Research Projects & Collaborations

Refugee, Migrant, and Displaced Populations. Faculty and students are involved in several research projects and outreach activities with recently resettled families in the Blacksburg and New River Valley areas. Collaborating with faculty, staff, and students from across the University including History, Science and Technology in Society, the School of Public and International Affairs, the Moss Arts Center, the School of Architecture and Urban Studies, the School of Visual Arts, the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, and the Office of International Research, Education, & Development, the Center also works with several service agencies and volunteers from the Blacksburg Refugee Partnership, the Roanoke Refugee Partnership, the regional Office of Refugee Resettlement, Blue Ridge Literacy, and others to engage in community activities and reciprocal research. This research has received seed funding from ISCE and from the Voice of Witness Foundation.


Under funding from an NEH Digital Grant, Katherine Randall (PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Writing) assisted Dr. Tom Ewing in planning “Viral Networks: An Advanced Workshop in Digital Humanities and Medical History,” hosted at the National Library of Medicine in January 2018. Out of this workshop came Viral Networks: Connecting Digital Humanities and Medical History, a collection edited by Randall and Ewing that features chapters from workshop participants about integrating digital methods into traditional humanistic research.
Importantly, the collection also captures research in process. Because one of the editors’ aims was to make the collection accessible to humanist scholars who may be unfamiliar with digital network analysis, some of the included chapters focused on “failed” attempts to use network tools, step-by-step analytic processes, and the early stages of research projects that changed substantially after what network analysis revealed (or did not reveal). While there is robust historical work done in each chapter, the collection also serves as a methodological exploration and guide.


The book is available on Amazon ( and as a free, open-access digital version through VT Libraries (





The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The MVP is a natural gas pipeline that is slated for 2019 completion and will span over 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia to transport natural gas extracted from Marcellus and Utica shale plays. The CRS has paired up with sociologist Dr. Shannon Bell and her team on a project that seeks to not only understand whether there are mental health impacts associated with natural gas pipelines but also identify the mechanisms by which mental health and quality of life may be affected. This work seeks to identify specific policy recommendations for protecting the mental health and quality of life of
residents living in the path of proposed natural gas pipelines and other development projects that have the potential to impact land-use rights through eminent domain or that pose risks to residents’ feelings of safety.





 VT Stories is an interdisciplinary born-digital oral histories project that explores the rhetorical affordances of multimodality and the internet. Focusing on the mentoring experiences of Virginia Tech alumni, VT Stories is a collaborative project across campus including English, History, VT Libraries, the Alumni Association, and TLOS. VT Stories transcends disciplinary boundaries and therefore is an example of Virginia Tech’s Beyond Boundaries visioning initiative. Our inter- and transdisciplinary project intersects with several Destination Areas, cultivating a VT-shaped learner by providing students with experiential learning across disciplines through internship opportunities.




Veterans in Society is an initiative of former CRS Director, Dr. Jim Dubinsky.  Funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Veterans in Society Summer Institute was held in 2016.  The Veterans in Society Conference is an annual event.  Dr. Dubinsky also serves as the Veterans Caucus chair as part of InclusiveVT.




The Virginia Training Centers, residential facilities housing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, were ruled by the Department of Justice to be in noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of the DOJ complaint, and citing the unreasonable cost of funding both an expanded Medicaid program and the live-in facilities, the state of Virginia decided to close four of the five Training Centers and move residents into group homes or equivalent community housing. People with disabilities who live on their own, with their families, or in smaller group homes are eligible to receive Medicaid vouchers funded by the state to cover medical care. Although relocating Training Center residents to alternative housing is a positive outcome in many cases, there are also residents who have lived in a facility for most of their lives, or who have disabilities severe enough to need 24/7 care that cannot be easily provided in a group home setting. Funded by the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, our interdisciplinary team of researchers conducted a study by interviewing residents and family members about their displacement experiences. By conducting interviews with the families and caregivers of the residents being displaced, we present a perspective on this issue that has been largely overlooked.



The Vaccination Research Group is an interdisciplinary team of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate researchers studying vaccination controversy. Aiming to reframe existing stalemates about the perceived public health problem of vaccine refusal, we explore the multidimensional viewpoints of all parties through a neutral research standpoint. In so doing, we are able to provide novel interpretations of the social and cultural contexts that give rise to vaccine skepticism, challenging current dogma about both the problem and solutions to it.

We welcome input about our work from the community and local leaders. If you would like to talk about any of our ongoing projects, send us an email.