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Vision & Mission

The Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (VTIPG) was established on July 1, 2006, and those associated with it were charged in its university charter with thinking broadly about the array of topics and dimensions implicit in its name. To realize that aspiration and the allied expectations linked to sponsored research tied to it, the new unit was tasked to develop relationships with relevant collaborators at Virginia Tech and with institutions and individuals across the political economy as appropriate, at all scales of analysis—local, regional, state, national and international.

VTIPG resulted initially from the merger of the existing Institutes for Governance and Accountabilities (IGA) and for Policy Outreach (IPO). Dr. Max Stephenson, Jr. and Dr. David Moore were affiliated with the IGA, while current VTIPG Deputy Director Mary Beth Dunkenberger was affiliated with the IPO. A few months later, the Institute for Public Policy Research formally became a part of VTIPG as well, bringing its Director, Renee Loeffler, and Research Associate, Dr. Melony Price-Rhodes. Dr. Price-Rhodes now serves as the Director of the Fairfax Reimbursement Unit within VTIPG while Dr. Loeffler is retired.

Irrespective of their provenance, those who comprised the new Institute shared a passion for discovery and for providing support to an array of vulnerable populations often underserved in our polity, including, among others, the poor, those with disabilities, the homeless and those suffering from various forms of mental illness and addiction. As VTIPG has matured and as conditions have shifted in our country, the Institute’s faculty also has routinely sought to explore the social, political and economic requirements necessary to secure and maintain democratic institutions in our own and other nations as a central feature of its ongoing exploration of policy and governance concerns. These dual broad foci continue to animate VTIPG faculty and staff and to underpin Institute activities today.  

The work of VTIPG is framed by our mission, vision and values.  For more than a decade, we have supported research in pursuit of policy and societal change.  Our work spans disciplines and frameworks, and we are committed to principles of equity and inclusion in all our endeavors.



The Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance is an entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary community of collaborating faculty, staff and students that conducts governance-related research, learning and engagement efforts concerning significant public challenges.  We work principally with and for vulnerable or disadvantaged populations locally, regionally, nationally and globally in order to support more socially resilient and adaptive democratic societies.



The Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance maintains an active program of empirical and theoretical research-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.


Institute faculty, staff and affiliated students view the following twenty values as fundamental to how we approach and conduct our work.  We aspire to their daily incorporation and realization in all of our efforts.

Core Values:

  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Honesty
  • Human Dignity
  • Integrity
  • Learning
  • Mutuality
  • Openness
  • Social Justice
  • Trust

Practice Values:

  • Collaboration
  • Empathy
  • Ethicality
  • Honesty
  • Innovation
  • Learning
  • Purposefulness
  • Reflexivity
  • Responsiveness
  • Transparency