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. Projects are aimed at meeting pressing needs identified by the community. In CBR community partners are viewed as co-educators and are involved in different stages of the research project, from defining the research question, to participating in its design and implementation, and shaping the final deliverable.

Students can do CBR as part of coursework during the academic year or independently during summer. In coursework, CBR can be done as a classroom assignment, a capstone, an independent study, or thesis

Why CBR?

• CBR engages students in research that leverages and deepens disciplinary knowledge, allowing students to apply it to concrete situations and challenging them to grasp the real-world nuances and complexity of issues at hand.
• CBR provides students with rich experiential learning as researchers and consultants, strengthening professional skills, while having meaningful impact in the community.

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.