Our Mission

Recognizing the challenges of 21st century governance, we deliver public impact research and multi-sector leadership development to build the capacity of Virginia's communities, organizations, and institutions to serve the Commonwealth.

UVA Rotunda

Cooper Center Recognized by UVA President, Jim Ryan

The Cooper Center's economic impact study of higher education in Virginia earns Jim Ryan's praise: "I am grateful to the Weldon Cooper Center for their great work in helping us better understand our impact..."

Virginia Beach

UVA Today: Cooper Center releases new population projections

The Virginia Population Projections for 2030-2050 show that metro areas will grow larger while rural areas will grow older. 

UVA students on graduation day

CSR alumni survey featured in Virginia Magazine

The Virginia Magazine in consultation with the Center for Survey Research conducted a survey of undergraduate class years 2011 - 2022. 

Sign submerged in a flood

UVA helps Southside prepare for the next flood

UVA's Virginia Flood Resilience Initiative developed a roadmap to help southern Virginia areas assess their flood risks and resilience. They partnered with the Southside Planning District Commission.

Siri Russell and Molly Harlow

UVA profiles Local Government Equity Clinic

UVA's Local Government Equity Clinic was featured in Amplify, a publication of UVA's Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, for its unique and practical approach in helping local leaders operationalize equity within their work. 


Cooper Center integrates with Karsh Institute of Democracy

Known for its research and practical work benefitting the commonwealth and local governments, the Cooper Center soon will become an even more important part of UVA’s growing focus on strengthening democracy at home and abroad as it integrates into UVA’s Karsh Institute of Democracy in July.

Utility-scale solar

What communities need to know about solar arrays

Intern Irene Cox and the Energy Transition Initiative team "have crafted a report advising communities on the deal they should strike with developers – noting that decommissioning a large solar array could take months and cost more than a million dollars." Virginia Public Radio

infographic in the shape of Virginia

Where Is Virginia’s Growth Occurring?

"Virginia’s cities lost population during the pandemic, but some localities bordering metro areas grew significantly – especially those near Richmond, according to Hamilton Lombard of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service." UVA Today

HSLP participants

HSLP Applications Open: Apply Now

Sorensen Institute is now accepting applications for the High School Leaders Program. HSLP is a two-week program that takes place on the grounds of UVA. Participants who successfully complete the program earn three hours of graded college credit. Apply now.

Larry Terry headshot

Larry Terry to Lead Outreach at Penn State University

Larry D. Terry II, executive director of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, has been selected as the vice president for outreach at Penn State University. His appointment begins Jan 23, 2023.


Economic geography of Virginia

Hamilton Lombard, a demographer with the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, points out that Virginia has the largest income gap of any state in the country. In fact, 33 counties or cities in Virginia have a larger income gap with our wealthiest county than can be found in any other state.

Equity Clinic Group Photo

Apply to a Local Government Equity Clinic

The Cooper Center and the School of Data Science offer Equity Clinics for local government practitioners in Virginia to help equip them with tools to promote good governance, equity, and resiliency.

Bill Shobe headshot

Shobe's research featured in Nature Climate Change journal

The premier science journal, Nature Climate Change, featured a recently published article, Price-Responsive Allowance Supply in Emissions Markets, by Bill Shobe, Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Studies at the Weldon Cooper Center. 

Intersections in Public Service Podcast image

New Podcast on Redistricting

For the second episode in our two-part series on redistricting, two Sorensen Institute Alumni who served on Virginia’s 2020 Redistricting Commission share their insights.

Road sign emerged in water from flooding

A Team Effort to Prevent Flooding in Southside Virginia

The goal is to combine the expertise of flood management professionals and the expertise of community leaders to develope a plan for managing risks and preventing flood events in central Virginia.

Leaders Lab graphic

Leaders Lab Launches this Fall

The founders of a new leadership program aim to build a “network of doers” for the greater Charlottesville area – and they’re now recruiting participants for the first program in September. 

Amanda Batten and Monty Mason headshots
Effective leadership – through building trust and working together – is a central theme of Sorensen Institute’s flagship Political Leaders Program (PLP). The program is designed for residents of Virginia already engaged in the political, civic, business, nonprofit or governing life.
Solar panels at sunset

Virginia Solar Survey Results Released

The first of its kind in Virginia, the Virginia Solar Survey is a comprehensive questionnaire that collects data on solar readiness, policy, and solar and energy storage experience.

Big Stone Gap, Wise County

Virginia Flood Resilience Initiative

UVA Team partners with Lenowisco and Southside planning district commissions (PDCs) to assist with flood mitigation and planning efforts. 

Molly Harlow

Congratulations to Molly Harlow

After conducting a national search, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service is pleased to announce that Molly Harlow has been named the Virginia Institute of Government's Assistant Director for Leadership Development. 

Tracy Tanner Bond

Tracy Tanner-Bond retires

Tracy, most recently the office manager for the Sorensen Institute, retires after 38 years of service at the University of Virginia. 

Cooper Center Impact Report cover

Cooper Center releases its first impact report

In the midst of a global pandemic, the Weldon Cooper Center found new ways to deliver its public service mission and serve local communities. 

Adam Ashley and Tarina Ahuja, Founders of the Greater Good Initiative
Inspired by their experience in the Sorensen Institute’s High School Leaders Program (HSLP) where they were immersed in the world of policy-making, and driven by their belief that “youth voice belongs in politics and in policy,” Tarina Ahuja and Adam Ashley made the decision to start the Greater Good Initiative (GGI), a youth-led policy think tank.
SEI and LEAD logos

Apply to our newly designed leadership development programs

The Senior Executive Institute and LEAD have been redesigned to meet the needs of today's local government leaders. Learn more and apply.