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Todd Schenk

The Policy DA seeks to promote broader understanding of policy processes across VT’s undergraduate and graduate student communities. The Policy DA is particularly interested in working with students to enhance their understanding of and competencies to work on complex policy issues that cross disciplinary boundaries.
The Policy DA’s primary curricular initiative is a new graduate certificate program called Science, Technology, and Engineering in Policy (STEP). The STEP program and its associated courses are currently rolling out on the Blacksburg campus, targeting science, technology, engineering, mathematics  and health (STEM-H) graduate students with the goal to develop and enhance STEM-H students, practitioners, and scholars’ understanding of policy processes and capacity to integrate scientific and engineering knowledge with public policy reasoning.
For more information on the STEP program, please visit
Beyond the STEP program, highlights of the Policy DA’s curriculum activities include:

  • In 2017, the curriculum committee implemented a campus-wide survey to inventory policy courses at Virginia Tech and identify potential synergies and gaps in policy offerings. Click here to view the 2017 inventory listing of policy-focused courses.
  • In 2018, an interdisciplinary course called  "Complex Decision and Policy Making: The Case of Cyber Security in 2016 Presidential Election" was co-taught by faculty associated with the Policy Destination Area from Political Science, Industrial Systems Engineering and the Calhoun Honors College/Architecture.
    • The faculty members developed the course as an interdisciplinary, policy gateway course for upper-level undergraduate or graduate students to introduce them the foundations of policy analysis and decision making in complex social and technical settings.
    • The course, offered as a special study in Spring 2019, enrolled 34 students, including a mix of majors and undergraduate and graduate students.
    • A revised version is currently being taught as the graduate-level Policy Gateway course within the new STEP program.   

For more information about policy curriculum development and progress, contact Dr. Todd Schenk, Assistant Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, Curriculum committee chair.