Sharon Lean

Sharon Lean

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Programs


313-993-3435 (fax)

2059 Faculty/Administration Building


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Sharon Lean

Sharon F. Lean is graduate program director and associate professor in the Department of Political Science. She joined the Wayne State faculty in 2005. She is the recipient of Wayne State's 2016 Outstanding Graduate Director Award and the 2011 President's Award for Excellent in Teaching. From May 2018 to August 2021, she served as associate dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Lean regularly offers courses with a short-term study abroad component in Mexico.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Comparative Politics, Latin America/Mexico and Central America
  • Problems of civil society, state, transparency and accountability
  • Graduate program administration/graduate student success


  • Ph.D. in Political Science, University of California - Irvine
  • M.A. in Social Sciences, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO- México)
  • B.A. in Latin American Studies (with honors), Brown University

Awards and grants

  • Council of Graduate Schools/Mellon PhD Career Pathways: Humanities Coalition Grant –Co-PI (with Amanda Bryant Freidrich, Elizabeth Faue and Caroline Maun) 2021-23

  • 100K Strong Met Life Study Abroad Innovation Grant. Co-PI (with Jaclyn Assarian, Fred Pearson and in collaboration with Universidad Externado, Bogotá, Colombia) 2018.

  • USAID Democracy Fellows and Grants Program Research and Innovation Grant: Strengthening Women's Civic and Political Participation (co-PI with Kyu-Nahm Jun and Stine Eckert) 2016

  •  NEH Next Generation Humanities Scholars Planning Grant (participant, PI Elizabeth Faue) 2016

  •  2013 Fulbright Scholar Award – Visiting Researcher at El Colegio de México, México D.F.

Selected publications

  • Lean, Sharon F. 2012. Civil Society and Electoral Accountability in Latin America Palgrave Macmillan
  • Legler, Thomas, Sharon F. Lean and Dexter Boniface, eds. 2007. Promoting Democracy in the Americas, Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Lean, Sharon F. et al. 2021. "Women’s Civic and Political Participation in the Developing World: Obstacles and Opportunities." Journal of International Women's Studies. 22: 9
  • Lean, Sharon F. and Alanna D. Jackson, 2018. “Mexican Political Development.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Sandy Maisel. New York: Oxford University Press

Citation index

Google Scholar

Courses taught by Sharon Lean

Fall Term 2023 (future)

Winter Term 2023 (current)

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022