Engaged UVA is the front door to community partnerships at UVA, designed to connect faculty, students and communities to mutually beneficial research and teaching programs. The site reflects current and ongoing community based initiatives, and allows users to search for associated faculty, courses, projects, and community partners.

Engaged UVA was launched by the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Outreach in 2017 in an effort to gather and highlight information on the community engaged programs already underway at the University. Faculty can use this site to find colleagues doing similar work. Students can find new courses and engagement opportunities. Community members can see the array of current and ongoing programs. Questions about the programs should be addressed to program directors.


OnAir Post: University of Virginia


Source: Wikipedia

The University of Virginia (U.Va. or UVA) is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was founded in 1819 by United States Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson. It is the flagship university of Virginia and home to Jefferson’s Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UVA is known for its historic foundations, student-run honor code and secret societies.

The original governing Board of Visitors included Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Monroe was the sitting President of the United States at the time of its foundation, and earlier Presidents Jefferson and Madison were UVA’s first two rectors. Jefferson conceived and designed the original courses of study and original architecture. UVA was the first university of the American South elected to the research-driven Association of American Universities in 1904. More than a century later, the journal Science credited UVA faculty with two of the top ten global scientific breakthroughs of 2015.

The University of Virginia offers 121 majors across the eight undergraduate and three professional schools. It is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.  Its alumni have founded many companies, such as Reddit and CNET, which together produce more than $1.6 trillion in annual revenue and have created 2.3 million jobs. It sits on a historic 1,135-acre (1.8 sq mi; 459.3 ha) central campus partially protected by UNESCO. The university additionally maintains 562 acres north of the campus at UVA Research Park, and 2,913 acres southeast of the city at Morven Farm.  Moreover, it manages the College at Wise in Southwest Virginia and until 1972 managed George Mason University and the University of Mary Washington in Northern Virginia.


Web Links

Student Programs

Source: Webpage

University of Virginia students have varied interests and ideas, many of which are realized through involvement in student organizations and activities. As a unit of the Office of the Dean of Students, Student Engagement is here to provide resources which help you turn your ideas into reality. Our mission is to engage students and the University community in self-governance and promote citizen leadership.

Located on the first floor and lower level of Newcomb Hall in the PAC (suite 164), you will find a team of student staff, student volunteers, and professional staff who can help you find your place at UVA through involvement in a student organization, participating in an event, involving yourself in student legislation, or creating something new. In light of coronavirus, find us via email at and we can chat over email or schedule a ZOOM call. You can also reach out to individual staff members – find our email in the About – Professional Staff section.


The Master of Public Policy Internship

Source: Webpage

The Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy has a 400-hour internship during the summer between the first and second year is a cornerstone of our Master of Public Policy degree. No matter the policy field or employment sector, this requirement will challenge students to put what they’ve learned into action. Financial aid may be available for students accepting unpaid internships with nonprofit organizations and government entities.

Center for Politics Student Internships Program

Source: Webpage

Funding provided by the Larry J. Sabato Foundation and the Peter and Eaddo Kiernan Foundation was used to launch the newly-created 22nd Century Scholars scholarship program. The University of Virginia Center for Politics in partnership with UVA’s Miller Center, Weldon Cooper Center/Sorensen Institute, and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy have selected 56 students for the five-week virtual program, running from June 29 to July 31, 2020 .

The talented UVA undergraduate students (rising second, third, and fourth-years) were selected from a pool of 300 student applicants (most from UVA but some from as far as Harvard University) who lost related summer jobs and internships as a result of the pandemic across a wide spectrum of the public sector including: Capitol Hill (with both Democratic and Republican members); within the Executive Branch (the Department of State, Department of Justice, and USAID); the National Institutes of Health; statehouses; local government; as well as domestic and international non-profits and NGOs.

Department of Politics

Third and fourth year students are encouraged to seek out internships. For institutions with unfunded internship programs, grants and scholarships are available to students to offset some personal costs. We encourage alumni employers and organizations to consider offering internships.

Academic Programs

UVA Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics

Source: Website

The Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics supports research and honors teaching that develop a critical understanding of national and international politics. Its distinguished faculty members seek to instill in their students a theoretical and practical appreciation of the ideas, institutions, and history that shape political life. The Department celebrates methodological pluralism: it seeks to promote an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of different methodologies so that students can evaluate and select the approaches most suited to exploring the research questions in which they are interested. The faculty and students approach these questions through a rich variety of topics, including democratization; liberalism and its critics; race, gender, and ethnicity; political economy; and the role of human rights international affairs.

The Department comprises five subfields: American PoliticsComparative PoliticsInternational RelationsPolitical Methodology, and Political Theory. In addition, the Department has a formal working group focured on Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, made up of scholars from across the traditional subfields.

Bolstering the Department’s standing as a locus of rigorous empirical and theoretical research is its close affiliation with a number of research centers and institutions, including The Miller Center of Public Affairs, the Center for Politics, the Center for Survey Research, the Center for South Asian Studies, the East Asia CenterThe Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, ​the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality (WGS), the Department of Media Studies , the Department of Middle-East & South Asian Languages & Cultures, the Department of Latin American Studies, and the Center for Russian and East European Studies (CRESS).

Respect for the Learning Environment

As stated in its official policy, “the University of Virginia is committed to providing a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the University community.”

The Department of Politics is committed to a classroom learning environment that is respectful to all students and open to a full range of viewpoints.  If any student has a concern about the conduct of an instructor within or outside the classroom, they are  / she or he is welcome to raise this concern, with or without a chosen faculty advisor, with any of the following people, as listed on the Department’s Leadership webpage: the Department’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, its Director of Graduate Studies, its Director of Undergraduate Programs, or the Department Chair.

Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Source: Website

Graduate Programs
At Batten, we’re defining a new model of public policy education. Our Master of Public Policy degree offers more than the typical policy research and data analysis education found at other public policy schools. We focus on the result of policy — solving society’s most pressing problems. We stand distinguished by teaching and cultivating effective, value-based leadership so our graduates can make significant strides toward becoming the dynamic leaders the world demands.


Research Centers & Initiatives

Democracy Initiative

Source: Website

One of the primary drivers of the Democracy Initiative is to provide a robust and multi-modal program of public engagement. This includes:

  • practitioner engagement with UVA faculty and students to shape and inform research, solve problems, and propose next steps and solutions;
  • collaboration with other institutions of higher education, including Virginia community colleges, to support curricular initiatives and related work;
  • major conferences, colloquia, and speaker series, as well as new and traditional media—including podcasts, blogs, and video—to learn from, and connect and share with, a broad and diverse public; and
  • deep engagement with policy makers and others in Washington, D.C.—as well as in states, cities, and towns, particularly our hometown, Charlottesville.

The Miller Center of Public Affairs hosted — with the Democracy Initiative as a lead partner — the first biennial summit on May 21-23, 2019. We convened political insiders, top scholars, the public, and students—our future leaders and influencers—for the Presidential Ideas Festival: Democracy in Dialogue. The three-day event in and around Charlottesville featured working sessions about specific aspects of democracy, the presidency, and global leadership.

In addition, the Equity Center is now a part of the Initiative. The Center will tangibly redress racial and socioeconomic inequality in university communities by advancing a transformative approach to the fundamental research mission, which will, in turn, reform institutional values, pedagogy, and operations.

UVA Center for Politics

Source: Website

The Center for Politics thought – provoking and timely political analysis and our pragmatic civic education programs have formed the core of our activities throughout the past decade.

The Center is a part of the National Campaign for Political & Civic Engagement, a consortium of 20 universities and colleges with academic programs in politics. Its priorities, directed towards college students are to establish:

  • A relationship with electoral politics
  • A foundation in civic education
  • A focus on career development

The Center addresses these priorities through activities and programs such as our student Voter Registration Coalition, our internship program, an annual career panel, and the Youth Leadership Initiative.


The mission of the University of Virginia Center for Politics is to educate and inspire our citizenry about practical politics and civic engagement through programs that are unique, compelling, and open-minded. Everything we do must fulfill our goal of instilling citizens with an appreciation for the core values of American freedom, justice, equality, civility, and service.


Sabato’s Crystal Ball  is a comprehensive, nonpartisan political analysis and handicapping newsletter run by the University of Virginia Center for Politics. The Crystal Ball keeps tabs on presidential elections, along with every race for the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and state governor. More info.

Youth Leadership Initiative, YLI, a program of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, develops FREE education resources designed to assist civics teachers, and encourage students to participate in the political process. Signup to access lesson plans, E Congress, Mock Election and Democracy Corps.  More info.

Global Perspectives on Democracy hosts leadership and civic engagement-related exchanges and public events connected to international relations in partnership with non-governmental organizations and units of the University of Virginia. More info



The Center for Politics was founded in 1998 by Larry J. Sabato at the University of Virginia to overcome the notion that politics thwarts the proper function of government. We think politics makes public policy more vibrant and makes bureaucracies more responsive. Since our inception we have established annual conferences, publications, programs, and curricula to advance democracy around the world and to equip people to better understand politics and government.

The Annual American Democracy Conference is organized by UVA Center for Politics in partnership with the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership

Source: Website

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership was founded in 1993 to bring together diverse individuals with a passion for politics and public service. All have a wide variety of viewpoints and backgrounds but want to work together for the common good. Our non-partisan mission is to strengthen and enhance the quality of government at all levels throughout Virginia.

Through a variety of programs—for high school and college leaders to first-time political candidates and influential business and community leaders—the Sorensen Institute has established itself as a powerful and effective force for restoring public confidence in our political system.

At the heart of every Sorensen program are three central themes: ethics in public service, the power of bipartisanship, and a concentrated study of public policy issues.

Hundreds of graduates of Sorensen’s programs hold positions in local government: as mayors, council members, supervisors and other elected positions all over the Commonwealth. Other alumni are serving in critical positions of leadership in nonprofits, local governments or in the private sector.

Center for Media and Citizenship

Source: Website

The Center for Media and Citizenship is a nonpartisan organization affiliated with the Department of Media Studies and the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. Our mission is to broaden and deepen our understanding of civic engagement and democracy in a rapidly changing media environment. We explore the past, present and future of citizenship — rights, responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities — specifically within the context of ever-evolving media forms and technologies. We are particularly interested in the relationships between a free press, vibrant journalism, civic life, and the ideals of our constitutional democracy. Our work is quite purposefully informed by Thomas Jefferson’s vision for the University of Virginia, and its focus on creating citizen leaders who will have the knowledge, the skills and the inspiration to strengthen the ideals of our democracy.
In the summer of 1820, as construction of the magnificent buildings in his planned Academical Village moved forward, Thomas Jefferson wrote that the University would be “an establishment which I contemplate as the future bulwark of the human mind in this hemisphere.” A bulwark is a defensive wall, a structure for protection and support. That metaphor captures Jefferson’s understanding of the University’s leadership role in American civic life . Those who teach, study, and work at the University of Virginia would participate in a unique and historic mission. A university, he once wrote, should be an “incubator where the future guardians of the rights and liberties of their country may be endowed with science and virtue, to watch and preserve the sacred deposit.
For Jefferson, the University of Virginia was never to be an end in itself, but would always be a kind of tool, a mechanism, by which the ideals of democratic, civic life could be preserved and strengthened. He envisioned a university that did not serve the interests of a king, of any church, or of any one political class. It would instead serve to empower the ideals of democracy, justice, and citizenship. As media scholar Neil Postman has eloquently observed, “Thomas Jefferson. . . knew what schools were for — to ensure that citizens would know when and how to protect their liberty. . . It would not have come easily to the mind of such a man, as it does to political leaders today, that the young should be taught to read exclusively for the purpose of increasing their economic productivity.
To create citizen leaders capable of critical thinking who will contribute to humanity’s potential and push back against any force in society that threatens the principles of democracy, civic life, and human liberty: that is the historic mission of the University of Virginia. And no one perhaps understood more palpably the threat those forces posed than the founder himself: a man who participated in perpetuating human slavery in his own home. Indeed, the very construction of his Academical Village was made possible through the use of enslaved labor. The work of the Center for Media and Citizenship is grounded in a vision that the University of Virginia has an obligation, not only to this nation but to the world: to discover, to learn, to teach, and to inspire all those who would nurture and strengthen the ideals of democracy, citizenship, and justice.
Freedom of the press, of speech, and the work of responsible journalists, scholars and engaged citizens cannot be understated when we consider the success of a self-governing people. “If it were left to me,” Jefferson mused in 1787, “to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” It was not only a press free to investigate and criticize the government that was necessary— willing, as we might say today, to “speak truth to power” — but a literate, educated citizenry was a crucial part of the formula: citizens who had full access to the information, the news, and the views that would inform their self governance. In 1823, as the University prepared to open to students for the first time, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The only security of all is in a free press.” Understanding the power and the responsibilities of journalism and of the media in a constitutional democracy is therefore a critical component in our study of citizenship.
At the University of Virginia’s Center for Media and Citizenship, we take seriously the very real threats to self governance, and to human and civil rights. We believe that a deeper appreciation and understanding of the relationships between the media, journalism, democracy, and citizenship will provide much-needed insight and perspective. Our offices and media lab are located in Wilson Hall on the historic Grounds of the Academical Village at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. We invite you to follow the links below for more information about the Center, to sign up for our newsletter, to join us at our upcoming public events, and please consider supporting this important work with your donation.