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 19 2015

November 18, 2015

  • Lyusyena Kirakosyan recently presented her paper, Moral Imagination of the Special Education Teachers in Brazil: Reflecting on the Role of Continuing Teacher Education, at the 41st Conference of the Association for Moral Education (AME) held November 5-7 in Santos, Brazil. This annual conference, which draws global attendance, aims to provide an international forum for the interdisciplinary study of the moral and ethical dimensions of human development and education. Lyusyena received a grant from AME and Journal of Moral Education Trust to support attendance of this conference.

November 12, 2015

November 9, 2015

November 8, 2015

  • A recording of recent Trustees Without Borders interview with Francesco Manca (Independent Political Analyst and Former Deputy Director [ret.] for the Political and Civil Affairs office of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) is now available on SoundCloud. Interviewing Francesco were Max Stephenson (SPIA, Director, VTIPG), Laura Zanotti (Political Science), D’Elia Chandler (Community Voices Member) and Lorien MacAuley (Agricultural Leadership, and Community Education).

November 6 2015

  • Congratulatiosn to Lindy Cranwell who successfully completed her Qualifying Review on November 4, 2015 as a member of the Planning, Governance and Globalization doctoral program. Special thanks to Committee members Denise Simmons, committee-co-chair, Building Construction and Civil and Environmental Engineering, David Knight, Engineering Education and Ralph Hall, Urban Affairs and Planning. Max Stephenson, SPIA and Director, VTIPG, chairs Lindy’s advisory committee.
  • Congratulations to Anna Erwin who successfully defended her prelimnary examination on November 5, 2015 for the Planning, Governance and Globalization doctoral program. Special thanks to Committee members, Kim Niewolny, Agricultural,Leadership and Community Education, Barbara-Ellen Smith, Sociology and Andrew Scerri, Political Science. Max Stephenson, SPIA and Director, VTIPG, chairs Anna’s advisory committee.

November 5 2015

October 29, 2015

October 28, 2015

  • Congratulations to Elizabeth (Eli) Jamison, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation entitled "Circuits of Power in Alabama's Immigration Politics: Labor Justice and Corporate Social Responsibility," in completion of the requirements for her doctorate in the ASPECT program. Professor Barbara Ellen Smith (Sociology) served as chair and Professors Richard Wokutch (Management), Patricia Nickel (GIA/SPIA and ASPECT) and Max Stephenson (UAP/SPIA) as committee members. Congratulations to all and especially to Eli on this milestone! VTIPG Director Max Stephenson notes that Eli is the 26th PhD student affiliated with VTIPG (an active Community Voices member and Reflections essay contributor) to complete their doctorate since our founding on July 1, 2006.

October 27, 2015

  • Call for Papers: ANSER/ARES 2016 Conference on Nonprofits and the Social Economy: Energizing Communities. The conference will take place June 1-3, 2016 at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

    The Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research / l’Association de recherche sur les organismes sans but lucratif et de l’économie sociale (ANSER/ARES) is a dynamic growing association that is organizing its ninth annual conference as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Leading academic researchers, practitioners, consultants, policymakers and community organizations from Canada and internationally come together to discuss current and emergent issues, debates and challenges in the fields of civil society, social economy, and nonprofit research and practice.

    This conference is an opportunity to welcome and explore the power of ideas to connect people and communities, encourage discussions and debates and to create knowledge and change. Within this context, nonprofits and other social economy organizations are well poised to lead these discussions.

    For information on submitting a paper, see http://conferences.uvic.ca/index.php/anser-ares/anser-ares2016/announcement. The submission deadline is January 11, 2016.

October 26, 2015

October 22, 2015

October 15, 2015

  • Body and Soul Documentary Film CoverLyusyena Kirakosyan's film review of Body and Soul has been published by H-Net (Humanities and Social Sciences Online) - check out the full review here.

October 14, 2015

  • A recording of recent Community Voices roundable luncheon with Francesco Manca (Independent Political Analyst and Former Deputy Director [ret.] for the Political and Civil Affairs office of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) is now available on SoundCloud. Manca, who also spoke in a fall 2014 Community Voices event, met this time with Virginia Tech students, faculty and community members for conversation and lunch.

October 13, 2015

  • URMIA 2015 Journal CoverChris Davidson (MS; PhD Student, Higher Education) and Malcolm Beckett (Director of Information Technology for Administrative Services at Virginia Tech) had their article, Computer Security Incidents: The Increased Threat and Implications for Higher Education, published in the 2015 University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) Journal (pp. 71-78).

October 12, 2015

  • Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: On Imagination, Trust and Democratic Governance. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
  • Call for Papers: ASPECT 2016 Graduate Conference, to be held April 1-2, 2015. The theme of this year’s conference is “Crisis and Transformation: Rethinking Knowledges, Histories, Identities, Technologies.” Confirmed plenary speakers include: Dr. Simon Stow (College of William and Mary) and Dr. Ariana E. Vigil (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The deadline for submissions is Monday, December 14, 2015.

    Across disciplinary boundaries, the 2016 ASPECT graduate conference seeks to address crisis and transformation broadly defined. Graduate students of any level and irrespective of disciplinary affiliation are encouraged to submit abstracts of approximately 300 words based on papers that engage topics related to artistic, social, political, philosophical, cultural, theoretical, ethical, and critical concerns.

    More details regarding submissions can be found on the Call for Papers page.

  • Call for Papers: The 5th joint international conference on human rights, on the theme Human Rights in an Age of Ambiguity, to take place June 13-15 at Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus located in New York, NY.

    Paper and panel proposals are welcomed on the general theme of the conference from researchers and policymakers from academia, think tanks, IOs and NGOs featuring both traditional and innovative scholarship which address the unsettled state of human rights norms and institutions.

    For a ideas of potential topics to address, and other conference details, please refer to the Call for Papers. The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm EST on Monday, November 30, 2015.

October 8, 2015

  • The next Reflections and Explorations has been posted: Between Conditional and Unconditional Hospitality: The Contradictions of European Union and United States Immigration Policy, by Johannes Grow (ASPECT).

    Note from Max Stephenson (VTIPG Director): The Reflections and Explorations essay by Johannes Grow that appears today was first published in this space on April 2, 2015. We offer this encore presentation of this analysis as the refugee crisis confronting the European Union as a result of the continuing civil war in Syria and unsettled politics and situations in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East and portions of Africa continue in the headlines. We believe Grows’ reflection remains not only timely and relevant, but also an appropriately searching analysis of a key concern during an especially difficult and unsettled time.
    - Max

October 7, 2015

  • Call for Papers: The 2016 EURAM Conference, "Manageable Cooperation?," invites debate about the new modes of production together with the new ways of value creation and distribution that are emerging and growing, as well as on how old systems are transformed with new demands for cooperation at the political and productive macro, meso and micro levels.

    The deadline for paper submissions is January 12, 2016.

October 6, 2015

  • VTIPG Director and Professor of Public and International Affairs Max Stephenson Jr. and A. Scott Tate, Senior Economic Development Specialist at Virginia Tech, co-editors of the recently published Arts and Community Change: Exploring Cultural Development Policies, Practices and Dilemmas (Routledge, 2015) led a discussion of that volume during a panel session at the annual national conference of Imagining America in Baltimore, Maryland on October 2, 2015. Virginia Tech Theater Professor Robert H. Leonard, Artistic Director of Roadside Theater of Appalshop Dudley Cocke and Jan-Cohen Cruz, Professor, Department of Drama at Syracuse University, contributors to the book, also presented and participated in the dialogue with more than 40 other individuals.
  • Call for Papers: The 9th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) invites participants to explore, examine, and recommend theories, policies, and practical responses to the theme of freedom of movement in the context of:

    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding;
    • Human Rights;
    • Development; and,
    • Methodology and Knowledge Production

    Abstracts can be submitted online: http://tinyurl.com/ox6oeo2

    The deadline for the submission of abstract proposals is Monday, November 30, 2015.

October 5, 2015

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

October 1, 2015

September 30, 2015

  • The due date for Community Voices book abstracts has been moved to October 22, 2015. Current Virginia Tech Ph.D. and Master’s degree students and Community Voices graduates are encouraged to contribute.

September 28, 2015

September 24, 2015

  • The next RE: Reflections and Explorations of the fall semester has been posted! Shifting Signals in the “Two” Chinas by Jamie N. Sanchez (ASPECT)
  • Call for Papers: The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) invites workshop paper and panel proposals for presentation at its twenty-ninth Annual Meeting, Meeting the Challenges of Development and Dignity, to be held June 16-18, 2015 at Fordham University’s Manhattan-based campus at Lincoln Center. The deadline for uploading proposals is Thursday, March, 31, 2016. Find out more details here.

September 23, 2015

  • Call for papers -- "Chaos and Governance in the 21st Century: Prospects and Challenges to Peace and Justice in an Age of Uncertainty"

    On February 18-19, 2016, Florida Atlantic University will host this conference, revisiting Giovanni Arrighi and Beverly Silver's Chaos and Governance in the Modern-World System (1999). Organizers welcome paper presentation proposals that critically engage with four core areas of inquiry laid out in Chaos and Governance:

    1. Financialization, Geopolitics and Global Governance in the 21st Century
    2. New Strategies of Capital Accumulation, New Modalities of Domination
    3. Anti-Systemic Movements: Land, Labor and Environmental Struggles
    4. Hierarchies of Wealth and Power: Global Inequality and the North-South Divide

    Please see the call for papers for more details. Please submit proposals (1-2 page) by October 30, 2015 to phough2@fau.edu.

September 22, 2015

  • A writing workshop with Cathy Grimes (Communications Manager, Virginia Tech Graduate School) and Jim Dubinsky (Director of Undergraduate Studies, Virginia Tech English Department) will be held on February 5, 2016 from 10:00am-12:00pm. More details and RSVP information to follow.

September 21, 2015

  • Congratulations to Dr. Whitney Knollenberg (Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management), who successfully defended her dissertation entitled Exploring Tourism Advocates’ Relationship with Tourism Industry Members through a Political Model of Leadership. Her dissertation committee included: Nancy G. McGehee (Department Chair of Hospitality and Tourism Management) as Committee Chair, Richard R. Perdue (Hospitality and Tourism Management), Max Stephenson Jr. (SPIA and VTIPG), and Kathy Andereck (Director of School of Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University).

September 18, 2015

September 17, 2015

September 15, 2015

  • Congratulations to Dr. Kimberly Scott Hodge (Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation), who successfully defended her dissertation last Tuesday, September 8, 2015 entitled, Impacts of (uncivil) discourse by organized groups on local governance in sustainable development projects. Her dissertation committee included: R. Bruce Hull (Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation) as Committee Chair, Frank Dukes (Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation, University of Virginia), John Munsell (Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation), Max Stephenson Jr., (Director, Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, School of Public and International Affairs), and Marc Stern (Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation).

  • The Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Virginia Tech is offering a speaker series this semester. Please see the attached lineup of speakers. The talks are tailored to appeal to both students and faculty, with plenty of time for discussion and interaction with the guest speakers. You are cordially invited to attend!

September 14, 2015

September 11, 2015

  • Call for Presentations: The 27th Annual Environment Virginia Symposium invites submissions from business, government, academia, and non-profit organizations. This is a conference where the regulators meet with the regulated as well as industry and non-profits who are solution providers to discuss best practices, policies and regulations - including preparing for changes.

    The deadline for submission is October 23, 2015.

September 10, 2015

September 9, 2015

  • Call for Proposals: The Public Administration Theory 2016 conference theme embraces the need for public administration to continue attempting to understand the importance of immeasurables—and immeasurability—for its praxis.

    The 2016 Program Committee invites panel and paper proposals that track along the conference theme. Proposals should be submitted by November 16, 2015.

September 3, 2015

August 31, 2015

  • Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: 'Ascription by Assumption' and Democratic Politics. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
  • The first RE: Reflections and Explorations of the fall semester has been posted! Why Motivations Matter in Addressing Discriminatory Hiring Practices by Sarah Halvorson-Fried (MURP)
  • 2016 Annual Meeting – Meeting the Challenges of Development and Dignity

    June 16-18, 2016
    Fordham University

    2016 will be an important time for the United Nations, Member States and civil society as together they address the early challenges of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and as they look to finalize the aims of the World Humanitarian Summit being held in May 2016 in Istanbul.

    Each of these hallmark efforts shares a common core principle – the preservation and strengthening of human dignity. Each also calls upon and encourages states and individuals to think very differently about the theory and practice of sustainable development and humanitarianism – through robust dialogue among key stakeholders and affected communities, and devising effective solutions to ensure that the global development and humanitarian agendas are “fit for the future.”

    The 2016 Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Annual Meeting will explore the challenges of meeting the goals of enhancing human dignity and promoting sustainable development through these initiatives. In cooperation with our host institution, Fordham University, ACUNS invites its members and interested scholars, practitioners, and students to join us in New York City for what promises to be a timely and critical debate.

    Call for Papers and Registration will be available shortly.

August 25, 2015

  • Congratulations to Jim Dubinsky (Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of English), Principal Investigator, and colleagues Bruce Pencek (College Librarian, Social Sciences & History) and Eric Hodges (PhD, PGG 2014), who have been awarded a $150,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a summer teaching institute focusing on veterans issues.

    Hodges assisted in writing the grant syllabus and proposed reading list, along with editing grant documents, and will serve as a "master teacher" for the institute. Hodges defended his dissertation in March 2014, earning his PhD in the college's Planning, Governance & Globalization (PGG) doctoral program. During his studies Eric also remained an active member of Community Voices.

    Note: this post has been edited to identify Jim Dubinsky as Principal Investigator.

August 24, 2015

  • Call for Proposals: The Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance invites 400-word abstract submissions from interested current Virginia Tech Ph.D. and Master’s degree students and Community Voices graduates describing possible chapters for a new ebook titled Social and Political Imaginaries, Cultural Claims and Community Change, to be edited by Max Stephenson Jr. and Lyusyena Kiraksoyan and published around August 2016.

    Click here to read more, including a list of possible subjects/topics for consideration.

    Due Date: October 1, 2015.

August 21, 2015

  • The Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (VTIPG) announces the first volume in a new book series entitled: RE: Reflections and Explorations: Essays on Politics, Public Policy and Governance edited by VTIPG Director Max Stephenson Jr. and affiliated research faculty member Lyusyena Kirakosyan. The editors have selected and organized essays from the Institute’s ongoing Reflections series to which an interdisciplinary group of graduate students contribute weekly during each semester of the academic year. The new book is available in PDF and ePUB formats below. Thank you for your interest in this series and text!

August 20, 2015

  • Lyusyena Kirakosyan's manuscript entitled "Promoting Disability Rights for a Stronger Democracy in Brazil: The Role of NGOs" has been accepted for publication in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly!

August 18, 2015

August 17, 2015

  • Orientation for all SPIA graduate programs in Blacksburg will be on Friday, August 21st!

    • [ time TBD ] CPAP students meet at Thomas Conner House
    • [ 2:00-2:45 ] SPIA-wide welcome session at University Club (begin gathering at 1:45p)
    • [ 3:00-4:00 ] CPAP returns to Thomas Conner House to continue their sessions
    • [ 3:00-4:00 ] MPIA/MURP returning students meet with new MPIA/MURP students - AA109/AA114
    • [ 3:00-4:00 ] GIA/UAP faculty meet with new PGG students - AA111
    • [ 4:00-5:00 ] GIA/UAP faculty meet with new MPIA/MURP students - AA109/AA114
    • [ 4:00-5:00 ] PGG returning students meet with new PGG students – AA111

August 3, 2015

August 1, 2015

  • A new Continuous Enrollment Policy is now in effect for graduate students. The policy requires that students be continuously enrolled in a minimum of three credit hours in all spring and fall semesters at the university, from initial enrollment through graduation, with the exception of those with approved absences. See the announcement on VT News for more details.

July 28, 2015

  • Congratulations to Rebecca Landis (Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education), whose thesis defense on July 24 was a success! Rebecca's thesis was titled "Community Food Work as Critical Practice: A Faith-based Perspective." Her committee members included: Kim Niewolny (Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education) as Committee Chair, Susan Clark (Horticulture) and Tom Archibald (Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education).

July 27, 2015

  • Congratulations to Sabith Khan (PGG), who successfully defended his dissertation July 22! Sabith's dissertation was titled "American Muslim Philanthropy in Flux: Effects on Community Building and Identity Formation." His dissertation committee included: Joyce Rothschild (Government and International Affairs) as Committee Chair, Patricia Nickel (ASPECT and Government and International Affairs), Marc Stern (Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation), and Rachel Scott (Religion and Culture).

July 21, 2015

July 20, 2015

July 15, 2015

  • Arts and Community Change: Exploring Cultural Development Policies, Practices and Dilemmas, edited by Max Stephenson and Scott Tate, is part of the Routledge Community Development Research and Practice Series. This series serves community developers, planners, public administrators and others involved in practice and policy making in the realm of community development. The series seeks to contribute to the growing and rapidly changing knowledge base as a resource for practitioners and researchers alike. Check out the flyer for series publications to date.
  • Scott Tate's essay, Reflections from a conversation on democratic practice and community development, was published in Volume 46, Issue 3 of Community Development , the official journal of the Community Development Society (CDS).

July 7, 2015

  • The latest VTIPG quarterly newsletter has been posted, Volume 4, Issue 3. Thank you to all who were a part of putting this together, and thank you for reading!

July 6, 2015

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.

Beth in Costa Rica

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

Sarah in Namibia

Master's student Sarah Jonson (MPIA) shares her Peace Corps experiences in Nambia.