Publication Date: January 23, 2023

Professor Robert (Bob) Leonard is a theatre maker, writer, teacher and arts organizer at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, where he is the primary advisor for the MFA program in Directing and Public Dialogue. His work includes: 

·       Organizing projects and programs contributing to Virginia Tech’s celebration of its 150-year history as a land grant institution

·       Building an on-line digital platform for neighbor-to-neighbor, peer-to-peer communications and knowledge sharing amongst the emerging field of community cultural development, grassroots and community-based art making, and people working in partnerships for economic and social justice.  

·       Leading ensemble-developed new plays as an expression of the public voice;

·       Facilitating interactive theater techniques to generate, express and animate public dialogue and civic imagination in partnership with the New River Valley Regional Commission’s comprehensive planning initiative and Montgomery County’s Dialogue on Race. 

Professor Leonard has been a longtime collaborator with VTIPG and Director Max Stephenson. For the past 15 years, the two have co-taught the graduate seminar "Arts, Culture, and Society." This annual Fall semester course has attracted students from a wide array of graduate programs, including Agriculture, Leadership and Community Education (ALCE), Urban and Regional Planning, ASPECT, Planning, Governance and Globalization, Theatre Arts, Forestry, Material Culture and Public Humanities, Business, Hospitality and Tourism Management and Landscape Architecture. The exchanges that emerge out of the dialogue in the seminar from these disparate perspectives have consistently been exciting, provocative and forward-facing. The seminar consists of discussions on emerging thought leaders and practitioners in the field who join in the seminar exchanges. The class has become an exploration of remarkable practices in the field grounded in critical thinking that connect theory with the actions and programs of professionals and active citizens across the country and around the globe.

"It is a special pleasure for me to welcome my long-time colleague and friend Bob Leonard to his new role as Senior Fellow with the Institute," Dr. Stephenson said. "I look forward very much to our continuing collaboration." 

For further inquiries please contact Billy Parvatam.