Virginia Tech®home

Why Virginia Tech?

The Tech for Humanity initiative expresses Virginia Tech’s leadership as one of the nation’s top human-centered comprehensive universities implementing university-wide scholarship that advances human-centered work on technology innovation.

Virginia Tech’s commitment to a broad, humanistic understanding of technology has deep roots. Since the 1970s, Virginia Tech has advanced human-centered approaches to studying and developing technology innovation as a comprehensive effort achieved through human-centered disciplines reaching across the university. This has included scholarship from our experts in liberal arts, human sciences, business, creative arts, agriculture, mathematics, engineering, and medicine. Virginia Tech created a Center for the Study of Science in Society in the 1970s that led to the establishment of Virginia Tech’s Department of Science, Technology, Society in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. In the 1980s, as computing became a ubiquitous technology, Virginia Tech developed a research focus on human-computer interaction that became the Center for Human-Computer Interaction in 1990s—one of the earliest of such centers to be established in the United States.

Virginia Tech’s new Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia, adjacent to our nation’s capital, indicates our unique role as a leader in technology. Discovery, learning, and engagement happening across all Virginia Tech campuses is driving the university’s ability to make human-centered approaches integral to preparing leaders and stakeholders in a technological society.  

“Research universities have tremendous potential to bring together students, researchers, industry, and leading technology professionals in new and creative ways.” – Charlie Phlegar, Virginia Tech’s vice president for advancement

Virginia Tech’s Beyond Boundaries vision looks toward the next three decades to chart a comprehensive approach for the university that will shape a vibrant, humane future. Our Tech for Humanity Initiative builds on this vision and on other university-wide efforts such as Inclusive VT to underscore innovative, pragmatic approaches that will prepare a new generation of learners to lead human-centered efforts through excellence.

This initiative leverages multiple efforts and structures across the entire university that distinguish Virginia Tech:

Transdisciplinary Communities enable a unique structure promoting transdisciplinary teams to lead comprehensive research. Among these are:

Virginia Tech’s investment institutes, thematic research institutes, and academic centers enhance the university's ability to address large-scale research opportunities by supporting and enabling collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. 
Among the relevant Centers and Institutes are:

Relevant research and teaching activities by leading faculty members are underway in multiple schools and departments from every college at Virginia Tech

Tech for Humanity intersects with the Center for Humanities to foreground human-centered scholarship across the university that includes robust attention to ethical standards and outcomes for technology innovation.

Tech for Humanity engages with Virginia Tech’s major humanistic initiatives such as: