Virginia Tech®home

What We Do

Research and Capacity Building

The Institute for Policy & Governance is currently involved with research, technical assistance and capacity building efforts concentrated around  five primary domains:

We support research and the development of understanding on topics such as humanitarian assistance and international development. Faculty members are collaborating with nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations to develop strategies aimed at improving their effectiveness, democratic proceseses, 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 undertake research and programmatic support in the areas of performance, organizational capacity and leadership development. We have undertaken 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 face them. Our researchers work with communities to develop the strategies tools to overcome challenges and thrive in a global society. 

Our faculty has worked extensively in local communities, throughout Virginia, the nation, and internationally to help organizations and grassroot 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. 

Community Engagement

Through various projects affiliated with VTIPG, we promote public participation in local governance and the broader community. We support communities in solving problems, communicating across differences, and developing tools of 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 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.

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.

The Dialogue on Race works to bring people together to talk about race and to begin to address problems of inequality around education, pay, and employment opportunities. 

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.

The School of Public and International Affairs offers twelve graduate level certificates, many of which have classes that are taught by IPG-affiliated faculty. This includes a certificate in Nonprofit & NGO management. This, and other certificate programs, can be completed wholly online. 

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.

To learn more about IPG's work, you can review a list of Active and Recent Projects or Past Projects.