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Sue Shear Leadership Academy


In light of necessary restrictions on all public gatherings across the state and nation, it has become necessary to cancel this year’s Sue Shear Leadership Academy scheduled for May 18-22, 2020.

The Sue Shear Leadership Academy is an intensive week-long residential leadership development program designed to inspire civic engagement and encourage women’s public sector leadership.  This program was originally sponsored by the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life in 1998 and transitioned to UMSL’s College of Education (COE) in 2019. The Sue Shear Leadership Academy program was developed in partnership with the NEW Leadership™ National Network. NEW Leadership™ is a national non-partisan program developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University to educate the next generation of women for public leadership. The residential NEW Leadership™ summer institute brings together college women from across the political spectrum to discuss the roles of women in leadership and politics. Participants gain leadership skills as they are exposed to new ideas and opportunities and consider their future careers. Students develop and hone leadership skills, discover new ideas and opportunities, and consider how they can incorporate public leadership into their future plans.

Approximately 30 “Shear Fellows” from participating universities are selected to attend the Sue Shear Leadership Academy. Throughout the week, Shear Fellows learn and practice leadership skills, discuss important public policy issues, connect with women leaders from the public and private sectors and explore the meaning and practice of leadership in a diverse society.

The Sue Shear Leadership Academy curriculum includes interactive panel discussions, small group exercises, skill-building workshops, and opportunities to network with women leaders who are shaping public policy as elected officials, government leaders and policy advocates. These women role models make policy “real” and donate their time to give participants a glimpse of what it means to be a woman in public life. They also help participants develop leadership skills that will increase their effectiveness as policy makers.

A highlight of the week is a day-trip to Jefferson City where participants will participate in a mock legislative session at the State Capitol, and have lunch with women leaders in state government and the judiciary.

Over 700 college women have graduated from the Sue Shear Leadership Academy and are making a difference as leaders in their communities. Past Fellows build lasting networks with other Academy alumnae and women leaders who serve as mentors and role models. 

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