Urban Affairs Association Annual Conference

Call for Participation

The 48th Annual Conference of the Urban Affairs Association will be April 4-7, 2018 in Toronto, CN. The theme is “Shaping Justice and Sustainability Within and Beyond the City’s Edges: Contestation and Collaboration in Urbanizing Regions”. The deadline for Abstract/Session Proposals is October 1, 2017. (www.urbanaffairsassociation.org)

Jeremy Elliott-Engel passed his oral defense

Jeremy Elliott-Engel, a PhD student in Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education (ALCE), successfully passed his oral defense on Sept 18, 2017.  His committee includes:  Dr. Donna Westfall-Rudd, Committee Chair (Asociate Professor, ALCE), Dr. Karen Vines, Assistant Professor and Extension Professional Development Specialist, ALCE), Dr. Rama Radhakrishna, Professor in Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education, and Assistant Dean of Graduate Education, Penn State, Dr. Max Stephenson, Professor of Public and International Affairs and Director, Institute for Policy and Governance.

Congratulations Jeremy!

PPE Distinguished Public Lecture

Anger and Revolutionary Justice

The Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics will host its PPE Distinguished Public Lecture on November 03, 2017 (McBryde 100, 4-6pm). The lecture will be delivered by Professor Martha Nussbaum who is a highly accomplished scholar, a role model for women inside and outside of academia, and a pioneer with regard to issues of diversity and inclusion, especially in the context of the topic of social justice. Professor Nussbaum will speak on the topic of “Anger and Revolutionary Justice.” Her talk is based on materials presented in her most recent book Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016).
No tickets are required for the lecture. The lecture will be followed by a public reception.
For further information concerning the lecture, please follow this link:  www.ppe.phil.vt.edu/news-events.http:/

PhD student defends proposal

Planning, Governance, and Globalization PhD student Jake (Jared) Keyel successfully defended his dissertation proposal on Tuesday, August 29th . His proposed research is entitled: Silent Refuge? An exploration of Voice and Authorship through Democratic Iteration Among Resettled Iraqism in the United States. His advisory committee includes Chair, Patricia Nickel, Associate Professor (SPIA), Co-Chair Max Stephenson (Professor, SPIA and Director of the Institute for Policy and Governance), Deborah Milly (Associate Professor Political Science), Katrina Powell (Professor of English) and Christian Matheis (visiting Assistant Professor, SPIA).
Congratulations Jake!

Congratulations Max Stephenson and Laura Zanotti


“Neoliberalism, Academic Capitalism and Higher Education: An Analysis of One University in Rural Haiti,” at International Journal of Educational Development, Published August 24, 2017. Dr. Max Stephenson with Dr.Laura Zanotti.  The article is published online at:  here

Congratulations to Brad and Sarah Stephens

Congratulations to Brad and Sarah Stephens on the birth of their daughter, Evelyn Langford Stephens.  Evelyn was born on August 16th and weighted in at 5 lbs. 3 oz.  The proud Papa reports that she is doing very well and already growing.  Brad Stephens is the Executive Director of the CoLab at Grandin Village and City Expo in Roanoke, VA.  Brad received his Master of Science Degree in Forestry from Virginia Tech in the Spring of 2016.  He was an active member of Community Voices at VTIPG while pursuing his graduate degree and still collaborates with Max Stephenson on various projects.



Beloved Community Initative

Dr. Virgil Wood will join SPIA as a Ridenour Faculty Fellow this year beginning in the Fall. Dr. Wood, a veteran civil rights activist and former lieutenant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will lead the Beloved Community Initiative, a partnership between Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs, University Distinguished Professor Marc Edwards and Professor Amy Pruden (both of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and the Office of the Provost. The initiative will focus on environmental justice, inclusive economics, and community change, linking key partnerships in Flint, Michigan, Roanoke, Richmond, and several towns in Virginia and West Virginia, to innovative scholarship to explore and pursue Dr. King’s ideal of the Beloved Community. Professors Ralph Hall and Max Stephenson of SPIA, and Professors Edwards and Pruden, along with Dr. Wood, will provide leadership for this initiative. Throughout this year, and years to follow, this effort will serve as a platform for engagement and change through partnerships, praxis, and research. It will be integral to our efforts to promote strong public and civil society leadership and scholarship. An audio recording of Dr. Wood as a guest on the Institute for Policy and Governance Trustees Without Borders podcast series can be found here.


Small Town Trends and Opportunities

The Institute for Policy and Governance is presently involved in a study to chart major governance trends and opportunities in four small towns in Virginia and West Virginia:  Wytheville, Marion and Pennington Gap in Virginia and Montgomery in West Virginia. The study team, including Institute Director Max Stephenson and Senior Fellow Andrew Morikawa is working with Scott Tate, Assistant Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Economic Development and Sarah Lyon-Hill, a Program Director for that same entity. Other members of the project team include Neda Moayerian PhD candidate, PGG and Maeve Gold, Master’s candidate in Urban and Regional Planning.

On Tuesday, August 8th, Max lead a team, including Andy Morikawa and Neda Moayerian to Pennington Gap, Virginia.  During the trip, they toured the town to visit some of the attractions, and assets, such as the RV park, the river and scenic views, the Lee theater and the community center. Afterward they conducted two workshops for the town officials, business leaders and local residents to discuss process and expectations, and to identify opportunities and ways to re imagine their community to become a place to which young people and families would be attracted.

In 30-60 days, a 2nd half-day session will occur to present results from prior discussions, and to engage the participants in identifying tangible action projects.

VTIPG Director Max Stephenson observed recently that this project, “offers a rich opportunity to listen and learn and hopefully thereafter provide leaders in these communities a slate of suggestions that they can consider as they move ahead to try to encourage political and social change as well as economic vitality in their jurisdictions”.