The 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:
Latest News & Events
April 18, 2014
The next RE: Reflections and Explorations for the semester has been posted: From Hobby to Business: Beauty-Fashion Blogging on YouTube by Sofia Rukhin (Sociology).
April 14, 2014
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: On Fear, Killing, Torture and Rationalization. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
Congratulations to Lyusyena Kirakosyan, whose article entitled "Violence Practiced against Disabled Brazilians as an Issue of Sustainable Development" was accepted for publication, with minor revisions, to the Disability Studies Quarterly journal. In her article, Lyusyena analyzes the forms of violence that affect disabled Brazilians and the relationships and institutions that create and sustain them and evaluate the government’s key current strategies aimed at addressing violence against disabled Brazilians. Her purpose is to suggest ways in which violence against disabled Brazilians can be addressed in public policies as a sustainable development issue in the post-2015 era, and thus help close the “gap” between disabled and nondisabled populations to create truly sustainable democratic societies.
April 10, 2014
The next RE: Reflections and Explorations for the semester has been posted: When Compassion Hurts: Self Care For Queer Activists of Color by Natasha Cox (Human Development).
Congratulations to Eric Hodges (Ph.D.; PGG), who has accepted a position at the University of South Florida-Sarasota as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.
April 8, 2014
The next RE: Reflections and Explorations for the semester has been posted: Mythology and moorings: Science surveys in cultural context by Cory Brunson (Ph.D., Mathematics).
April 7, 2014
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: The Uses and Misuses of Rhetoric. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
April 4, 2014
- Congratulations to Veronica Arroyave (Ph.D.; PGG), who has been selected to receive the 2014 Richard E. Zody Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (GG track). Veronica will be recognized at SPIA's awards reception on April 7 at the University Club in Blacksburg from 4:00pm-6:00pm. She will receive a certificate and will also be awarded $250.
April 3, 2014
The latest VTIPG quarterly newsletter has been posted, Volume 3, Issue 2. Thank you to all who were a part of putting this together, and thank you for reading!
April 2, 2014
- Max Stephenson and Laura Zanotti presented their paper (also co-authored by Marcy Schnitzer) entitled "Biopolitical and disciplinary Peacebuilding: Sport, reforming bodies and rebuilding societies in the new millennium" at the 2014 International Studies Association conference held March 26-29 in Toronto, Canada. The theme of this year's conference was "Spaces and Places: Geopolitics in an Era of Globalization."
April 1, 2014
Max Stephenson's latest Tidings quarterly reflection has been posted: Privatism and its Discontents. This 24th Tidings marks six years of publication. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
- The Virginia Tech Department of Philosophy continues its Philosophy Colloquium series on Monday, April 7 with speaker Alfred Nordmann (Professor of Philosophy and History of Science and Technoscience at Darmstadt Technical University) who will give a talk entitled "Working Knowledge: Imagining Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" The talk will take place in Torgerson 1020 at 5:30pm
March 31, 2014
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: The Puzzle of Malignant Social Fantasies. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
March 27, 2014
The next RE: Reflections and Explorations for the semester has been posted: Financing Higher Education: The Cost and Debt Dilemmas—and Possible Solutions by Jerald H. Walz (PhD candidate in Higher Education).
March 26, 2014
- Congratulations to Anna Erwin (PGG), whose paper entitled "Habermas and the Food Justice Movement: Opportunities and Barriers for the southern United States" was recently accepted for presentation at the 2014 Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) / Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS) Conference, to take place this June 18-22, 2014 at the University of Vermont. This annual collaborative conference provides opportunities to engage with scholars, students, food activists, and enthusiasts on topics - local to global - that impact our contemporary food system.
March 25, 2014
Congratulations to Eric Hodges, Ph.D., on successfully defending his dissertation yesterday, entitled "'Creating better Citizens?' Investigating U.S. Marine Corps Basic Training Didactic Aspirations, Pedagogical Strategies and their Implications for Citizenship." His committee members include James Dubinsky (English), Karen Hult (Political Science and CPAP), Bruce Pencek (University Libraries), and Max Stephenson (VTIPG Director) serves as committee chair. Hodges is the 21st IPG-affiliated student to complete a doctorate since the institute was established on July 1, 2006.
March 24, 2014
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Presence and Absence and Democratic Agency. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
Congratulations to Drs. Jocelyn Widmer (UAP) and Alina Baciu and Nirupa Goel (Institute of Medicine/National Research Council) whose paper entitled “Vitamins for the 21st Century: Valuing Design as a Tool for Primary Prevention” has been accepted for presentation at an upcoming summit held at The American Institute of Architects this April 23-24, 2014. Their paper will also be included in an event book to be published after the summit.
Congratulations to Lyusyena Kirakosyan, whose article titled "Affirmative Action Quotas in Brazilian Higher Education: Analyzing Claims and Implications” will be published in the Journal for Multicultural Education, forthcoming June edition, Vol. 8 (2). The article examines the underlying assumptions and implications of Brazil’s adoption of affirmative-action quotas for higher education in 2012. The article concludes that, good intentions notwithstanding, this policy measure has only limited potential to correct the historical injustices at which it is aimed.
- The proposal submission deadline for the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM)'s 2014 International Conference is Monday, March 31. This year's theme is around The Decline of the Middle Classes Around the World and is designed to attract a worldwide audience, including academics and professionals from various universities, think tanks, agencies, nonprofits, and the private sector. The conference will take place this September 29-30, 2014 in Madrid. APPAM is dedicated to improving public policy and management by fostering excellence in research, analysis, and education.
March 18, 2014
Congratulations to Anna Erwin (PGG), whose abstract entitled "Habermas and the Food Justice Movement: Opportunities and Barriers for the southern United States" has been accepted for a poster presentation at the 20th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM). The goal of this annual symposium is to promote learning and discussion at the interface of social issues, natural resource management, and policy.
March 17, 2014
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: The Democratic Fable of ‘The People’ as Unaccountable Innocents. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
March 13, 2014
Lyusyena Kirakosyan (VTIPG postdoctoral research resident scholar) had her article entitled "Exploring Strategies for Citizen-driven Civic Creativity in Small Communities: The Challenge and Potential of Civic Creativity" accepted with revisions to the International Journal of the Civic, Political, and Community Studies. This article was originally written for the Community Voices Research Series last May about appreciative inquiry and Floyd, Pine Lake and McDowell County's efforts in civic creativity. Lyusyena will also present a multimedia version of this article virtually at the 12th International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, June 11-13, 2014.
Congratulations to Damion Blake (Adjunct Professor, Virginia Tech Department of Political Science), who has accepted a position at Elon University as Assistant Professor of Politics, teaching International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Caribbean politics in the Department of Political Science and Policy Studies. Damion will also serve in the University's Peace and Conflict Studies Association.
March 11, 2014
- Jennifer Alexander (Associate Professor, College of Public Policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio) will be speaking on "The Contributions of Nonprofits to Democratic Administration: Historic Roots and Contemporary Challenges" this Tuesday, March 18 at Thomas-Conner House, 104 Draper Road at 4:00pm.
March 10, 2014
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: When Empathy Withers. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
- VTIPG would like to congratulate Eli Jamison (ASPECT), who has been selected as the 2014 Outstanding Interdisciplinary Doctoral Student by an honorifics committee (served by Max Stephenson, who is on Eli's PhD committee, as well as Barbara Ellen who serves as committee chair). Eli will be recognized at the Graduate Education Week Awards Banquet on Thursday, March 27, and will also receive a $500 honorarium. Congratulations Eli!
Congratulations to Sabith Khan (PGG), whose abstract entitled "Modernity, Zakat and discourses of Philanthropy: The case of American Muslim NGOs" has been accepted for presentation at the 2014 Global Donors Forum (GDF) to take place April 14-16, 2014 in Washington, DC.
March 7, 2014
- The Virginia Tech Department of Philosophy announces this year's Ethics Week speaker, John Christman (Professor of Philosophy, Political Science and Women's Studies at Penn State), who will speak on the topic of "Professional Ethics: from the personal to the political and back again." The talk will be held in 313 Seitz Hall at 4:00pm on Thursday, March 20. Reception to follow.
- The Virginia Tech Department of Philosophy continues its Philosophy Colloquium series on Friday, March 21 with speaker Sahar Akhtar (UVA) who will give a talk entitled "What's Wrong With Benign Apartheid?" The talk will take place in Lavery 335 at 3:00pm.
March 6, 2014
The next RE: Reflections and Explorations for the semester has been posted: The Rhetoric of “Food Deserts” by Sarah Halvorson-Fried (MURP).
- The 2014 ASPECT Graduate Conference, "Critical Ecologies: Digital Habitats, Material Governance, and Global Inequalities" is just around the corner. The conference will take place this March 21-22, 2014 at Squires Student Center. A preliminary program is available on the ASPECT website.
March 5, 2014
Congratulations to Glenn Orr, Ph.D., on successfully defending his dissertation yesterday, entitled “Understanding Multi-State, Stakeholder Directed Corridor Coalition Building: An Interstate-81 Case Study” in the Public Administration and Public Affairs (PAPA) program. His committee members include Max Stephenson (VTIPG Director), Karen Hult (Political Science/CPAP), Matt Dull (CPAP-NCR), Jim Wolf (Emeritus, CPAP-NCR), and Larkin Dudley (Emerita, CPAP) serves as committee chair.
March 3, 2014
- Sabith Khan (PGG) has written a review of recent Community Voices speakers Drs. Ben Knapp, Ivica Icu Bukvic, Liesl Baum and Aki Ishida. It can be found here.
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Democratic Sovereignty is no Guarantor of Freedom. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
March 1, 2014
- Congratulations to Anna Erwin (PGG), whose paper proposal entitled "Habermas and the Food Justice Movement: Opportunities and Barriers for the southern United States" was accepted for presentation at the 2014 Canadian Association for Food Studies (CAFS) conference, to be held this year from May 24-27 in St. Catharines, Ontario.
February 28, 2014
Congratulations to Kristin Kirk (PGG), who successfully qualified for the PhD program in Planning Governance and Globalization (PGG). Her committee includes Tom Sanchez (UAP), Chris Zobel, (Business Information Technology), Jason Kelly (Political Science), Alan Abrahams (Business Information Technology), and Max Stephenson as the committee chair.
- Morocco's Grassroots Movements
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Ambler-Johnston Great Room
Lotfi Lamrani is a key activist in the network of grassroots movements working on a variety of fronts to improve daily life in Morocco. He'll be talking about his experiences and about opportunities for international students to study and engage in Morocco [ event flyer ].
February 27, 2014
The next RE: Reflections and Explorations for the semester has been posted: Musings on Military Contracting and the Challenge of Alterity by Chris Price (Master’s Candidate Public and International Affairs).
- A revised schedule for the spring 2014 ASPECT working paper series has been posted - please click here for details.
February 24, 2014
Max Stephenson and Laura Zanotti will give a presentation as a part of the Visible Scholarship Initiative this March 4 from 2:00pm-4:00pm, Newman Library, 2nd floor. Their presentation will feature their recent book, Building Walls and Dissolving Borders. Please click here to learn more about VSI displays from previous years.
- Congratulations to Eric Hodges (PGG), whose paper was accepted for presentation at the Student Veteran Summit to be held May 20-22, 2014 in Buffalo, NY. The summit will explore the "nexus between the two major factors contributing to student veteran success: academic supports and practical/functional conditions."
- Mike Bugason (Advisor to the African Union Special Envoy on LRA issues) will visit Virginia Tech on March 6 to give a talk on "Brokering Peace and Reconciliation in Central Africa" as a part of Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences' speaker series on Human Rights, Reconciliation, and Community Resiliency. His talk will take place at 7:00pm at Fralin Auditorium. Please click here for more details.
- The latest issue of the Public Knowledge Journal has been published - Volume 5, Issue 1, on "Resilience."
- Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: The Policy Consequences of Democratic Paranoia and Delusion. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
Thursday, April 24 - Community Voices Speaker John Ferguson
Friday, April 25 - IPG spring semester film series - "Even in the Rain" - 4:00pm, IPG 205 W. Roanoke St. Conference Room
Tuesday, April 29 - public discussion on "Gun Violence in America" - 7:30-9:30pm, Blacksburg Community Center Multipurpose Room, 725 Patrick Henry Drive
Blogs & Commentaries
weekly commentary from the Director of IPG, Max Stephenson Jr.
quarterly reflection from the Director of IPG, Max Stephenson Jr.
Master's International Program Student, Patrick Burke, shares his Peace Corps experiences in Macedonia.