Virginia Tech will expand its Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

The interdisciplinary program, which involves 12 departments in seven colleges across the Blacksburg campus, seeks to integrate research, teaching, and outreach to allow faculty and students to work together to develop comprehensive solutions to complex problems.

“Multidimensional issues — such as global justice, environmental sustainability, corporate responsibility, and poverty — can be effectively addressed only through interdisciplinary analysis,” said the program’s founding director, Michael Moehler, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy. “The greatest strength of our program lies in its advancement of solutions that are not only economically sound, but also socially, ethically, and politically informed. We look forward to extending the program’s reach as a resource for the entire university community.”

Before joining Virginia Tech, Moehler held visiting professorships in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its joint Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with Duke University, as well as the Murphy Institute at Tulane University. Among other positions, he has served as the John Stuart Mill Visiting Chair of Social Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hamburg in Germany.

Under Moehler’s leadership, the Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics will receive a financial boost of more than $1 million over the next three and a half years from the collaborative efforts of David Kellogg, a 1982 graduate of Virginia Tech’s electrical engineering program; the Charles Koch Foundation; and university sources.

“It is my hope that the PPE program will encourage the free expression of ideas and instill critical thinking skills, which are necessary to develop practical public policy solutions,” said Kellogg, who serves as chief executive officer of Solers, Inc., a Blacksburg-based software and systems engineering firm. “I’m excited to support this academic opportunity for Virginia Tech’s students and scholars and look forward to seeing their impactful work.”

The funding will support two postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Philosophy, two graduate teaching assistants, a speaker series, and an annual distinguished public lecture.

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to take the program to the next level,” said Moehler, who, in addition to his appointment in the Department of Philosophy, is a core faculty member of the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought, or ASPECT, in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Economics in the College of Science. He earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics.

“The Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics embodies Virginia Tech’s vision of educating students who, informed by the latest research, can articulate and solve complex problems on a national and even international scale,” said Rosemary Blieszner, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “We are confident that, under Michael Moehler’s able leadership, even more Virginia Tech students will be able to embrace the program’s vibrant learning opportunities.”

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