Talk on the Future of Work

24 02 2021

If you are interested in the Future of Work, please consider joining Prof. Sylvester Johnson, Prof. Suqin Ge, and I, from 12-1pm (EST), on Monday, March 1, for a discussion that will explore the following questions:

  • How is the digital economy affecting present and future labor opportunities?
  • Is AI replacing more jobs than it creates?
  • Are there gender disparities in the impact of automation?
  • What is the relationship between economic growth and real wages?
  • Should universal basic income play a role?

To register for the event click here.

This talk is part of Virginia Tech’s Intelligent Infrastructure for Human-Centered Communities (IIHCC) Destination Area.





4MFlashTalks

16 02 2021

The 2021 Women and Gender in Development Virtual Conference will begin next week, during which I will announce the winners of the 4 Minute Student Flashtalks (4MFlashTalks) competition. This contest has two phases. The first included nine contestants who submitted videos that were part of a jury-judged competition. Two of the videos were selected as winners based on 10 criteria relating to (1) comprehension and context and (2) communication. I will announce these two winners at 11:50am on Feb 25 during the conference.

After concluding the first phase of the competition, the jury decided to invite all the students who submitted videos to a virtual Communicating Science Workshop at Virginia Tech. After carefully reviewing the nine videos, we realized our competition guidance had been too constraining and wanted to provide students with more freedom on how they communicated their research to a general audience. The workshop encouraged students to be personal, direct, spontaneous, responsive, and emotionally expressive. It also promoted the need to develop a story narrative that explains why their research is important to the themselves, their field of study, and the world.

Five of the students re-recorded their presentations (below) for the second phase of the competition – a People’s Choice award. Conference attendees can vote for their favorite video here. I will also announce the People’s Choice winner on Feb 25.

About the 4MFlashTalks: The 4MFlashTalks is a virtual asynchronous competition that promotes student engagement by providing opportunities to graduate students who have completed data collection for their research, to present their work through a brief 4 minute presentation. It is inspired by the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland in Australia and held in academic institutions around the world. The 4MFlashTalks is an experience intended to communicate research to a non-expert audience in a simple, concise, and articulate manner. This event in the virtual WGD Conference aims to provide a space where all attendees (students, faculty, practitioners, leaders, others) from around the country and the world can learn and connect with future professionals.





Virtual Hooding of My Summer/Fall 2020 PhD Graduates

18 12 2020

Congratulations on your Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) doctorate!

Dr. Luis Felipe Camacho Carvajal: “Technology, Participatory Management Practices (PMP), and Dignity at Work: Negotiating the Use of Technology in a Plastics Packaging Firm”

Dr. Jessica Agnew: “Demand-Side Factors that Affect the Potential of Market-Based Approaches to Alleviate Micronutrient Malnutrition in Mozambique”

Dr. Raj Kumar GC: “Exploring the Potential of Multiple Use Water Services for Smallholder Farmers in the Western Middle Hills of Nepal”

Dr. Lindy Cranwell: “University Comprehensive Internationalization (CI): Faculty Meaning-Making, Motivations, and Perceptions for Engaging Globally”





Construction of the Mzuni Library and Auditorium Begins

23 11 2020

In December 2015, Mzuzu University (Mzuni) in Malawi lost their library in tragic fire. Since then, I have been working with a team of faculty, staff, and students at Virginia Tech and Mzuni to design a new library.

Last week, on November 20, this effort reached a major milestone when Agnes NyaLonje (the Minister of Education in Malawi) laid the first foundation stone of the new library and auditorium.

The construction of the facility is expected to take around two years and is scheduled for completion in November 2022. I’ll provide more updates on this project as it progresses in the coming months.





George Floyd Jubilee

14 10 2020

Since 2016, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Virgil Wood, a church leader, educator, and civil rights activist who has committed much of his life’s work to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation’s disadvantaged.

Our work together led to the creation of the Beloved Community Initiative (BCI), which established an essay contest and hosted the MLK Jubilee Summit in 2018. In that same year, Dr. Wood was invited to give the Virginia Tech Graduate School Commencement speech (see below). The BCI has also produced a series of documentary-grade videos that capture the life and work of Dr. Wood and his colleague Dr. Owen Cardwell.

Dr. Virgil Wood’s speech runs from 1:10 to 1:18

With the pandemic uprooting all of our lives, a number of BCI initiatives – such as the 2020 essay contest – were put on hold this year. However, Dr. Wood and I continued to engage in far reaching conversations about the need for transformative change at local to national level.

Earlier this month, I asked Dr. Wood if I could start recording our conversations and condense them into shorter themed videos to share more broadly. He agreed, and we created a new “In conversation” series that will be posted on the BCI’s YouTube channel. In this new series, Dr. Wood will provide his perspectives on a broad range of issues relating to the Beloved Community and Beloved Economy.

Today – October 14, 2020 – would have been George Floyd’s 47th birthday. In the first video below, Dr. Wood reflects on Mr. Floyd’s life and looks ahead to the George Floyd Jubilee, when he would have been 50 years old.

In the second video below, Dr. Wood talks about his experience marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s and connects this experience with the current Black Lives Matter movement.

The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell (right) stands with the Revs. Martin Luther King Jr. (left) and Virgil Wood on the roof of a Boston public school in 1965. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell.

In the third video below, Dr. Wood discusses the relationship between Martin Luther King Sr. and George Wallace and what this means for the Beloved Community.

If there are specific issues that you would like to hear Dr. Wood talk about, please contact me and I will include them in our future conversations.





Media Coverage of The Market of Virginia Tech

2 10 2020

Below are a few of the news articles that have been written on The Market of Virginia Tech.

New program puts fresh food in the hands of students




The Market of Virginia Tech

30 09 2020

Over the past several months, Dr. Jessica Agnew (Assistant Director, Research, Operations, and Program Management at Center for International Research, Education, and Development, Virginia Tech), Jesse Harden (a PhD student in Computer Science at Virginia Tech), and I have been running an impact evaluation of Phase 1 and 2 of Virginia Tech’s new food access program. The Market of Virginia Tech was officially announced today. In the coming weeks, we plan to release a platform that will share the results from our 2019 study of Food Access and Security at Virginia Tech and the insights we obtained from our impact evaluation of The Market of Virginia Tech. In the future, this new platform will also present the research we are currently undertaking on how blockchain technology can be used to improve food security through African indigenous vegetables in Kenya.





New Paper on “Addressing Inequality”

9 07 2020

Our new paper entitled “Addressing Inequality: The First Step Beyond COVID-19 and Towards Sustainability” is now available. I will provide the story behind this paper in a subsequent post.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted billions of lives across the world and has revealed and worsened the social and economic inequalities that have emerged over the past several decades. As governments consider public health and economic strategies to respond to the crisis, it is critical they also address the weaknesses of their economic and social systems that inhibited their ability to respond comprehensively to the pandemic. These same weaknesses have also undermined efforts to advance equality and sustainability. This paper explores over 30 interventions across the following nine categories of change that hold the potential to address inequality, provide all citizens with access to essential goods and services, and advance progress towards sustainability: (1) Income and wealth transfers to facilitate an equitable increase in purchasing power/disposable income; (2) broadening worker and citizen ownership of the means of production and supply of services, allowing corporate profit-taking to be more equitably distributed; (3) changes in the supply of essential goods and services for more citizens; (4) changes in the demand for more sustainable goods and services desired by people; (5) stabilizing and securing employment and the workforce; (6) reducing the disproportionate power of corporations and the very wealthy on the market and political system through the expansion and enforcement of antitrust law such that the dominance of a few firms in critical sectors no longer prevails; (7) government provision of essential goods and services such as education, healthcare, housing, food, and mobility; (8) a reallocation of government spending between military operations and domestic social needs; and (9) suspending or restructuring debt from emerging and developing countries. Any interventions that focus on growing the economy must also be accompanied by those that offset the resulting compromises to health, safety, and the environment from increasing unsustainable consumption. This paper compares and identifies the interventions that should be considered as an important foundational first step in moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and towards sustainability. In this regard, it provides a comprehensive set of strategies that could advance progress towards a component of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 to reduce inequality within countries. However, the candidate interventions are also contrasted with all 17 SDGs to reveal potential problem areas/tradeoffs that may need careful attention.




2020 Beyster Symposium

18 06 2020

On Tuesday, June 23, from 9:00 to 10:30am (EDT), I will be participating in the online (and open access) 2020 Beyster Symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to study broad-based forms of capital ownership and capital income such as employee stock ownership, equity compensation, profit sharing, gain sharing, and worker cooperatives in the corporation.

During my session at the symposium – which focuses on “UBI, Taxation, and the Environment,” a recording of my presentation will be released and the panelists in the session will be available in the chat feature of the conference platform to answer any questions you might have on our presentations or papers.

To join my session, go to https://beystersymposium.org/ and select Room 2 at 9:00am on June 23.

All of the material prepared for the symposium can be accessed via this dropbox site.

I will be presenting a co-authored paper entailed “Universal Basic Income and Inclusive Capitalism: Consequences for Sustainability.” My Prezi presentation can be accessed via this link.





A Message for the 2020 SPIA Undergraduates

15 05 2020

Since I was unable to celebrate with the class of 2020 today, I tasked my children with helping me record a video message for our graduating seniors. I even managed to find enough courage to record myself playing the guitar 🙂

The online VT commencement ceremony will start at 6:30pm (EDT) this evening and can be accessed here: https://commencement.vt.edu

Congratulations to all of our 2020 graduates!