L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs


Office of Research and Outreach

Enhancing, promoting, and celebrating the research of Wilder School faculty and students

The Wilder School's Office of Research and Outreach aim 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, we 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.

Have customized training, research, or project needs? Click HERE to contact us! Contracting with us requires no bid or RFP for state agencies.

Research Institute for Social Equity (RISE)

Updated RISE logoThe Research Institute for Social Equity (RISE) serves as a vehicle to advance racial equity and social justice through multidisciplinary scholarship, research, training, and engagement. RISE aims to be the national leader in advancing social justice to inform public policy, governance and practice to improve conditions for marginalized voices within our society, including communities of color, LGBTQIA individuals, people with disabilities, incarcerated populations, survivors of domestic violence, and women.

Center for Urban and Regional Analysis

A professor delivers a lectureThe Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA) partners with towns, cities, regions, state agencies, and nonprofits to conduct economic development studies, evaluate policies and programs, and build decision support systems with user-friendly data dashboards for visualization. CURA works to identify strategies and solutions for the most pressing socioeconomic issues, including affordable housing, workforce development, industry cluster targeting, and more.

The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute

A group walks toward the cameraThe Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute promotes the development of current and emerging leaders in academic institutions, other public, private, and nonprofit organizations, and communities. Consistent with the mission of VCU, the Institute is committed to identifying and nurturing the next generation of leaders through leadership training and public policy research.

Land Use Education Program

A professor oversees a group discussion outsideThe Land Use Education Program (LUEP) offers a range on online, blended, and face-to-face training opportunities for local government officials, professional planners, and interested citizens. Programs include our nationally-recognized Certified Planning Commissioner and Certified Board of Zoning Appeals Programs, legal seminars, seminars and workshops on special topics, and customized trainings.

The Division of Research and Outreach

A professor speaks to a rotary clubThe Division of Research and Outreach leads the effort to create effective public policy in Virginia by connecting local and state policymakers to academic experts within VCU through the Translational Research Fellows Program. It also conducts public policy polls multiple times per year to provide policymakers and the public with an up-to-date snapshot of public opinion in Virginia, and engages in community outreach activities with Girl Scouts, homeschool groups, Rotary Clubs, and others.

Performance Management Group

New imageThe Performance Management Group (PMG) provides fresh insight, proven tools and techniques, and the skilled staff needed to meet individual and organizational objectives. PMG provides a wide array of customized consulting services to assist organizations in the development of strategies and practical action plans for enhanced performance. PMG also offers an integrated series of professional development institutes that develop critical skills at the supervisory, management, and senior leadership levels.  


Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory

The Richmond skyline at nightThe Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory (SERL) has been creating collaborative research and evaluation partnerships with public and private entities at the local and state levels since 1982. SERL’s overall mission is to examine public issues and social problems through applied research and evaluation techniques to broaden and improve public discourse and decision-making.

Equity and Diversity Projects

Dr. Hayley Cleary, Sen. Rosalyn Dance, Del. Steve Landes converseThe Wilder School and the Center for Public Policy have a long history of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community and across Virginia. Through offerings in research, training, and leadership, we leverage the expertise of Center for Public Policy faculty and researchers as we work with state and local governments, as well as with businesses and nonprofits, to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive commonwealth. Click here to learn more about this work.

Portrait photo of Secretary of Public Safety Brian J. Moran

"The Office of Research and Outreach 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 them 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, former Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security