The Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG) is restructuring its existing Community Voices, Trustees Without Borders, Community Change Journal and community-based research programs into one overarching initiative, which will now be called the Community Change Collaborative (CCC). While still an evolving concept, CCC aims to unite theory and praxis through projects, research, education, and forums focused on community engagement, change, and development issues (IPG Newsletter, July 2018, P: 8).
The relationship between CCC initiative and Office of Economic Development (OED) can best described through the Vibrant Virginia Seed Funding program. Vibrant Virginia is “a unique partnership between Virginia Tech’s Office of Outreach and International Affairs, Virginia Cooperative Extension, the College Access Collaborative, the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), and the Policy Strategic Growth Area (SGA)” aimed at connecting Virginia Tech researchers and development practitioners serving the Commonwealth. The initiative highlights applied research, policy analysis, and community engagement projects. Moreover, joint community development projects between IPG and OED, besides a number of IPG’s graduate students working at OED, have strengthened the ties between these two Virginia Tech institutions.
Along with the Community Voices speaker series, the Trustees Without Borders podcasts, and the graduate student-managed Community Change Journal, the CCC will host a bi-monthly forum featuring the work and methods of a range of faculty and practitioners focused on community change. In addition, the CCC will focus on:
- tailoring research, facilitation, and workshops for community development efforts in partnering Virginia towns;
- conducting ethnographic field tours exploring ways of knowing places within Virginia and neighboring states; and
- sharing and reflecting on those experiences to inform future research, community projects, and the development of relevant interdisciplinary curricula.
The CCC will hold monthly planning meetings during the coming academic year. Interested graduate students and faculty from any discipline are invited to collaborate on community development projects in Virginia; to explore theories, methods, and approaches to community change; and to share lessons learned from past programs and experiences. For more information, please contact IPG Director, Dr. Max Stephenson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PhD Candidate in Planning, Governance and Globalization
Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development