Guided by these four values, the Cooper Center is reimagining what public service means, how the work is carried out, and who is included in the conversation. Through our research, leadership development programs, and local government engagement initiatives, we continue to work toward our vision of good governance, equity, and resilience in every Virginia community.

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.

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.

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. 

Amanda Batten and Monty Mason headshots

“My takeaway from the Political Leaders Program (PLP) is that regardless of where you live and your political ideology, you can always find common ground."

Amanda Batten | Delegate (96th District) | Republican


"Sorensen works to promote the civility of discourse, the congeniality of debate."

Monty Mason | Senator (1st Senate District) | Democrat

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.

Stories of Impact


We want to know the value that people find in working with us. We want to live up to that value and incorporate it in every project we undertake. Quite simply, we want our work to matter. On this page, we share with you, a collection of stories of how our work has made a difference in the lives of individuals and communities.

Through this five-year plan, the Weldon Cooper Center aims to build on our historical strengths, while joining forces with the increasingly diverse group of stakeholders and leaders working diligently to improve public life in Virginia and beyond. Through collaboration, innovation, inclusion, and attention to impact, we aim to engage the University in making the Commonwealth a national model for good governance and resilient communities. View the plan.

leaders of sorensen

Leadership Development

Practical and tested training programs and coaching to build leaders at all levels

Solar Panels

Research and Analysis

Trusted data and analysis applied to your context and questions

government people flapping their gums getting something done?

Government Support

Best practices and emerging trends identified by practitioners for practitioners


This series looks at public service through a varied lens from affordable housing to climate change to public leadership.