Jennifer Eccles


Director, At-Large

Senior System Director of Nursing Excellence, HealthForce Minnesota, Winona State University, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities - Minnesota

Dr. Jennifer Eccles is the System Director of Nursing Initiatives in Minnesota, serving as the liaison with 62 nursing programs encompassing 16,000 full-time equivalent students in the state system of 37 colleges and universities. She collaborates with community, industry, government, and national partners to support nursing workforce initiatives in Minnesota. Jennifer provides visionary leadership to pioneer, develop, and execute highly effective programs and services that meet workforce demands, foster education, achieve equity, empower people, and change lives.

Jennifer previously served as nursing faculty at a community college, Dean of Health Sciences, Nursing Program Director, Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. Jennifer led efforts in updating student services, meeting workforce demands, increasing academic efficiency, creating community partnerships, improving faculty relations, and creating strategic enrollment plans.

An academic leader over the past twelve years, Jennifer played an integral role in earning two nursing programs top-ranking status in Minnesota while improving finances, increasing faculty and student satisfaction. She enhanced enrollments and retention in addition to aligning joint credit/non-credit programs. She was one of the founding members creating an award-winning Associate/Baccalaureate of Science (BSN) program across eight institutions, establishing the opportunity for students to earn a BSN while remaining on their community college campus.

Jennifer is a published author in peer-reviewed journals and in a leadership book published by the American Nurses Association. She earned an Honors Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Education in Curriculum Studies, a Master of Science in Nursing in Advanced Practice, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing with research focused on critical access hospital leaders building positive professional practice work environments to enhance patient outcomes.

Jennifer maintains active engagement in organizations as a member and volunteer, including the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, the AARP National Nursing Leadership Council, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, local Native American Education Parent Advisory Council, national organizations dedicated to health science education improvement, a volunteer Emergency Medical Services organization., and a youth hockey league.

Prior to higher education, Jennifer fulfilled positions including assistant director of nursing, clinical director of medical/surgical, emergency nurse manager, nursing project manager, and clinical educator. She served the Royal Canadian Navy as one of the first women in Canada in a combat role, and the highest ranked woman naval combat information operator in the Canadian fleet. Moreover, she was a volunteer firefighter and paramedic. She is the mother of five children and caregiver to two Newfoundland dogs. Jennifer was raised in Canada and is now proud to be a US citizen.