Nora Cox with MSU Sue Shear Fellows 2015

21st Century Leadership Academy

The 21st Century Leadership Academy is an intensive week-long (May 18-22, 2020) residential leadership development program designed to inspire civic engagement and encourage women’s public sector leadership. Sponsored by the Sue Shear Institute since 1998, the Academy has been developed in partnership with the NEW Leadership™ Development Network established by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

The opportunity

Missouri State University sends four fellows to the Academy each spring as do the other eight public universities in the state. Fellows have the opportunity to meet and learn from elected officials from all levels of government, travel to Jefferson City for a mock debate on a piece of legislation , interact with student leaders from the other institutions and engage with community and statewide leaders at a leadership banquet. Participation in the Academy provides fellows with access to an international network of alumni of Shear Fellows.

Selection Process


Successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to Missouri State University’s Public Affairs Mission. Applicants may come from any college, any major. Preference will be given to students returning the semester following the academy experience. Applicants must agree to promote the fellowship upon their return to campus.


The selection committee will be composed of the assigned advisor who will serve as chair. Additional members will be: at least one alumnus of the Sue Shear Leadership Academy, a designee from the Office of Student Affairs, and an additional faculty member.

The committee is charged with insuring; (a) that information regarding the Academy is as widely disseminated as practical, and (b) that candidates are selected who exemplify the university’s public affairs mission. In order to meet this charge, the committee shall (a) distribute information about the academy via electronic and personal methods; (b) review applications along applicable deadlines; (c) select four fellows and one alternate who best exemplify the selection criteria.

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader See the committee's evaluation rubric form.

The committee chair is responsible for notifying students who were not selected as well as students selected to represent Missouri State University no later than mid April.


What is the Sue Shear Leadership Academy?

The 21st Century Leadership Academy is an intensive week-long residential leadership development program designed to inspire civic engagement and encourage women’s public sector leadership. 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.

When and where is the next Academy?

May 18-22, 2020 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Who should apply?

Any Missouri State University student at the undergraduate or graduate levels who is interested in issues of women in public policy leadership.

What are the criteria for application?

Successful applicants will be those who display commitment to Missouri State University’s Public Affairs mission and a preference will be given to students who will be returning to Missouri State University for the fall semester. A selection committee will review all applications; four participants and at least one alternate will be selected and notified in early April.

Who normally participates?

Previous Missouri State Sue Shear fellows come from a range of disciplines including:

Art & Design — Graphic Design
Art & Design — Photography
Geospatial Sciences
Master’s in Counseling
Master’s in Public Administration
Political Science
Sociopolitical Communication