Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA)

CARA — Community-Academic Research Alliance-is the community-based research (CBR) initiative of the Shepherd Program. CARA supports research partnerships between Washington and Lee University students and non-profits in the Rockbridge area to address pressing community challenges.

What is Community-Based Research (CBR)?

Community Based Research (CBR) is an action-oriented collaboration between students and community non-profits in the design and implementation of research projects. Projects are aimed at meeting pressing needs identified by the community. Students can do CBR as part of coursework or independently during summer. In coursework, CBR can be done as a classroom assignment, a capstone, an independent study, or thesis.

Why CBR?

  • CBR provides students with rich experiential learning as researchers and consultants, strengthening their professional skills;
  • CBR allows students the opportunity to apply their skills and academic knowledge to concrete situations, making a meaningful impact in the community;
  • CBR engages students in research that leverages and deepens their disciplinary knowledge, challenging them to grasp the real-world nuances and complexity of issues being studied.

Rockbridge 101
Learn more about the Rockbridge area! This guide will provide you with a brief introduction to the region, including its demographic composition, community assets and challenges, and a brief look at different impact areas, including education, health and food security, among others.
Tips and Etiquette
Community involvement can greatly enhance your educational and professional experiences as a W&L student and simultaneously allow you to make significant contributions to our large network of community partner organizations. Here are a few tips for building trust and respect with our partners in the Rockbridge area community.