Sheila M. Stearns Interview, June 4, 2018


Sheila M. Stearns


Donna McCrea



Download Audio Interview (89.1 MB)

Download Transcript of Sheila Stearns Interview (345 KB)


Sheila M. Stearns discusses her work as Interim President of the University of Montana [UM] in Missoula Montana, from December 2016 through January 2018, and her thoughts on being a woman in leadership during her tenure as an administrator in the Montana University System, from the 1980s through 2000s. She recalls the Commissioner of Higher Education’s proposition that she lead the University during a difficult budget situation, and her goals and strategies to empower University faculty and staff. She discusses her successes and failures as president, her work to stabilize the University while making decisions that would effect it long-term, and her opinions about UM’s strengths and weaknesses in the digital age. Stearns discusses women’s leadership strengths, hiring women for leadership positions, and recalls her own experience as a woman in leadership throughout her career in higher education. She discusses her time after leaving the presidency and her future plans.


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Document Type

Oral History


Leadership, Universities and colleges; Higher education leadership, Women; University of Montana; Missoula; Academic Programs and Administrative Services Prioritization [APASP]; Montana University System; DeBoer, John; Schwarze, Steve; Putnam, Liz; Christian, Clayton; Engstrom, Royce; Edmond, Beverly; Keller, Rosi; Montana State University; Gamble, Geoffrey; Office of Commissioner of Higher Education [OCHE], Montana; Montana University System; Board of Regents, Montana University System; Diversity; Hiring, Diversity; Diversity, Academic institutions

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Women in Leadership at the University of Montana Oral History Project, OH 461, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 461-003

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound file (01:03:53 min.) digital + 1 transcript (13 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:03:53 minutes

Local Filename

OH_461_003.mp3; OH_461_003.pdf

Sheila M. Stearns Interview, June 4, 2018