has long been an indispensable part of our leadership, first in a variety of volunteer roles, including as League president, and subsequently as a member of the League’s senior professional staff. We owe her an enormous debt of gratitude, and we wish her well as she retires from full-time service to explore new horizons. She leaves big shoes to fill at the CNEA, but there is no doubt that Teresa will lead the commission with her characteristic dedication, passion and wisdom, as it meets the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

Distinguished University Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Shellenbarger has been actively involved with the National League for Nursing, serving as a member of the Board of Governors and as Secretary, and on numerous League committees, think tanks, review panels, and task groups. Her priorities have aligned with the League mission to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce, focused on initiatives to promote quality and excellence in nursing education.

Dr. Shellenbarger served as lead editor for two League published textbooks: Clinical Nurse Educator Competencies: Creating an Evidence-Based Practice for Academic Clinical Nurse Educators and the Academic Clinical Nurse Educator Review book. Both are considered essential resources that guide clinical nursing education excellence. Other publication projects include co-authorship of the widely used Clinical Teaching Strategies in Nursing and multiple book chapters and peer-reviewed articles on timely topics in nursing education: nursing faculty, professional development, leadership, and innovative instructional strategies.

The recipient of numerous professional awards and honors including induction as an inaugural fellow into the NLN Academy of Nursing Education, Dr. Shellenbarger holds certification as an academic nurse educator and clinical nurse educator. Following her graduation from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in nursing, Dr. Shellenbarger earned a master’s degree in nursing from Southern Connecticut State University and a PhD in nursing from Widener University. During her 30 years of experience of classroom and clinical teaching, she has established a reputation as an expert educator, mentor, respected leader and advocate for excellence in nursing education.

Dr. Shellenbarger will work to advance CNEA’s agenda to expand the number of accredited programs and institutions and revise the accreditation standards, in accordance with CNEA policy to review those standards every five years. In December, CNEA had invited public comment on the latest proposed revisions, now awaiting publication.

Complete information about the NLN CNEA may be found at

About the National League for Nursing
Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its nearly 45,000 individual and 1,100 institutional members, comprising nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations. Learn more at
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