As a regionally engaged university, WCU embraces its role as both a steward of the
unique place that is Western North Carolina and as a catalyst for economic and community
development. Partnerships with regional businesses and industries, nonprofit and civic
organizations, government agencies, communities, and municipalities represent an integral
part of WCU’s core mission.
Whether it is creating public-private partnerships in healthcare, business and technology;
training civic leaders and investigating public policy; or bringing regional leaders
together to focus attention and action on strategies for moving the region forward,
WCU’s faculty, staff and, most importantly, its students continue to position the
university as a leader of regional development.
Our efforts Include:
The Millennial Campus combines academic excellence and regional economic development
that provides not only services and job opportunities for the people of the region,
but also promotes exciting new educational opportunities for students and faculty
and expands the university’s partnership opportunities with the private sector.
The LEAD:WNC series, including special LEAD:TOURISM and LEAD:INNOVATION conferences,
brings together economic development experts, forecasters, business development specialists,
corporate executives, entrepreneurs, elected and appointed leaders, non-profit administrators
and more to examine the challenges that lie ahead for our region and to explore solutions
both imagined and realized.
Public Policy Institute
Founded in 1999 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan, independent research and outreach organization,
the PPI aims to empower the Western North Carolina region to effectively manage real
policy problems by mobilizing students, community leaders, faculty, and citizens to
discuss and develop viable policy options to create more effective policies.
Local Government Training Program
Since its inception in 1984, the Local Government Training Program (LGTP) has addressed
the training needs of public officials and personnel in the 26 westernmost counties of North Carolina. The LGTP brings courses from the UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill to the
western part of the state.
Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
WCU’s Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) helps entrepreneurs create
and sustain vibrant businesses that generate jobs, grow our region's economy and create
opportunities that retain high potential entrepreneurs, talent and intellect in our
Center for the Study of Free Enterprise
The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise (CSFE) seeks to provide economics research and thought leadership focused on issues in economic
development in our region, North Carolina and beyond.
The Rapid Center
The Rapid Center (formerly the Center for Rapid Product Realization) help clients refine existing products, develop new ones and improve business practices.
Industry-experienced faculty and staff work with business partners to address their specific needs and to remove obstacles to product commercialization
and process improvement.