City of Winston-Salem University

City of Winston-Salem University gives citizens a better understanding of city government, including the responsibilities of various city departments and the city’s role in the community.

Students are chosen through an application process. Class size is limited. It is a FREE, 12-week course which meets once a week on Thursdays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Classes are held at City Hall and various other locations. Next session begins January 30, 2020. REGISTRATION IS OPEN (printable version)


Topics include:


  • Attend 10 out of 12 sessions (cannot miss more than 2 classes)
  • *Attend at least one City Council OR Council Committee meeting
  • *Complete a ride along with the Winston-Salem Police Department (requires a background check ); OR with the Winston-Salem Fire Department
  • *Complete a group budget project
  • *Participate in one of the following group tours: Utilities Division facility (Elledge Wastewater Treatment Plant, or Hanes Mill Landfill); bonds project tour; or shadow a City Link agent.
    *Denotes outside of class time


2019 CWSU graduates

Back row: Mary Clark-Jackson, Ben Hodge, George Redd, Mackenzie Cates Allen, Joe Cassidy, Terry Zhu, Sandra Keeney
Second row: Jean Alsup, Melissa Vickers, Pam Webb, Artenia Boyce, Santiago Ramos, Bonny Bernat, Jaquae Perkins, Shakira Bethea, Skip Skipper
Front row: Kanika Brown, Linda Hill, Sue Spainhour (program coordinator), Money Cannon, Nicole Howard

Class of 2019 TESTIMONIALS

"The experience of CWSU gave me a greater appreciation of everything the city provides it’s residents. It was also very helpful to place names with faces in each department. It is very worth the time and effort each participant puts forth. I loved it!" - Jean Alsup

"City of Winston Salem university is a phenomenal experience. I wish everyone in the city could experience it. I learned so much, and met some of the best people that I had never met. I highly, highly recommend it." - Mackenzie Cate-Allen

"I have lived in other cities and learning how they operate was like assembling a bike fresh out of the box. CWSU, on the other hand, provides information you can use, share, and be proud of. Valuable tool." - Mary Clark-Jackson

"I loved my CWSU experience! Not only did I learn more about our beautiful city, but I made some new friends along the way. Our class was diverse and , in my option, a real cross-section of the city’s population. I wish that there were a “master’s program” follow-up!" - Linda Hill

"This program is the best way for people to develop an understanding and appreciation for how our great city operates now and how it plans to build on its successes for an even better future. Through the many opportunities to see, hear, meet city staff and officials, ask questions, and dialogue with your classmates, you will become a more informed citizen who is better empowered to add to the quality of life and governance in Winston-Salem. CWSU is a wonderful gift to the city and its citizens." - Ben Hodge

"CWSU awarded citizens the opportunity to become entrenched in the various facets of city government. The course bestows knowledge on who, what, when, where, and how all things Winston-Salem city services. Much appreciation given to the instructors who shared their institutional knowledge to the class of 2019 with the charge for us to share with friends and family." - Phil Skipper

"CWSU was such an eye opening experience. It really made me appreciate the city of Winston-Salem on a deeper level. I have lived here since I was in second grade but had no idea what it takes to make a city like ours tick. Learning about of all the city departments and their responsibilities was invaluable and I can now go out into the community and help educate others. If you have a desire to know more about the inner workings of your hometown, I highly recommend you apply, you will not be disappointed!" - Melissa Vickers

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