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

March 30, 2015

March 29, 2015

March 28, 2015

March 26, 2015

March 23, 2015

March 18, 2015

  • IPG affiliated master's student Beth Olberding (MURP-MIP) is in Costa Rica now in pre-service training for the Peace Corps. Beth will spend the next 2 years volunteering in the community economic development sector. Check out her blog from time to time, as she will update it when she is able!

March 17, 2015

  • Next week is Graduate Education Week. See flyer for details on events which include a Game Night, an Awards Banquet, a LinkedIn Lab, and more!

March 16, 2015

March 11, 2015

March 10, 2015

  • Rachael Kennedy (Agricultural Extension & Education) recently wrote a book review on the work 'Europeanization and Civil Society: Turkish NGOs as instruments of change?' by Markus Ketola. Rachael's book review was selected for publication in the Turkish Review!

March 9, 2015

  • Congratulations to Bryce Hoflund on recently attaining promotion and tenure (to Associate Professor) at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, School of Public Administration. Bryce was affiliated with VTIPG while pursuing her PhD at VT in the Center for Public Administration and Policy. She completed her degree in 2009.

March 3, 2015

February 27, 2015

February 26, 2015

February 25, 2015

  • Congratulations to Elizabeth (Eli) Jamison (ASPECT), who has been accepted to Virginia Tech’s Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

    The Bouchet Society commemorates Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from an American university (Physics, Yale University, 1876). Virginia Tech chartered its own chapter in 2014. The society “seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.”1 Eli is recognized as a scholar who exemplifies these characteristics.

    Eli will also be recognized at the VT Graduate School Awards Banquet on March 26, in addition to the Graduate School's sponsored travel to the society's induction ceremony at Yale University (April 10).

February 19, 2015

February 16, 2015

  • Congratulations to Christian Matheis (ASPECT), who succesfully defended his dissertation on Friday! Christian's dissertation was titled "We Who Make One Another: Liberatory Solidarity as Relational." His dissertation committee included: Dr. Brian Britt (Chair), Dr. Barbara Ellen Smith, Dr. Michael Moehler, and Dr. P.S. Polanah.
  • Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Hatred, Fear and Human Dignity. Thank you for reading and enjoy!

February 12, 2015

February 11, 2015

  • The film Little White Lie will be screened at the Lyric on Thursday, February 26, at 7:00 pm., followed by a conversation with filmmaker Lacey Schwartz.

    Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz's story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity—despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family's explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. At age of 18, Lacey finally confronts her mother and learns the truth: her biological father was not the man who raised her, but a African American man with whom her mother had had an affair. Lacey begins a quest to reconcile the hidden pieces of her life and embrace her African-American heritage. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about race, religion, and the legacy of family secrets. See more at: http://www.littlewhiteliethefilm.com/

    Immediately following the screening, filmmaker Lacey Schwartz will give a short talk and be available for questions and answers at a reception at the Community Community Arts Information Office (CAIO) gallery at 149 College Avenue at 9:00 pm. Light fare will be served.

    This event is sponsored by the Malcolm and Diane Rosenberg Program in Judaic Studies in the Department of Religion and Culture; the Dialogue on Race, a program of The Community Group/New Mountain Climbers Fund; Hillel at Virginia Tech; the Black Organizations Council; and the Black Student Alliance.

February 9, 2015

  • On Friday, February 13, Christian Matheis (ASPECT) will defend his dissertation, "We Who Make One Another: Liberatory Solidarity as Relational." Good luck Christian!
  • Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Anxiety, Willful Blindness and Democracy. Thank you for reading and enjoy!

February 5, 2015

February 3, 2015

February 2, 2015

January 29, 2015

January 27, 2015

  • Congratulations to Rachael Kennedy (Agricultural Extension & Education), whose abstract entitled "Food Policy Councils as spaces of innovation or empty ritual?" has been accepted to the University of Central Florida Public Administration Research Conference, to be held Friday, March 27, 2015 in Orlando, FL. Rachael was also awarded $300 from VT Engage as part of their “engaged scholarship” funding, which will assist with her travel expenses.

January 26, 2015

  • NACC Conference Call for Papers – Deadline Extended to February 28th, 2015

    The Nonprofit Academic Center Council (NACC) will be hosting its 2015 Conference on Nonprofit & Philanthropic Studies in Chicago at DePaul University from July 15-16, 2015. The theme is “The Meaning of ‘Nonprofitness,’ Capturing it in Research, Curriculum, & Programming.” This conference brings together academics, scholars, practitioners, and administrators from around the world to discuss, learn and share tactics and methods that support and build university-based educational programs focused on nonprofit and philanthropic studies. Topics for conversation include instruction, pedagogy, research and substantive issues in education and administration. Graduate students are also encouraged to submit.

January 25, 2015

  • The Interdisciplinary Research Honor Society (IDR) invites you to submit an abstract for the poster session during the Annual Interdisciplinary Research Day, to be held at The Inn at Virginia Tech on February 26, 2015.

    Abstracts showing an integration of interdisciplinary research are welcome in all categories! If your research integrates work from different disciplines, please consider sharing your work!

    Submission deadline is January 30, 2015. Instructions and submission form can be found here.

January 23, 2015

  • The latest VTIPG quarterly newsletter has been posted, Volume 4, Issue 1. Thank you to all who were a part of putting this together, and thank you for reading!
  • ARNOVA’s 44th Annual Conference, November, 2015 in Chicago, IL - Call for Participation: The theme of this year's conference is The Dynamic Landscape of Nonprofit Organization & Voluntary Action: Innovation, Inspiration, & Creativity Across Boundaries. ARNOVA’s Annual Conference welcomes participation from researchers in all academic disciplines, and from a range of professional and personal backgrounds – including nonprofit executives and staff, foundation staff, consultants, and policymakers. Graduate students of all backgrounds are particularly welcome. Read more about submission guidelines here.
  • Congratulations to the Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program for being selected as one of four groups recognized as a Virginia Tech 2014 Exemplary Department or Program. This year’s theme recognizes groups that are developing and sustaining innovative and effective departmental approaches to fostering Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) at the undergraduate or graduate level.

    "The Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) program serves the university, students, and society through our instruction, research, and outreach activities in urban planning and public policy. Our program applies an interdisciplinary, comparative, hands-on approach to instruction and research in two undergraduate degrees (B.A. in Public and Urban Affairs and B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning), an accredited masters in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP), and a doctoral program in Planning, Governance & Globalization (PGG)." (http://www.uap.vt.edu/about)

January 21, 2015

  • The schedule for the spring 2015 Public Health Grand Rounds has been posted. These seminars provide a regular forum for discussion and communication on significant topics in public health research, policy and practice. Please click here for more information.

January 20, 2015

January 15, 2014

  • See flyer for details on this 4th Annual Martin Luther King Week Seminar

January 14, 2014

January 12, 2014

  • ISTR Africa Network (ISTRAN) Conference will be held September 16-18, 2015 at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana. The Call for Papers can be found here (deadline for submission: March 15, 2015).

January 9, 2015

January 8, 2014

  • ANSER/ARES 2015 Conference paper proposals are due January 11, 2015. The theme for this 8th annual conference is: Nonprofits and the Social Economy: The Power of Ideas to Enact Change in our Communities. The conference will be held this June 3-5, 2015 at the University of Ottawa. Click here for more info.

January 5, 2015

  • Happy New Year! Max Stephenson's 200th Soundings commentary has been posted: Torture: A Mockery of America’s Regime Principles. Thank you for reading and enjoy!

    A note from Max: This Soundings is the 200th commentary I have completed since beginning to write such efforts in July 2008. In addition, this column’s publication marks almost exactly three years to the day since I began writing Soundings weekly. I want to thank all of you who have read and remarked on these efforts and encouraged me as I embarked on what for me was an unknown and unmarked path. I have learned much about the warp and woof of our nation’s politics and democracy, about writing and about myself by composing these essays. I will now write this column on a periodic, rather than weekly basis, and at least monthly. When published, Soundings will continue to appear on Mondays. MOS

December 31, 2014

  • Congratulations to Rachael Kennedy (Agricultural & Extension Ed.), whose proposal titled Policy Councils as spaces of innovation or empty ritual? has been accepted for presentation at the 9th UCF Public Administration Research Conference on “Hunger in a Land of Plenty: Programs, Policies and Solutions to Promote Food Security.” The conference will be held this March 27, 2015 in Orlando, FL.



Upcoming Events

Tuesday, March 31, 6:30pm-9:00pm, GLC Auditorium - VT Division of Student Affairs celebrates Cesar Chavez's life and work with a free showing of the 2014 film Cesar Chavez directed by Diego Luna. A facilitated discussion will follow.

Thursday, April 2, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Newman Library Multipurpose Room - Dr. Elaine Salo (University of Delaware Associate Professor, Political Science and International Relations) to present the last WGD Discussion Series talk of the semester: "Thirsty for access: Women in African Water Policies"

Wednesday, April 8, 6:30pm-9:30pm, 2325 East Ambler Johnston - South Asia Symposium

Thursday, April 9, 10:00am-1:00pm, Shanks Hall Room 370-380 - Spring 2015 ASPECT Working Paper Series - Laura Zanotti (Virginia Tech Department of Political Science) "Re‐conceptualizing Political Agency beyond Universal Normativity: Critical Realism Meets Bohr’s Physics"

Thursday, April 9, 7:00pm-9:00pm, 281 Davidson Hall - Screening of Girl Rising

Ongoing through May 16, The Perspective Gallery, Squires Student Center - Art Exhibit: Reconstructing the Vanished: Gender, Memory, and Placemaking in the Delta South presents the Collaborations of Lynda Frese and Barbara Allen -
(click here for gallery hours of operation)

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.