Rebecca Scott, a community planner with regional knowledge and experience, is the new director of the Western Carolina University’s Local Government Training Program. She will also serve as assistant director of WCU’s Public Policy Institute.
The Local Government Training Program provides assistance and leadership instruction to public officials and staff, while the Public Policy Institute aims to create more effective regional policies and empower local communities. Both are part of the WCU Department of Political Science and Public Affairs.
Scott’s appointment was announced by Chris Cooper, professor and head of the department. A Sylva resident, she replaces Vickey Wade, who recently retired as longtime director of the Local Government Training Program.
“Becca is well-respected in the region and a great fit for both of these positions,” said Cooper. “Vickey directed the program for 22 years and did a terrific job. She left us poised for the future. Our first step was to merge the responsibilities of Local Government Training Program director and Public Policy Institute assistant director into one position, to be more effective with outreach for our units in the department.”
Todd Collins, institute director and department associate professor, said both provide valuable services to the region.
“While their missions are distinct, our clients, community partners and the issues of interest for each often overlap,” he said. “Combining some of the resources and projects of these two entities will allow each to build on the strengths of the other and foster more participation opportunities for regional stakeholders, faculty, staff and our students at WCU.”
Scott was most recently a community planner with the Southwestern Planning and Economic Development Commission. She is a graduate of Berea College and received her master’s degree in public affairs from WCU. She also has firsthand experience with the program, having completed numerous courses and workshops through it and UNC School of Government.
“The Local Government Training Program and the Public Policy Institute are both wonderful resources for communities in Western North Carolina, and this is a great opportunity to explore additional ways these programs can coordinate efforts as they continue to serve our region,” Scott said.
Since its inception in 1984, the Local Government Training Program has addressed training needs of public officials and personnel in WNC. The program provides UNC School of Government courses, offers workshops, seminars, consultations and video teleconferences with state officials and experts, and addresses local technical and informational needs. The annual Local Government Training Program Advisory Board meeting will be held Thursday, Sept. 17, in the library of the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information, call 828-227-3442.
By Geoff Cantrell