Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life: 21st Century Leadership Academy

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sueshearlogoWhat is the 21st Century Leadership Academy?

The 21st Century Leadership Academy is a week-long residential leadership program for Missouri college students designed to stimulate interest in public policy. This national model for a university hosted program began in 1998 as a campus residential program for 36 students, 4 from each of 9 Missouri public universities. Each participating campus selects its own students based upon the campus’ view of who would benefit most from this experience. Considerations include prior activities in the public policy arena, leadership on campus, interest in women’s public sector leadership, and ability to share the experience with others at the home campus. This week-long program includes opportunities to meet with community, public and private sector leaders who serve as role models and mentors. Participants enhance their public speaking, networking and negotiating skills. Civic engagement opportunities and a snapshot of the public policy process are also included in the curriculum. Many Fellows go on to become leaders in their chosen field.

What activities occur at the 21st Century Leadership Academy?

Throughout the week, Shear Fellows will 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 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.

Where does the 21st Century Leadership Academy take place?

Thirty-six “Shear Fellows” from participating universities will be selected to attend the 21st Century Leadership Academy at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and participants are provided campus housing. The Leadership Academy includes a day-trip to the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO, and may include site visits in the St. Louis area.