We are excited to announce the launch of the new Virginia Issues and Answers (VIA), a digital discussion providing policy insight for state and local decision-making. The new VIA will offer SPIA faculty opportunities to showcase research and to impact policymaking in Virginia and beyond.

For over twenty years, Virginia Tech has published VIA as a print magazine to further the university’s land grant mission by translating scholarship into practical suggestions for state and local public policymaking and administration. In 2013, the Office of University Relations invited SPIA to take over editorship of VIA, and over the last four years, we have published issues focusing on education, ethics, workforce development, transportation, cybersecurity, and with our latest volume, state and local financial resilience.

After reviewing VIA’s goals and surveying our audience of state and local policymakers, we are moving to transform VIA into a digital-only publication on our newly redesigned website. The new VIA will feature articles by SPIA and other VT faculty members matched with articles by practitioners; each article will engage with and respond to the other. Although the primary audience remains local to Virginia, faculty studying international issues may offer lessons that can be applied locally, as well–how another country successfully manages its pension, transportation, or water systems, for example.

Faculty who write for VIA will provide short (1000-1200 words), accessible articles that provide concrete, practical recommendations for our audience in Virginia state and local government. The article may respond to a problem articulated by a practitioner, or review a practice a practitioner has undertaken. VIA Editor and Managing Editor Jaimy Alex will provide templates and editorial review, facilitate conversations with practitioners, assist with creating infographics and other media to accompany the article, ensure that the article is advertised to other interested practitioners, and, if the topic is particularly newsworthy, work to promote it with additional media coverage.

We are excited to bring to you our first set of articles in the new VIA format, and our first series is on economic performance metrics.

Today, any public policy approach must include measures and metrics to guide choices. The difficulty is often around how to craft a common set of measures for vastly different projects. Blog posts written by Robert Stalzer, Fairfax County Deputy County Executive for Planning and Development; Scott Sizer, P3/Joint-Ventures Policy Coordinator for Fairfax County and Adam Eckerd, former Assistant Professor with the Center for Public Administration and Policy talk about the process of creating measures, and using them effectively in private-public partnerships/ joint ventures in order to help allow for clarity of desired outcomes and reasons for undertaking projects. They also discuss how this process further helps foster deeper connections across different governmental agencies and actors within the community.

Our articles for this series include:

Using Economic Success Measures to Empower Leaders and Implement Community Goals by Robert Stalzer and Scott Sizer

Fostering Trust Amongst Stakeholders Through the Process of Learning Measurement by Adam Eckerd

To read our articles, please visit the VIA website at www.via.spia.vt.edu

If you are interested in writing for VIA, please contact Jaimy Alex. We look forward to working with you to develop this new vehicle for translating your scholarship into practice in Virginia and beyond.