L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs


Center for Public Policy

Dr. Hayley Cleary, Sen. Rosalyn Dance, Del. Steve Landes converse
Dr. Hayley Cleary, Sen. Rosalyn Dance, Del. Steve Landes converse

Expertise for Virginia’s Policymakers and Community Leaders

Your go-to resource for leadership development, impact analysis, survey insights and program evaluation.

The Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy embodies our mission to advance research and training that informs public policy and decision-making to improve our communities.

Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of Wilder School faculty, our five units provide diverse public-facing services including leadership development and training, economic and policy impact analysis, survey insights and program evaluation to clients in state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and the general public, across Virginia and beyond.


Every leader and manager understands the need for continuous improvement and the challenge of finding the time, structure and community to become the best leader possible. Through The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute (GEHLI), our Performance Management Group (PMG), and our Land Use Education Program (LUEP) we provide some of the most successful and long-running leadership development programs in the commonwealth.  Many participants have built a multi-faceted leadership development plan by attending multiple programs. Follow the links in the leadership programs dashboard below to find which opportunity is the best fit for you.



You are a(n). . .



HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Development Program

emerging or current woman leader

11 days on site over 5 months


Minority Political Leadership Institute (MPLI)

emerging or current leader focused on supporting minority communities

11 days on site over 8 months


Virginia Executive Institute (VEI)

member of the governor's staff, a cabinet secretary, an agency head or a deputy with an executive, legislative, judicial or independent agency.

10 days over two weeks


Commonwealth Management Institute (CMI)

experienced manager in Virginia state government

5 days


Experienced Supervisor’s Institute (ESI)

forward thinking supervisor, manager, or project leaders

3 days


Fundamentals for Supervisors (FFS)

new manager or team leader

3 days


Certified Planning Commissioner's Program (CPC)

planning commissioner, or an individual interested in learning more about the planning process

12 weeks (4 days in person)


Certified Board of Zoning Apppeals Program (BZA)

member or aspiring member of a board of zoning appeals, or an individual interested in learning more about zoning regulations in Virginia

12 weeks (4 days in person)




Efficient and effective policy-making requires rigorous analysis, and the most cost-effective way to ensure access to such essential decision supports can be outside research support and expertise.  Through our Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA), our Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory (SERL) and our Performance Management Group (PMG), we’re here to help with contracted services tailored to fit your budget and your context (whether business, government or nonprofit). 

Center for Urban and Regional AnalysisPerformance Management Group  Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory
  • data management and analysis services
  • business process analysis
  • customer and stakeholder focus groups
  • quality management/ISO certification
  • organizational assessment
  • quantitative survey design, data collection, analysis and reporting
  • program evaluation design and implementation
  • personal interviews, focus groups, qualitative analysis
  • data systems and maintenance

Grow Your Capacity for Impact

Growing and successful organizations are teams that constantly learn together.  Through our Center for Urban and Regional Analysis and our Performance Management Group, we provide a range of standard and custom consulting and organizational training programs, including in the following critical areas:

  • team building
  • cultural competency
  • executive coaching
  • land use education
  • strategic planning for organizations
  • strategic resource planning
  • organizational refocus process

Tackle Complex Problems

Our world is full of complex problems that no one agency, institution or locality can solve alone.  Our Wilder School Public Policy Poll, conducted regularly by the Office of Public Policy Outreach, measures public opinion on potential and existing solutions to provide policy-makers with critical feedback.   When you have a complex challenge, our training and research centers will work collaboratively with you to design solutions that can cross boundaries.  Through public Wilder School symposia and other events, we bring together experts and policy-makers to highlight innovative solutions, placing you in contact with key resources.

Portrait photo of Secretary of Public Safety Brian J. Moran

"The Center for Public Policy is a valuable partner for policymakers in Virginia. They have the broad research capacity, extensive expertise on issues and proven leadership development programs to help us confront even the most complex challenges facing our society. Working with the Center over the past several years has proven beneficial to my office and our work. I strongly encourage other policymakers to take advantage of this tremendous resource."  

Brian J. Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security