Center for Public Policy

Research and consultation within the Wilder School is conducted largely through our Center for Public Policy, a multidisciplinary organization serving VCU and its surrounding communities. Established in 1994, the center comprises seven divisions that provide a wide variety of services to diverse clients both within and outside of the university community. These include professional development and leadership training, survey design and implementation, economic research, transportation safety planning, education and homeland security policy analysis. The center’s seven divisions and core responsibilities are outlined below.

Performance Management Group

The Performance Management Group addresses special training, research and technical-assistance needs of government and nonprofit organizations in Virginia. PMG fulfills its mission by designing and arranging a variety of activities such as training programs, conferences, colloquia, seminars, technical consultations, survey research, data management and analysis. It is committed to meeting the needs of its clients by tailoring programs to identified needs, by maintaining a competitive fee structure and by offering flexibility in scheduling and site delivery.

Contact the director of the Performance Management Group, James Burke.

Transportation Safety Training Center

The Transportation Safety Training Center helps Virginia’s local and state transportation safety agencies and organizations attain their transportation safety goals through training, curriculum development and technical assistance. The center’s clients include local police and sheriff’s offices, policy training academies, fire departments, hospitals and other related groups. The center is also the home to the Virginia Crash Investigation team, collects data from selected highway crashes and collects data which is later used by highway safety professionals to improve the driving environment for citizens of Virginia.

Contact the director of the Transportation Safety Training Center, James Burke.

The Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory

The Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory is the applied-research arm of the Center for Public Policy, conducting surveys and providing research and evaluation support for governmental units, public and private nonprofit agencies, the mass media, and VCU’s faculty and administration. Through polls, specialized survey research projects, community-based capacity-development programs and other research activities, SERL researchers work directly with clients to determine how to best conduct high-quality research in the most time-efficient, cost-effective way.

Contact the director of SERL, Susan White.

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute helps to promote the development of current and emerging leaders in public, private and nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and communities. The institute is committed to identifying and nurturing the next generation of leaders who will impact public policies and institutions.

Contact the director, Susan Gooden.

Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute

The Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute is a joint venture between the VCU School of Education and Center for Public Policy. Committed to the expansion of public dialogue and participation in the important issues facing K-12 public education, CEPI provides research, analysis, training and service to education policymakers, school systems, citizens and the larger education community.

Contact the director of CEPI, William Bosher.

Virginia Center for Urban and Regional Development

The Virginia Center for Urban and Regional Development provides economic research, policy analysis, statistical modeling and economic impact studies for business and government clients. Originally created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1992, the VCURD brings together policymakers, business leaders and community groups to focus on cooperative approaches to revitalizing Virginia’s urban areas.

Contact John Accordino for more information.

Commonwealth Poll

The Commonwealth Poll is a public opinion survey of Virginia residents. Established in 1985, the poll serves as a barometer for upcoming elections, regularly addressing public-policy issues facing the state. Each survey is administered by telephone with a randomly selected sample of adult Virginians. Custom-designed questions can also be added to the Commonwealth Poll in order to meet specific needs of a client. Interviewing is conducted by a staff of professionally trained, paid interviewers using computer-assisted telephone interviewing software.

National Homeland Security Project

Housed within VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, the National Homeland Security Project (NHSP) conducts research on policy and management issues related to the preparedness, response and recovery programs of state and local governments. Previous research activities have focused on process consultations of preparedness programs, comparative analyses of social equity indicators as evidenced by municipal emergency operations plans and collaborative cross-jurisdictional relationships.

Faculty associated with the NHSP engages in a variety of funded research projects in their areas of specialization. These activities support the work of policy makers and practitioners and provide invaluable opportunities for Wilder School students to work closely with field experts while engaging in professional practice. Additionally, the NHSP generates education products designed to increase public awareness and understanding of homeland security.

For more information on the NHSP, contact NHSP Director, Jason K. Levy.