May 11, 2021 – Education

May 19 event will highlight how higher education can foster strong communities


Colleges, universities, and their students are an important part of the communities they reside in — enhancing the local culture, economy, and landscape. Campus-based centers also provide thought leadership and research that can help solve problems in the community.

That’s why Western Carolina University’s Center for the Study of Free Enterprise (CSFE) and Winston-Salem State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM) have made contributing to their local communities central to their mission. At an event on May 19, CSFE Director Edward Lopez and CSEM Director Craig Richardson will discuss how higher education can harness cross-disciplinary research to improve community development.

The hybrid event will be hosted in-person by the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility and streamed live online in partnership with the American Council on Education. Remote participants will be able to ask questions of the speakers and take part in live polls.

WCU is a rural university and WSSU is an urban, historically Black college. Despite the varied nature of their campuses, both institutions have found innovative ways to become a community-engaged university.

CSFE, for example, has developed ideas for how individuals and communities can grow in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides resources and opportunities for local K-12 educators, including a teacher training workshop that provides educators with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of economics. Scholars at CSEM study barriers to economic mobility in East Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, communities where low-income children face significant obstacles. Through storytelling, both centers provide insight into literacy, addressing childhood trauma in the classroom, poverty, and other issues.

The event is Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. ET. Register.