Norman Walzer


Senior Research Scholar
Phone: (815) 753-0933

Norman Walzer, Ph.D. (Economics) started at CGS in 2008 after retiring as founding director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs located at Western Illinois University.  At WIU, he had served as professor and chair of the Department of Economics and then as Dean of the College of Business and Technology.

At CGS, Norm serves on the Community Work Force and Economic Development team conducting applied economic research and assisting state and local governments on policy issues.  Areas of expertise include rural community and economic development; governmental structure and local public finance; entrepreneurship in both private and public agencies; and community strategic planning/visioning. He is a past president of the Community Development Society and has published regularly in the scholarly and professional literature on these issues. His most recent research involved Community Supported Enterprises and how they preserve or expand social capital.  He advised the Department of Commerce and Community Opportunity in preparing a 5-year Statewide Economic Development Plan (2014) and led a CGS team that staffed the Governmental Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force (2015). Currently, he serves as co-chair of a working group on rural workforce development issues for the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council and continues to research best practices in governmental structure issues.

Norm is a member of the CGS staff that assists state and local agencies based on current research knowledge and practices regarding policy issues. Active participation and leadership in scholarly and professional organizations helps keep the CGS team current on best practices and allows them to engage students in professional experiences that bolster and enhance their classroom training. The applied research also supports the CGS motto of “Building Stronger Regions and Communities through Creativity, Innovation, and Collaboration” in its continuing work with local development agencies, public officials, and community leaders to help build local decision-making capacity.