Mara Shaw, interim associate director for governmental training, education and development with the Institute of Government, has been awarded the 2020 Walter Barnard Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach. The award was given as part of as part of Honors Week at the University of Georgia.
The Hill Award recognizes distinguished achievement in public service and outreach by UGA faculty members and service professionals who have made contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in Georgia that greatly exceeds the normal accomplishments of a productive faculty member.
For nearly seven years, Shaw has dedicated herself to improving education for elected local government officials, appointed local government officials and future local government policy makers or managers.
Shaw has made a significant impact locally and statewide through her work. She has worked in partnership with five organizations in recent years to develop programs that address the educational needs of their members.
Shaw helped develop expanded session programming for the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) Executive Leadership Institute. She also helped create new courses for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), expanding learning opportunities for local government officials throughout the state.
Shaw serves as the lead faculty member for the Georgia City-County Management Association’s (GCCMA) education program. Working with GCCMA’s board of directors and its educational program planning committee, she has helped improve the overall quality of educational programming available for Georgia’s city and county managers.
In addition, Shaw developed a professional skills workshop series for Master of Public Administration students in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs. Since 2017, 70 students have completed the workshop series.
Shaw’s passion for continuing and professional education is clear in all of her work not only as a unit and program manager but as a course instructor. She has led classes for 2,198 newly elected municipal officials and 423 newly elected county commissioners.
“Mara possesses the characteristics one looks for in a leader—she is a person of great integrity and character, a highly driven and motivated professional unafraid of challenges and committed to making a difference in service to the public,” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson. “She has a collaborative leadership and management style and possesses a unique ability to bring groups of people together from different backgrounds, experiences and socioeconomic factors, and create a sense of team to find common ground on solutions.”
The award is named in honor of Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led UGA from 1899 until his death in 1905 and first articulated the university’s modern public service and outreach mission. Hill Award winners receive a medallion and a framed certificate and become eligible for the Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award, UGA’s highest award in public service and outreach.
For more information about PSO’s amazing award winners and their unique work, visit t.uga.edu/5RU.