Introduction to the Community-Academic Research Alliance

The Community-Academic Research Alliance is a Community-Based Research Initiative that supports research partnerships between Washington and Lee University and non-profits in the Rockbridge area to address pressing community challenges. These partnerships aim simultaneously to mobilize the community for responsible social change, lay the foundation for a healthy community, and advance the education of Washington and Lee students.

What is Community-Based Research?

Community-based research (CBR) is collaboration between researchers and community members in the design and implementation of research projects aimed at meeting community-identified needs.  In the community-based model, academic and community members work together to identify research issues, develop research designs, collect data, write up results, and work with policy makers and practitioners in designing and executing effective responses. This research is action-oriented.

What can the program do for you?

The CBR office aims to support community members, faculty, and students in various ways:

  • Helping community agencies to identify questions or projects that when answered will help them better accomplish their missions and improve service delivery;
  • Connecting the research needs of the community with appropriate and effective University researchers;
  • Assisting faculty to  connect with community partners and their research needs to benefit the education of students;
  • Providing resources, promising practices, and organizational structures that strengthens community-University research partnerships;
  • Documenting and maintaining a database of current research needs and past research projects;
  • Advising students as they develop action-oriented activities based on  their research, including policy briefs, service projects, programming, and awareness campaigns;
  • Hosting and facilitating community forums to communicate research findings.

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