The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program's roots lie in a popular second-degree program begun in 1988

that offered individuals from outside the profession a fast track into nursing. By 2004, with the national call for more nurses to occupy leadership, advanced practice, and faculty roles, the CNL master’s program was announced by then-dean Jeanette Lancaster, replete with a new assemblage of interdisciplinary and leadership courses and shepherded by faculty members Arlene Keeling (BSN ’74, MSN ’87, PHD ’92), Kathryn Reid (BSN ’84, MSN ’88, CERTI-FNP ’96), and others who helped ensure its success.

“We aren’t going to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Keeling reminded her occasionally reticent colleagues at a 2004 meeting, as she assured them that the creation of the new program would not alter the School’s course but enrich it. That’s been true ever since, including in 2021 when U.S. News & World Report ranked the program No. 1 in the nation.

A look at the CNL, BY THE NUMBERS.

the number of CNL students who graduated between 2007 and 2023
The CNL program's rank in U.S. News & World Report's Best Grad Schools Guide 2021
First cohort of CNL students enrolled in spring of 2005
CNL program's growth in its first decade
CNL program's peak enrollment (2020)
Proportion of CNL students who current earn financial support for their schooling
number of applications received for the first CNL cohort in 2004
Current faculty members who've earned the CNL certification