Executive Director, Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement

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Executive Director

Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement

College of Nursing

East Tennessee State University


Job Summary


The East Tennessee State University (ETSU) College of Nursing seeks an Executive Director to provide dynamic leadership and vision for the Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement (AHCNA; hereafter, the Center). The Center was established by a grant from Ballad Health and includes the Tennessee Center for Nursing Advancement, established by the Tennessee Legislature in 2021.


The Executive Director will lead a team to develop and implement strategies to address challenges in recruiting, retaining, and developing the professional skills of a qualified healthcare workforce in the region and state, focusing on nursing. The Center was established to address these challenges by conducting rigorous research on existing and new healthcare workforce data, analyzing and interpreting research results for recommended action, adopting and implementing evidence-based innovations to address workforce challenges, and disseminating policy and program recommendations derived from evaluation. The Executive Director will lead faculty and staff in conducting research to streamline and expand the pipeline for quality nurse education for the CNA, LPN, and RN workforce in all areas of Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, develop and implement innovative clinical and academic models to attract and retain nurses, support and enhance nurse well-being in all areas of practice.


The Executive Director will have the opportunity to hire a diverse team of researchers to accomplish the goals of the Center. They will direct the Center faculty and staff, compiling, analyzing, interpreting, and disseminating timely, relevant results to center stakeholders and the public. They will cultivate and maintain strong relationships with stakeholders, including healthcare providers, policymakers, educators, and community leaders, to advance the center’s objectives and impact. They will establish mechanisms for stakeholder input and feedback, ensuring diverse perspectives inform the center’s strategic direction and initiatives. They will develop and implement an approved statewide strategic plan for the nursing workforce, secure external funding sources to conduct projects and programs, ensure that the Center meets contract requirements, comply with expected deliverables, and submit timely reports and information to the funding agency. They will organize a method for seeking input from a diverse range of stakeholders who will provide input about the work of the Center. A key analytic aim is to include establish and maintain a database on nursing workforce supply and demand in Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia, publishing current information, and making future projections.




Required qualifications include graduate training (Master’s degree or higher) in a health-related field, a demonstrated track record of rigorous healthcare workforce research consistent with the scope of work of the Center, five (5) or more years of senior research leadership experience, and experience leading multi-year, externally funded projects. Preferred qualifications include an earned doctorate in a nursing-related field, such as PhD in Nursing or Doctor of Nurse Practitioner (DNP) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, or similar practice credentials. Additional characteristics include experience in rural healthcare, vulnerable populations, distance education, trauma-informed care and education, and collaborating with public and private sectors of healthcare communities for grant funding and partnership opportunities.


Ideal candidates will demonstrate a proven track record of successful leadership in a complex organizational setting, with experience in healthcare, academic, or research environments preferred; a strong record of funded research and scholarship from such federal agencies as HRSA, AHRQ, and PCORI; teaching and curriculum experience in undergraduate and graduate healthcare workforce programs; evidence of exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, diplomacy, and tact; demonstrated ability to engage in collaborative, constructive approaches to decision making; ability to develop and maintain partnerships with diverse groups of internal and external community stakeholders and policymakers; commitment to diversity and inclusion; and ability to provide strong fiscal management and oversight.


University and Region


East Tennessee State University is a regional state-supported institution serving 14,000 students yearly. It is located in Northeast Tennessee in Johnson City (population 72,514), with a million people within a 75-mile radius. The area abounds in scenic mountain beauty and places of historical interest and is prized for outdoor recreation, festivals, and cultural experiences.


The ETSU College of Nursing is part of ETSU Health, which also includes the newly restructured College of Health Sciences, the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, and the College of Public Health. Together, they enroll 4,000 students and offer 35 degree programs, including 12 clinical and research doctoral degrees. They have achieved national recognition for their interprofessional education programs and practice partnerships over three decades. With a commitment to preparing graduates to practice in rural and underserved areas, ETSU Health is on the front lines of building the future healthcare workforce for the region and nation.


Application Process


Parker Executive Search is assisting East Tennessee State University in the search for the Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement Executive Director within the ETSU College of Nursing. The Search Committee invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, full resume/CV, and contact information of at least five references), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted before August 31, 2024. Please submit applications directly to Parker Executive Search. For additional information, please contact:


Porsha Williams, Vice President
Jacob Anderson, Senior Principal
Julia Butler-Mayes, Ph.D., Executive Recruiting Coordinator
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875
Atlanta, GA 30328
(770) 804-1996 ext.: 111
janderson@parkersearch.com || jbutler-mayes@parkersearch.com


ETSU is committed to ensuring that our students, faculty and staff are valued and work in an environment of openness and acceptance. ETSU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.