Virginia Universities

Virginia Universities


The US onAir Network will be working with volunteers from irginia universities, colleges, and nonprofit organizations to oversee the curation and moderation of posts, aircasts (online discussions), and in person events for the Virginia onAir Hub …  related to federal, state, and local elections and government.

George Mason University has been our lead university for the Virginia onAir Hub over the past five years. We have identified many of George Mason ’s civic engagement, academic, internship programs, and research initiatives related to making democracy and civic responsibility a central aspect of higher learning. In this post, we have similar information on the other major Virginia universities.

US onAir has had over 40 interns from GMU in the past 5 years developing the state onAir Hubs and national US onAir Hub.

Contact for more information on how to involve your organization.

OnAir Post: Virginia Universities

Departments and Programs

George Mason University

GMU & Civic Engagement

George Mason has a number of academic programs and internships that promote civic engagement including Mason Impact’s Community Engagement and Civic Learning (CECL) initiative, Schar School’s Democracy Lab Living/Learning Community, and the Global Politics Fellows internship program.

The Global Politics Fellows internship program has been working with Democracy on Air and the Students onAir @GMU chapter over the past four years to develop the US onAir Network of 50 governance and elections Hubs.

OnAir Post: GMU & Civic Engagement


University of Virginia

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.


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

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.

Virginia Commonwealth University

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Source: Website

At the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, we’re all about taking advantage of everything our city has to offer.

You’ll find our students making a difference in internships across Virginia, from the General Assembly to state agencies and nonprofits. Our faculty is immersed in research — and partner with students on it, too. Our alumni (10,000 strong) open doors to the Wilder School network at Fortune 500 companies, local governments, advocacy groups and public interest firms.

At about 1,000 undergraduates and 400 graduate students strong each year, we’re big enough to offer bold opportunities and small enough for individualized instruction and true faculty mentorship.

The 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings confirm the Wilder School among the nation’s top 20% of graduate schools of public affairs at No. 45. The school also ranks No. 39 in Public Management & Leadership, marking the first time the Wilder School has ranked in one of the specialty areas!

Our strategically designed programs mean you can really customize your study based on your interests. Mix and match classes in:

VCU Department of Political Science

Source: Website

VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with concentrations available in

Our faculty have expertise in a broad spectrum of subjects, including: international health; Russian politics; the intersections between politics and religion in both historical and contemporary contexts; Anglo-American political thought; feminist political theory; U.S. presidential decision-making for national security and foreign policy; information politics (e.g. government secrecy, mis/disinformation and public ignorance); national security intelligence; governance responses to human migration; global environmental politics; immigration; labor politics; Latin American politics; legislative behavior; partisan gerrymandering; campaign finance; political communication; political behavior; public opinion; international relations; local economic development in the US; public administration; constitutional law; European politics; political theory; comparative political development; African democratization; public administration; and public and nonprofit management.

Graduates of our program have gone on to professional degree programs in law, public policy, business, and medicine, while others have pursued graduate studies in political science, international affairs/international relations, and public administration. In addition to finding employment in the private sector in fields including risk analysis, government relations, lobbying, and consulting, our graduates have also been successful in securing public-sector jobs at the local, state, and federal levels, and with non-governmental organizations in Richmond, Washington, DC, and around the world.

Our Mission

Political science is the systematic study of institutions, behavior and ideas in order to further our understanding and explanation of government and politics at the local, state, national and international levels. The discipline has a rich history that bridges the present with the past and future, is pluralistic in its modes of inquiry and adopts a critical approach that makes use of qualitative and quantitative analytic methods.

VCU Political Science uses its unique position on an urban campus located in the state capital and just a short distance from Washington, D.C. to provide our students with transformative learning experiences that promote active and engaged citizenship, domestically and globally. We integrate our teaching with cutting-edge scholarship that advances the boundaries of the discipline and meaningfully impacts public debate and policy.

The department values diversity of thought and identity, inclusive pedagogy, informal mentorships, active citizenship and the free expression of ideas through innovative scholarship, teaching and community engagement. We are dedicated to developing programs and a curriculum that prepare our graduates to be informed and inquisitive citizens who are positioned to make a difference as professionals and lifelong learners.

Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy

Source: Webpage

The Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy aims to advance research and training that informs public policy and decision-making to improve our communities.

Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of Wilder School faculty, we provide diverse public-facing services including leadership development and training, economic and policy impact analysis, survey insights and program evaluation to clients in state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and the general public, across Virginia and beyond.


leads the effort to create effective public policy in Virginia by connecting local and state policymakers to academic experts within VCU through the Translational Research Fellows Program. It also conducts public policy polls multiple times per year to provide policymakers and the public with an up-to-date snapshot of public opinion in Virginia, and engages in community outreach activities with Girl Scouts, homeschool groups, Rotary Clubs, and others.


promotes the development of current and emerging leaders in academic institutions, other public, private, and nonprofit organizations, and communities. Consistent with the mission of VCU, the Institute is committed to identifying and nurturing the next generation of leaders through leadership training and public policy research.

William & Mary

The Department of Government

Source: Website

The Department of Government is a remarkable community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff committed to the study of politics and governance. Our interests span the full range of political behavior and institutions, from the beliefs of ordinary citizens to relationships between nations. We also seek to develop awareness of the moral and ethical implications of political action.

Government faculty members are productive scholars devoted to excellent teaching and the well-being of their students. Among other professional fields, alumni of the Department hold leadership positions in government, the corporate world, non-profit organizations, the legal profession, and education.

Online Citizenship Institute

Source: Webpage

This institute on online communities and digital activism examines how new media and distributed networks can help or hinder positive civic change. It considers how the campaigns of social movements, online organizations, hashtag activists, independent journalists, fans, and other kinds of digital citizens organize and disseminate ideas to promote political, civil, or human rights. It analyzes the rhetoric of online civility, free speech, and intellectual property as concerns for the digital public sphere. It also shows why governments might want to regulate online behavior and technology companies.

Aim 4

Source: Webpage

Aim 4 is a civic leadership program for students to learn and practice the skills of engaging with their communities and creating positive social change.

  • Provides opportunities like meeting with civic leaders, taking civic engagement courses, and completing meaningful service projects
  • Develops community among small cohorts of students dedicated to positive social change
  • Offers personal and purposeful advising to support an integrated experience at William & Mary

“At the beginning of the year, I joined Aim 4 because I really enjoyed community service and wanted to help people. This is still true, but I have a more nuanced, advanced perspective now. I am developing the skills and resources needed to combat complex social issues.”

Aim 4 Class Years 

  • Freshman Year: Finding Roots supports students as they consider how they will develop their active citizenship at William & Mary.
  • Sophomore Year: Digging Deeper pushes students to explore how they will deepen their understanding of community.
  • Upperclassmen: Taking Responsibility focuses on how students are responsible for change while at W&M and beyond.

Social Justice Policy Initiative

Source: Webpage

The Social Justice Policy Initiative (SJPI) is a faculty-student collaborative project to engage in policy-oriented and community-based research and advocacy. The SJPI aims to bring sociological and inter-disciplinary research to community-based and advocacy organizations and policy-makers at local, state, national, and global levels. The SJPI is housed in the Sociology Department but also hosts innovative, interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty in Africana Studies, Government, Theatre, and Modern Languages.

Within the Social Justice Policy Initiative, students work with faculty members and external partners, such as community organizations or policymakers, to research pressing social issues and support their programming and policy advocacy. Students and faculty have the opportunity to engage with community organizations, policymakers, schools, and other groups across a wide range of issue-areas, including education, labor markets, housing, immigration, and food justice. The SJPI seeks to break down silos both within and beyond the university to inform pressing social issues.

How to Get Involved

The SJPI engages students in community and policy-engaged research through four streams:Be a

  1. Research Fellow
  2. Be a Research Affiliate
  3. Be an Intern
  4. Social Justice Policy Research Courses

Virginia Tech

Department of Political Science

Source: Webpage

Our faculty publishes leading-edge research in a wide variety of fields.  We prepare students to understand domestic and international affairs. Our areas of focus include national security and foreign policy, legal studies, environmental affairs, world politics and policy, global development, and international business.

Our department offers five majors: political science, international public policy, international relations, international studies and national security and foreign affairs. In the political science major, you can choose from four options: legal studies option, political theory option, national security option or the general option.

Government and International Affairs (GIA)

Source: Webpage

Address complex global issues through multidisciplinary, problem solving and participatory learning

Today’s most pressing political, economic, environmental, and social challenges are truly global. Traditional frameworks and singularly disciplinary approaches are no longer sufficient for making sense of the complex and changing landscape of global affairs. To be effective, meeting that challenge requires knowledge from the social sciences, humanities, policy studies, arts, and advanced technologies.

Government and International Affairs (GIA) provides researchers and students the skills to leverage their experiences and further their knowledge of contemporary security and economic governance practices. Combining theory and practice, the programs in Government and International Affairs enable students and practitioners to develop critical thinking and learn how to conduct interdisciplinary, innovative, and independent research.

In Washington DC area.

Center for Public Administration and Policy

Source: Website

The mission of the Center for Public Administration & Policy (CPAP) is to promote good governance and the advancement of capable and ethical public service by providing outstanding education, research, and outreach in the theory and practice of public administration, management, and policy.


OnAir membership is required. The lead Moderator for the discussions is US onAir Curator. We encourage civil, honest, and safe discourse. For more information on commenting and giving feedback, see our Comment Guidelines.

This is an open discussion on the contents of this post.

Home Forums Open Discussion

Viewing 0 reply threads
Viewing 0 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Skip to toolbar