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Center for Local Governments

Center for Local Governments: Connecting, Collaborating and Creating Solutions


The Center for Local Governments, housed in the Political Science Department, was formed in 1988, as a collaboration between Western Kentucky University (WKU) and the Barren River Area Development District (BRADD).  We seek to connect, collaborate, and create solutions with local governments in our service region.

 The goals of the Center are to:

  • facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between WKU faculty and local government officials that provides applied research and practical assistance to meet the needs of local governments in our region.
  • provide opportunities for students to gain practical local government experience through working directly with local public officials to provide public goods and services.
  • enhance understanding of ways the University and local governments can collaborate to improve efficiency and effectiveness of service provision to citizens in the region. 


Benefits of partnering through the Center for Local Governments include:

  • single point of contact to coordinate resources between area local governments and university resources
  • practical research opportunities for WKU faculty in a variety of disciplines
  • expert assistance for community leaders with activities that include training and human resource development, strategic planning, grants assistance, and program evaluation
  • network to provide qualified WKU students with practical work experience through local government internships

The Center for Local Government contributes to WKU’s stated purpose to encourage “engaged research and public service in support of economic development” and to directly support “constituents in its designated service areas of Kentucky with professional and technical expertise.” Potential services and activities include:

Professional development training and workshop opportunities such as:

  • Grants – how to research grants opportunities, how to prepare grant proposals, reviewing grant proposals, and grants administration
  • Workforce development training – enhancing soft skills for public administrators, customer service, conflict management, leadership
  • Ethics – developing a code of ethics, enhancing ethical culture in organizations, ethics compliance
  • Budgeting and Financial Management – budget formats, internal/external control mechanisms, budgets as policy documents

Applied research activities such as:

  • Human Resource Management Assistance – compensation studies, job description development
  • Citizen Engagement – survey construction and administration, public opinion polling
  • Program Evaluation – impact analysis, implementation analysis, outcomes evaluation

The Center for Local Governments strives to:

Promote civic engagement and citizen participation in local government and encourage diverse stakeholders to voice their concerns.

Identify and advise on community issues to help local governments to make informed policy choices and leverage resources to address community issues effectively and efficiently.

Identify multiple constituencies to ascertain diverse perspectives on community and regional issues.

Garner political support to encourage collaboration rather than competition among local governments and nonprofits.

Establish a forum for collaboration and intergovernmental cooperation that leads to regional problem solving. 

For more information or to request assistance, please contact Dr. Scott Lasley, Political Science Department Head and Director of the Center for Local Governments, at scott.lasley@wku.edu.


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 Last Modified 8/11/22