ipg houseThe Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance maintains an active program of empirical and theoretical research and learning linked to the Institute’s policy and governance-related domains of interest to achieve more fully democratic societies at all geographic scales. We engage in research, capacity building, technical outreach and community-based participatory inquiry with and on behalf of those we serve, principally disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

The Institute’s current research and project emphases are concentrated around these policy areas:

Child and Family Social Welfare Policy Group

Governance and Civil Society Group

Public and Community Health Group

Public Policy Data Group

Community Voices

Community Voices seeks to develop community capacity for civic dialogue that generates ideas for positive change, ideas that matter.

Latest News & Events

October 13, 2016

October 10, 2016

October 7, 2016

  • The latest VTIPG quarterly newsletter has been posted, Volume 5, Issue 4 [mobile version]. Thank you to all who were a part of putting this together, and thank you for reading!

September 26, 2016

September 22, 2016

September 20, 2016

  • Call for Submissions and Reviewers: Special Series On Communication in Transdisciplinary Science: Challenges, Perspectives, and the Future

    Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline (InformingSciJ) is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes scholarly articles that provide an understanding of the complexities in informing clientele.

    The purpose of this special issue is to document and disseminate what contemporary scholarship knows about communication in transdisciplinary scientific contexts. It is to share knowledge about the communication challenges and insights about how to promote effective communication in collaborative settings. The goal of the special series is to bring forth new ideas and perspectives on communication in collaborative contexts. Also welcomed are articles that identify and explore underrepresented topics in communication in transdisciplinary science.

    Abstract submissions (500 words) are due January 31, 2017. More information such as topic guidance can be found here.

September 16, 2016

September 12, 2016

September 8, 2016

September 1, 2016

  • Call for Papers: 2017 Annual Meeting of the Public Administration Theory Network
    Tension and Transition: The New Frontiers of Public Administration

    The Public Administration Theory Network requests papers for its 2017 Annual Conference that explore the tension between stability and possibility within the practices and theories of public administration. Panel and paper proposals that track along the conference theme and/or any of the following new frontiers within public administration are welcomed:

    • New forms and uses of technologies (biometrics, surveillance, etc)
    • Emerging and shifting definitions of identity (gender, race, class)
    • Geographic frontiers of public administration
    • Broadening research questions to counter the tendency towards research narrowness
    • The possibilities for citizen participation and engagement
    • Social movements and citizen protest
    • The tensions or complementaries between globalization and cosmopolitanism
    • (Re)negotiating the urban/rural divide
    • Secularism and religion in political practices and expressions
    • Disciplinary and interdisciplinary forms of knowledge(s)
    • Institutional practices of democracy
    The 2017 Annual Conference will be held June 1-4, 2017 in Laramie, Wyoming. The submission deadline is Monday, November 14, 2016. More information can be found on the conference flyer or the conference website.

August 31, 2016

August 30, 2016

  • David Moore (VTIPG Senior Project Associate) has assumed new responsibilities this fall as Project Director for Total Action for Progress (TAP) SwiftStart. The SwiftStart project aims to enable more working parents in southwestern Virginia to have career pathways leading to higher wage jobs by addressing barriers around participating in and completing training, and in finding and acquiring affordable, quality child care while attending skills training programs. David also continues his responsibilities as Program Director for AmeriCorps Reading Hour Program, alongside this new endeavor.

August 29, 2016

August 25, 2016

  • Twenty-five young community leaders from Africa spent six weeks at Virginia Tech this summer for intensive hands-on civic leadership training organized by the Language and Culture Insititue (LCI) in partnership with the IPG. They were part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of President Barack Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative.

    The program included visits to local community and government offices, trips to Richmond and Charlottesville, and opportunities for social engagement and community service. At the end of the program, Back and the Virginia Tech fellows joined other fellows from across the country for a presidential summit in Washington.

August 18, 2016

  • VTIPG Senior Program Director Mary Beth Dunkenberger, along with VTIPG colleague Nancy White, and former colleagues, Suzanne Lo, Holly Lesko, have published Community-Responsive Behavioral Health Research: Translating Data for Public Consumption and Decision Making Abstract in the Spring 2016 Volume of Community Development Society.

    The article was written in collaboration with Michigan State partners participating in the Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE) project. CAPE is a partnership between SAMHSA, USDA NIFA, and the Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC).

August 17, 2016

  • Virginia Tech recently hosted 25 Mandela Fellows from various countries in Africa. They attended various classes, events and local outings from June until July 30. At the end of their visit, a final Presentation/Graduation was held at the Language and Culture Institute (LCI) annex.

August 16, 2016

  • A Dialogue on Food, Farming, and Hope in Southwest Virginia met at the Draper Mercantile in Draper on August 3rd, 2016, for a community storytelling event. The Dialogue on Food, Farming, and Hope is an open opportunity to raise and discuss the critical issues of food system change in the region. This evening of storytelling focused on generating a process of individual and collective learning to keep us moving toward a viable and equitable food and farming system in southwest Virginia.

    Please view the Southwest Virginia Community Food Security Assessment Report to learn more about the process and programming of the Appalachian Virginia Food Systems Network (AVFSN) and more. Please also visit the Stories of Community Food Work initiative of the Appalachian Foodshed Project. For questions, please contact Kim Niewolny (niewolny@vt.edu) or Kelli Scott (kescott1@vt.edu).

  • Maya Berinzon (VTIPG Research Associate) and Ryan Briggs (Assistant Professor, Political Science) have recently had an article published in the American Journal of Comparative Law, the top journal in comparative law. The article, "Legal Families Without the Laws: The Fading of Colonial Law in French West Africa," uses computational methods to analyze how the criminal codes of seven former French West African colonies have shifted since decolonization. The codes have changed dramatically, calling into question claims about the persistence of colonial influence over law. The article can be accessed here.

August 15, 2016

August 12, 2016

  • Congratulations to Sarah Crowder Orren, who was recently promoted to the Director of Marketing & Events at The Blacksburg Partnership. She has been employed there since March 2014. Sarah graduated from Virginia Tech with a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations in 2010. In 2016 she received her graduate certification in Non-Profit & Non-Governmental Organization Management.

August 8, 2016

  • The Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) is currently accepting proposals for caucus sessions at the 2016 APPAM Fall Research Conference, The Role of Research in Making Government More Effective, to be held November 3-5, 2016 in Washington, DC.

    The APPAM Fall Research Conference is a multi-disciplinary annual research conference that attracts the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues. The conference is comprised of panels, roundtables, workshops, symposia, and poster presentations and is designed to encourage substantive interaction among participants.

    Proposals must include the following details:

    • Submitter information
    • Caucus title
    • Explain why the proposed caucus is beneficial to conference participants
    • The expected focus of the caucus
    • The intended audience for the caucus
    • How the caucus is topical or "cutting edge"
    • Moderator/Speaker information

    Details on submission requirements and process can be found here. Submissions will be accepted until September 9, 2016.

July 27, 2016

  • Marcy Schnitzer, Virginia Tech’s associate director for diversity strategic planning and improvement, was recently named assistant provost for diversity and strategic planning. Congratulations Marcy!

    Marcy obtained her PhD in November 2010 and was also awarded the Richard E. Zody Outstanding dissertation award in the School of Public and International Affairs for the 2010-11 year. Marcy's s dissertation was entitled "Actually Existing Democracy and Energy Justice: The Case of the Coalfields Delegation to the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development." VTIPG Director Max Stephenson served as chairperson of Marcy's doctoral advisory committee. Committee members included Carol Bailey (VT Sociology), Wolfgang Natter (Saint Bonaventure University) and Richard Rich (VT Political Science).

July 25, 2016

  • Call for Papers: 2nd Public and Political Leadership (PUPOL) conference to be held at The Open University in Milton Keynes (UK) April 6-7, 2017.

    The theme of the conference is "Leadership for Public and Social Value" and the organizers will develop a proposal for a special issue in a leading international academic journal, based on the best accepted full papers. The first conference was successfully held at Radboud University, Nijmegen (NL) in April 2016. The conference is small and provides good time for each paper to be fully discussed with colleagues.

    Abstracts (500 words) are due November 15, 2016. Informal enquiries can be made to alessandro.sancino@open.ac.uk

    For more information, click here.

July 18, 2016

July 5, 2016

  • The latest VTIPG quarterly newsletter has been posted, Volume 5, Issue 3 [mobile version]. Thank you to all who were a part of putting this together, and thank you for reading!


Blogs & Commentaries


weekly commentary from the Director of IPG, Max Stephenson Jr.


quarterly reflection from the Director of IPG, Max Stephenson Jr.

RE: Reflections and Explorations

A graduate student commentary.

Beth in Costa Rica

Master's student Beth Olberding (MURP-MIP) shares her Peace Corps experiences in Costa Rica.

Nathan in China

Master's student Nathan Corso (MIP) shares his Peace Corps experiences in China.