The new E-book “RE: Reflections and Explorations: Essays on Politics, Public Policy, and Governance” features a collection of essays by Virginia Tech graduate students, selected and organized from the RE:Reflections and Explorations blog. 

The book was edited by Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance Director Max Stephenson Jr. and Lyusyena Kirakosyan.

The book covers topics including public policies concerning the arts to European Union and United States immigration and refugee asylum politics and policies as well as the role of the academy in society; the relationships among the arts, culture, and politics; and community building and leadership challenges. 

It is available for free download on the RE: Reflections and Explorations website. The book is the first of a planned series.

“We have graduate students at Virginia Tech studying politics and governance who are interested in local concerns, all the way up to global issues. To do so, they employ a variety of different theoretical perspectives. I think that situation is very healthy and vital to address governance and policy concerns,” Stephenson said. “A very real strength of the series is that it does tend to represent the diverse interests and perspectives of those studying politics, policy, and governance from the vantage point of a number of different disciplines here at the university. I think it speaks very well of the range of interests we have here across the programs that have public affairs as some part of their central orientation.”

The book series arose from the ongoing commentary blog RE: Reflections and Explorations. Kirakosyan, a doctoral student at the time and now an affiliated research faculty member of the Institute for Policy and Governance, first suggested the idea for the blog to Stephenson. 

“When she was in ASPECT [the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought] here, she put together a group of doctoral students and they conceived the idea of what they wanted to do and I helped them write the guidelines, and we were off and running,” Stephenson said.

Virginia Tech graduate students contributed the essays that appear in the book. 

“Obviously, for doctoral students especially, it makes a great deal of sense to contribute to this kind of volume,” Stephenson said. “It gives them good practice in producing high-quality and well-considered analyses. That’s part of why we’re doing this; it represents a mentoring opportunity as well as a publication outlet for those students participating.”

As for future volumes of the series, Stephenson said, “Look forward to more. We have a call for abstracts out now for doctoral and other graduate students across the university to consider contributing to a volume based on our Community Voices series, and we will continue to develop books based on ‘Reflections’ essays as the students produce them too.”

The Institute for Policy and Governance, part of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, is an entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary community of collaborating faculty, staff, and students that conducts governance-related research, learning, and engagement efforts concerning significant public challenges.



Written by Hannah Samlall of Warrenton, Virginia, a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. 

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