ACEN Staff – Dr. Laura Polk

Laura Polk, PhD, RN, CNE

Dr. Laura Polk is a Director with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Dr. Polk holds a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Georgetown University, a master’s of science in nursing education and a doctorate of philosophy degree in nursing science, both from The Catholic University of America. She has been an active volunteer for the ACEN as a peer evaluator for over 10 years and has experience with the Evaluation Review Panel.

Dr. Polk began her nursing career in the Army Nurse Corps, serving 6 years on active duty. She transitioned to nursing education following a clinical career in pediatric and maternal-child nursing. Dr. Polk served as faculty at Howard University prior to moving to the College of Southern Maryland where she worked as nursing faculty, Health Sciences department chair, and Dean of the School of Science and Health during more than 20 years of service. Dr. Polk is the recipient of numerous awards for nursing education including the MNA District 9 Grace E. Brown Nurse Educator of the Year and Nurse of the Year awards, and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence award. In 2022, she was selected as an AACC John E. Rouche Future Leaders Fellow.

At the state level, Dr. Polk participated with the Maryland Association of Health Sciences Deans and Administrators and the Maryland Association of Associate Degree Nursing Directors, serving as Chair from 2013-2015. Other professional activities include serving as a peer reviewer for the International Journal of Nursing Terminologies and Classification, and being appointed to and serving on the Maryland Board of Nursing for a 4-year term.

Dr. Polk believes in the value of a peer-led accreditation process with the goal of improving quality in nursing education. She is excited to be a member of the professional nursing staff at ACEN.