Thomas Archibald tapped to lead Center for International Research, Education, and Development
Thomas Archibald, an associate professor and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been named executive director of the Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED).
Archibald is an experienced international development leader and scholar, with expertise in community-based development and evaluation. He has significant experience working in Africa, beginning with his service as an environmental education volunteer with Peace Corps Gabon. He has also led numerous capacity-building workshops and managed a variety of monitoring and evaluation programs across both Central and West Africa.
A faculty member in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education since 2013, he received the Alumni Award for International Outreach in 2021. He has also worked with the Cooperative Extension system in a variety of capacities, including three years as a 4-H Youth Development program manager with Cornell Cooperative Extension.
“I am thrilled that Tom is joining the international affairs leadership team. He is the type of thoughtful, sincere, and innovative leader that will help CIRED succeed. I look forward to working with him as we chart the course for CIRED’s next transformative chapter,” said Don Hempson, associate vice president for international affairs.
The Center for International Research, Education, and Development, part of Outreach and International Affairs, oversees a significant portion of the university’s international research. Since 1993, it has generated more than $205 million in sponsored research funding for Virginia Tech and $16 million in returned overhead. The center has overseen work in 43 countries, supported over 600 graduate students globally, and formed enduring partnerships with numerous academic, government, and nongovernmental partners.
Key to its mission is an emphasis on improving standards of living and livelihoods through evidence-informed development and innovation, engaging with outside partners and local stakeholders, and training students to be the next generation of problem-solvers. The center works with departments, colleges, and divisions across Virginia Tech to create meaningful opportunities for faculty collaborations that transcend traditional discipline boundaries.
Among its many successes, CIRED’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management has brought at least $2 billion in economic benefits to emerging economies across Africa and South Asia as it works to protect plants from pests, ultimately helping to feed the world’s rapidly growing population.
Since 2015, Archibald has overseen CIRED’s work in Senegal. He led the Education and Research in Agriculture program, which worked to strengthen human and institutional capacity in the West African nation through culturally sensitive engagement with farmers and food entrepreneurs. He also serves as chief of party for the Feed the Future Senegal Youth in Agriculture project, which aims to foster learning around agriculture and food and to empower local youth that may one day make a living in those systems.
Archibald earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University. He also earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in adult and extension education from Cornell. He speaks fluent French.
“CIRED represents Virginia Tech’s long and rich history of international presence. Cognizant of emerging trends in international development and reflective of the university’s particular strengths, I believe the center is poised to evolve in bold new directions, manifesting the Beyond Boundaries vision and advancing Virginia Tech as a leading global land-grant university,” Archibald said.
He succeeds Interim Directors Larry Vaughan and Brady Deaton, who took over after Van Crowder’s shift in 2021 to a full-time position with the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education.