Program evaluation and applied research have become integral parts of state and federally funded programs as the government and other funding agencies have become increasingly interested in accountability and best practices. However, community-based programs are often priced out of the evaluation market dominated by large for-profit firms and university-based research centers. The Center for Applied Research (CFAR) was created to fill that void and to provide affordable research, assessment, and evaluation services to community-based organizations in the region and around the nation.
CFAR is an applied research and evaluation team based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Housed at Central Piedmont Community College, we are the first self-sustaining research center in the nation to be affiliated with a community college and as such is uniquely situated to offer insight into community-based issues. Our positioning in the college allows it to draw upon college resources and connections in the community while still maintaining its independence and working beyond the Charlotte region. We are also able to benefit from the expertise of other college staff members, particularly those in the college’s Department of Planning and Research and the Department of Institutional Effectiveness, who are also available to work on CFAR projects. CFAR functions as part of the CPCC Services Corporation, a separate 501(c)3 that serves as the entrepreneurial arm of the college.
Our motto – “Solving real world problems through quality research” – reflects our drive to contribute positively to the success of organizations by assisting them with their research, data collection and evaluation needs. Since opening in the spring of 2004, we have worked with local governments, educational institutions, businesses, and non-profit, community-based, and faith-based organizations to help them achieve their programmatic goals and have already received national recognition for our work.