What We Do
Since 2006, we have investigated salient policy and governance concerns linked to developing and maintaining democratic institutions in a fashion that honors Virginia Tech's Land Grant mission, history and motto of Ut Prosim.
The Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG) is an entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary community of collaborating faculty, staff and students that conducts research, learning and engagement efforts concerning significant democratic governance challenges. IPG and affiliated faculty have completed projects and research in multiple policy domains and at several geographic scales. We have launched initiatives involving faculty and graduate students interested in investigating community change processes, whether to create conditions aimed at improving and advancing existing programs, identifying and supporting innovative policy and programs, or to secure improved possibilities for the realization of social justice.
Research and Capacity Building
The Institute for Policy & Governance is currently involved with research, technical assistance and capacity building efforts concentrated around six primary domains:
We support research and the development of understanding on topics such as humanitarian assistance and international development. Faculty members often collaborate with nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to develop strategies aimed at improving their effectiveness, democratic processes, accountability and transparency.
Recognizing that there are strong existing initiatives including the Virginia Tech Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation and the CLAHS Food Studies program, among other Virginia Tech initiatives, we seek to convene and engage with an interdisciplinary group of individuals, within Virginia Tech and in the communities served by Virginia Tech, who are interested in researching food policy issues in order to build a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable food system. The Food Policy working group will explore possible projects that can create opportunities for academic publications, applied and translational research, and related sponsored funding.
We provide research and programmatic support in the areas of performance, organizational capacity and leadership development. We have conducted network analysis projects to better understand organizational structures and developed tools to strengthen public-private partnerships.
We study the tensions and assumptions that underpin current health and human service programs and policy design, chart alternatives to existing choices, examine likely implications, and explore creative strategies to improve outcomes for vulnerable populations. This work is often undertaken in partnership with government entities and nonprofit organizations.
Communities face increasing social, economic and environmental pressures. IPG and our collaborating partners strive to better understand how communities can respond to those pressures and work effectively to mitigate them. Our researchers work with communities to develop the strategies and tools to promote environmental sustainability and thrive in a global society.
Our faculty has worked extensively in local communities, throughout Virginia, the nation, and internationally to help organizations and grassroots efforts flourish. We have supported work that examines the relationship between the arts and community change and also have supported community development initiatives to promote economic revlitalization.
Through various projects affiliated with VTIPG, we facilitate public participation in local governance and the broader community. We support communities in solving problems, communicating across differences, and implementing methods for increasing engagement and inclusivity.
The Community Change Collaborative is a partnership of students, faculty and community representatives interested in exploring innovative approaches to community building and engagement. The group also organizes a series of public talks and roundtable discussions by leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who share stories and insights about their creative leadership initiatives and innovative approaches to problem-solving.
Community Change is an online, peer-reviewed, graduate student journal that explores multiple approaches to democratic community development and change. This interdisciplinary journal examines the practices, processes, and individual and collective struggles that produce social and political change at all levels of society. Community Change adopts a broad definition of community development that includes issues relating to public policy, democratization, collective action, physical/digital and social infrastructure developments, agency, and efficacy. Community Change aims to provide opportunities for graduate students to become acquainted with academic publication processes.
Beginning in 2023, a podcast featuring Community Change authors discussing their publications can be found online here.
The NRV Reentry Council is a collaborative regional body made up of agency representatives and concerned citizens focused on facilitating the safe and successful transition of individuals leaving incarceration and rejoining the community. VTIPG faculty support the reentry council through leadership, research, facilitation and participation.
Affiliated Academic Programs
VTIPG works with the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and its academic programs to develop and propose nonprofit and nongovernmental organization-related curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The nonprofit/nongovernmental offerings share a number of characteristics, such as interdisciplinary faculty, a comparative focus, and integration of theory, practice and public policy implications.
IPG affiliated students are often enrolled in the Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP), Government & International Affairs (GIA), and Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP) programs. We also work across Virginia Tech Colleges and programs supporting students in interdisciplinary study and research.
The following list of courses reflects past offerings relevant to IPG's work.
GIA 5004 – COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
GIA 5004 – POWER AND POLICY IN THE U.S.
GIA/PSCI 5454 – ADVANCED TOPICS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & PUBLIC POLICYGIA/PSCI 5554 – CULTURE, POLITICS AND SOCIETY IN NETWORK ENVIRONMENTS
GIA/PSCI 5554 – DEMOCRACY BEYOND THE BALLOT
GIA/PSCI 6224 – COMPETING CONCEPTIONS OF THE THIRD SECTOR
PAPA 5674 – FINANCIAL HEALTH OF PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
PAPA 6114 – COMPLEX PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS
PAPA 6124 – BEHAVIOR AND CHANGE IN PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS
PAPA 6324 – PUBLIC PERSONNEL PROCESSES AND THEIR POLICY IMPLICATIONS
UAP 5084G - ADVANCED COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
UAP 5354 – CHARITY, PHILANTHROPY AND CIVIL SOCIETY
UAP 5364 – NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
UAP 5444 – STRATEGIC PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
UAP 5454 - NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION & MANAGEMENT
UAP 5454 - NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE
UAP 5474 – PROGRAM EVALUATION
UAP 5514 – PUBLIC BUDGETING AND MANAGEMENT
UAP 5564 – INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, SOCIETY, AND PUBLIC POLICY
UAP 5594 – NONPROFIT LAW AND ETHICS
UAP/GIA 5154 – GLOBAL ACCOUNTABILITIES
UAP/GIA 5274 – COMPARATIVE SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
UAP/GIA/PAPA 5034 – DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN THE ECONOMY
UAP/GIA/PAPA 5974 – INDEPENDENT STUDY
UAP/GIA/PAPA 5984 – SPECIAL STUDY
UAP/GIA/PSCI 5574 – ARTS, CULTURE AND SOCIETY
UAP/PAPA 5544 – PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
UAP/PAPA 5694 – ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
UAP/PSCI 5164 – COLLABORATIVE GOVERNANCE AND CIVIL SOCIETY