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

November 21, 2014

November 20, 2014

  • Forced Migration Review issue 48 on 'Faith and responses to displacement' is now online at www.fmreview.org/faith. Included in this issue is Emily Barry-Murphy (PGG) and Max Stephenson's essay entitled 'Engaging IDPs in Sri Lanka: a Buddhist approach'

November 19, 2014

  • Recording of recent Community Voices speaker Francesco Manca's talk last month

November 17, 2014

  • Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Making Sense of the Recent Election. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
  • Congratulations to Eli Jamison (ASPECT), whose abstract entitled "Imagined Power--The Influence of Business on Alabama Immigration Politics" has been accepted for presentation at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) conference, to be held this April 16-19, 2015 in Chicago, IL. This will be the 67th national MPSA conference.

November 14, 2014

November 10, 2014

November 6, 2014

  • On Monday, November 17 from 7:00pm-8:00pm in Fralin Auditorium, Community Voices speaker Dr. Tay Keong Tan will present on "Promoting Integrity in Bhutan and Lessons for Governance in Nonprofits in the New River Valley"
  • Congratulations to Sarah Lyon-Hill (PGG), who was recently hired by the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development! As an Economic Development Specialist, she will work with communities throughout Virginia, providing technical expertise through analysis and facilitation as well as building collaborative partnerships among university, government, community and business stakeholders.

November 4, 2014

  • Congratulations to Lyusyena Kirakosyan (VTIPG Senior Project Associate) whose proposal entitled "An Ethical Framework for Qualitative Health Inquiry" was accepted for presentation at the 4th Global Congress for Qualitative Health Research, to be held this March 18-20, 2015 in Mérida, Yucatàn, Mexico.

November 3, 2014

October 30, 2014

October 29, 2014

  • How do you start or manage a nonprofit? What are the ethical challenges for directors and board members in pursuing the mission of a nonprofit? How do nonprofits balance the often competing desires of donors and beneficiaries? This class, taught next semester by Maya Berinzon (VTIPG Research Associate) will evaluate the rules that regulate the not-for-profit sector and how nonprofits navigate this space.

    (FYI: spring 2015 Web Drop/Add opens 11/29/14... the last day to add a class once the spring semester starts is 1/26/15)

October 27, 2014

  • Brad Stephens (Thriving Places Project) recently interviewed Andy Morikawa (VTIPG Fellow) on his theory of change and experience in civic organizations. Check out the blog post here.
  • Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Reflections on Democratic Leadership and Popular Exploitation. Thank you for reading and enjoy!

October 23, 2014

October 20, 2014

October 13, 2014

October 9, 2014

October 8, 2014

  • Congratulations to Rachel Christensen (VTIPG Senior Project Associate), who has been selected from amongst many applicants as one of the Emerging Scholars for ARNOVA’s 2014 Annual Conference. A committee of established scholars selects the winners of this award each year. This award recognizes the high quality and promise of Rachel's work, and also comes with a stipend for travel to ARNOVA's 43rd Annual Conference this November 20-22, 2014 in Denver, CO.

October 6, 2014

October 3, 2014

  • Next Week: "Prisoner of Her Past" -- guest lectures on trauma, PTSD and the Holocaust

    Second-generation Holocaust survivor, writer and producer Howard Reich authored the memoir "Prisoner of Her Past," which has been filmed and broadcast as a documentary under the same title by PBS. He tells the story of his upbringing in a household of Holocaust survivors, and of how his mother, Sonia Reich, finally succumbed to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in her late 60s. He traveled to Poland and the Ukraine in an attempt to reconstruct his mother's survival during the Holocaust as an orphan on the run.

    Both the book and the film deal with the Holocaust, memory, aging, post-traumatic stress, and how people surrounding the victims of violence are affected; all relevant to our community.

    During his visit to VT, Reich will give three public lectures. Here is a quick summary:
    Monday, October 6:
    4:00 to 5:30: Reading from his book "Prisoner of Her Past" and a follow-up discussion and reception in the Multipurpose Room (1st floor Newman Library).
    7:30 to 9:00: Fireside chat with Howard Reich, hosted by the German Culture Club in the Multipurpose Room (1st floor Newman Library).

    Tuesday, October 7:
    4:00 to 5:30: Screening of the documentary film "Prisoner of Her Past" (by Gordon Quinn) with a follow-up discussion with the writer and producer, Howard Reich, at the Lyric.

  • Call for Papers for: ASPECT 2015 Graduate Conference, to be held March 20-21, 2015. The theme of this year's conference is "Representations of Resistance." The three invited plenary speakers are: Nancy Love (Appalachian State University); Sam Opondo (Vassar College); and Kumi Silva (UNC-Chapel Hill). The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 14, 2014.

October 2, 2014

October 1, 2014

September 30, 2014

September 29, 2014

September 25, 2014

September 23, 2014

  • What: International Field Experience - Impact Assessment Field School session (UAP 5954)

    Where: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

    When: December 27, 2014 - January 9, 2015

    For more information please contact Jocelyn Widmer

September 22, 2014

September 19, 2014

  • Max Stephenson and Laura Zanotti will present during a panel presentation ("How to open the black box: concepts and methods to explore global science and technology") on their paper, "Exploring the Nexus of Aesthetics, Agency and Peacebuilding" at the 56th ISA Annual Convention to be held February 18-21, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

September 18, 2014

September 16, 2014

  • On the weekend of February 6-8, 2015, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech will present its third student research symposium. Keynote Speaker Timothy Phillips, Founder of Beyond Conflict, will lead a workshop for students on Saturday, February 7th. Posters and workshops are encouraged as well as traditional paper presentations. Symposium participants may be undergraduate or graduate students studying any academic discipline. Proposals are due on December 14, 2014. For more information, please email cpsvp@vt.edu.

September 15, 2014

September 11, 2014

  • The next RE: Reflections and Explorations of the semester has been posted: Ecological re-enlivenment and the role of the arts in community development – by Sarah Halvorson-Fried (MURP)
  • Interested in gaining international field experience in environmental, public health, social matters, and more? Click here to read more about a 2014 Winter Session in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (the dates of the session are 12/27/14 - 1/9/15)

September 8, 2014

September 5, 2014

  • The latest issue of SPECTRA: The ASPECT journal (Vol. 3, No. 2) is now available. This is a special issue on Hannah Arendt: Fifty Years after Eichmann in Jerusalem. This issue also features an essay written by Max Stephenson, "When Empathy Withers."
  • CityWorks (X)po is less than 4 weeks away! Recently added to the lineup is Duron Chavis, a coordinator of innovative and dynamic initiatives on the topics of poverty, urban agriculture, and food security.

    (X)po is an annual interactive summit of people involved in and passionate about the work of creating vibrant, dynamic, wonderful communities. Read more about (X)po here!

September 4, 2014

  • On Thursday, September 18 at 4:00pm in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theater of the Moss Arts Center, The Virginia Tech Center for the Arts is presenting "Boundaries and Bridges" with Monkey House Concerts. The event features a show and panel discussion with two bands - one Pakistani (Khumariyaan) and one American (The Boston Boys), who will share their stories and their passion to perform using traditional instruments to preserve and push the limits of the music they make (click here for more info)

September 3, 2014

September 2, 2014

August 28, 2014

  • Maya Berinzon (VTIPG Research Associate) had her article entitled Copy and Paste: Transplanting International HIV/AIDS Model Laws into African Countries accepted for publication in the winter edition of the Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, a top-ranked law journal featuring Articles, Case Comments, and student Notes covering a variety of cutting-edge international and comparative law topics.

August 26, 2014

  • Max Stephenson and Lyusyena Kirakosyan had their paper entitled “Investigating the Nexus of Cultural Development, Peacebuilding and ‘Local Ownership:’ The Case of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland,” accepted for presentation at the 10th International Conference of the Arts in Society, to be held July 22-24, 2015 in London, England.

August 25, 2014

August 22, 2014

  • Lindy Cranwell (PGG; Director of International & Graduate Education) had her proposal entitled Breaking Barriers for STEM Study Abroad accepted for presentation at the Region VIII Conference for NAFSA: International Educators, to take place this November 4-7 in Williamsburg, VA. Lindy and colleague Kara Lattimer (Civil & Environmental Engineering) will present on the topic together, discussing what it takes to create and sustain a successful study abroad program for STEM students.

August 18, 2014

August 11, 2014

August 5, 2014

  • Sabith Khan (PGG) recently had his paper proposal, The Fall of Religious Communitarian and the Rise of the Ethical Humanitarian? : A case for re-thinking the ‘identification model’ of philanthropy, accepted for presentation at AMEPPA’s 3rd Global Conference on Public Policy and Administration in the Middle East, December 5 – 6, 2014 in Beirut, Lebanon.

August 4, 2014

  • Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: On “Tolerance” and Preserving Democratic Possibility.. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
  • Max Stephenson recently presented a paper, “A Comparative Analysis of Efforts to Encourage Participatory Possibility in Three Fields of Development Action,” at the 11th International Society for Third Sector Research conference, held from July 22-25 in Münster, Germany.

July 23, 2014

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

July 8, 2014

  • Lyusyena Kirakosyan, VTIPG Senior Project Associate, recently had her article entitled "Affirmative action quotas in Brazilian higher education Analyzing claims and implications" published in the Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 8 No. 2.

July 7, 2014

July 3, 2014

  • Coauthors Maya Berinzon and Ryan Briggs (Assistant Professor, Political Science) had their paper entitled "Plus Ça Change: An Examination of Legal Codes in French West Africa" accepted for presentation at the African Studies Association annual conference to be held this November 20-23, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. "The 57th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association offers a unique opportunity for scholars across diverse fields to critically examine the locations of violence in Africa’s past, present and future, and the creative responses to these forms and sites of violence, including new opportunities for reconstruction."

July 1, 2014

  • Max Stephenson's latest Tidings quarterly reflection has been posted: On the Challenge of Studying the Confluence of Policy and Governance.

    Note to readers: This, the 25th Tidings, is the last that will appear in this way. When I began writing this column the Institute did not publish a quarterly newsletter, nor did I write a weekly Soundings commentary. It appears appropriate now to offer Tidings, which will continue, as the Director’s reflection in our future newsletters. Thank you to all of you who have read these columns during the last several years. I hope you will continue to do so under its new banner. MOS


News Archive | Awards




Upcoming Events

Saturday, November 29 - spring 2015 Web Drop/Add opens

Tuesday, December 2, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Newman Library Multipurpose Room (1st floor around the corner from the coffee shop) - ASPECT affiliate faculty authors book presentation session, discussion, & signing

Fall 2014 Science and Technology in Society Seminar Schedule

Blogs & Commentaries


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


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

Thriving Places Project

This project shares ideas for change, and provides resources for people interested in making positive changes in their community.

RE: Reflections and Explorations

A graduate student commentary.

Patrick in Macedonia

Master's International Program Student, Patrick Burke, shares his Peace Corps experiences in Macedonia.