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Liesel Ritchie

Liesel Ritchie, Professor

Name, Title
Liesel Ritchie, Professor of Sociology

Department of Sociology
McBryde Hall
225 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
liesel14@vt.edu

Liesel Ritchie is a professor in the Department of Sociology and an affiliate of the Center for Coastal Studies at Virginia Tech. During her career, she has studied a range of disaster events, including the Exxon Valdez and BP Deepwater Horizon oil spills, the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash release, Hurricane Katrina, and earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand. Since 2000, her focus has been on the social impacts of disasters and community resilience, with an emphasis on technological hazards and disasters, social capital, and renewable resource communities, and she has published widely on these topics.

Ritchie has more than 30 years of experience in research and evaluation. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she served as associate director of the Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events at Oklahoma State University (2018–2020) and as associate director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder (2007–2018). Ritchie was a senior research associate at the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University, and she served for six years as coordinator of the Social Science Research Center’s Evaluation & Decision Support Laboratory at Mississippi State University.

She has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than 90 projects and authored or coauthored more than 85 technical reports working with agencies such as NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Ritchie is a disaster resilience fellow with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a distinguished senior fellow with Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute, and a visiting scholar at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. She served as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee for Measuring Community Resilience. She currently serves on two National Academies advisory boards — one for the Gulf Research Program and another for LabX.

Ritchie earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history and her doctorate in sociology, all from Mississippi State University.

  • Sociology of Disasters
  • Technological and Environmental Hazards and Disasters
  • Community Resilience
  • Qualitative Research Methods 
  • Evaluation Research 
  • Applied Sociology 
  • PhD in Sociology, Mississippi State University
  • MA in History, Mississippi State University
  • BA in History, Mississippi State University
Journal Articles
  • Kousky, C., Ritchie, L.A., Tierney, K., and Lingle, B. 2019. “Return on Investment and its Role, Organization, and Applicability to Community Disaster Preparedness Activities: Calculating Costs and Returns.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 41: 1-9. 
  • Ritchie, L.A., Gill, D.A., and Long, M.A. 2019. “Factors Influencing Stress Response Avoidance Behaviors Following Technological Disasters: A Case Study of the 2008 TVA Coal Ash Spill.” Environmental Hazards
  • Ritchie, L.A., Little, J., and Campbell, N.M. 2018. “Resource Loss and Psychosocial Stress in the Aftermath of the 2008 TVA Coal Ash Spill.” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 36(2): 179-207. 
  • Ritchie, L.A., Gill, D.A., and Long, M.A. 2018. “Mitigating Litigating: An Examination of Psychosocial Impacts of Compensation Processes Associated with the 201 O BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.” Risk Analysis 38(8):1656-1671. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. 2017. “Social Capital and Transportation: Critical Assets in Community Resilience.” Transportation Research News Number 311:27-32.
  • Gill, D.A., Ritchie, L.A., and Picou, J.S. 2016. “Sociocultural and Psychosocial Impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: Twenty-Four Years of Research in Cordova, Alaska.” The Extractive Industries and Society 3: 1106-1115. 
  • Gill, D.A., Ritchie, L.A., Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Picou, J.S., Long, M.A., and Shenesey, J.W. 2014. “The Exxon and BP Oil Spills: A Comparison of Psychosocial Impacts.” Natural Hazards 74(3):1911-1932. 
  • Ritchie, L.A., Gill, D.A., and Farnham, C. 2013. “Recreancy Revisited: Beliefs about Institutional Failure Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.” Society and Natural Resources: An International Journal 26:655-671. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. 2012. “Individual Stress, Collective Trauma, and Social Capital in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.” Sociological Inquiry 82(2):187-211. 
  • Gill, D.A., Picou, J.S., and Ritchie, L.A. 2012. “The 2010 BP Oil Spill and 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: A Comparison of Initial Social Impacts.” American Behavioral Scientist 56(1):3-23. 
  • Ritchie, L.A., Gill, D.A., and Picou, J.S. 2011. “The BP Disaster and Social Distress: A Rerun of the Exxon Valdez?” Contexts 10(3):30-35. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. and Tierney, K. 2011. “Temporary Housing Planning and Early Implementation in the January 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake.” Earthquake Spectra 27(1):5487-5507. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. and Gill, D.A. 2011. ‘The Role of Community Capitals in Disaster Recovery.” PERI Online Symposium, Community Recovery from Disaster.
  • Ritchie, L.A. and MacDonald, W. 2010. “Enhancing Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Through Evaluation.” Pp. 3-7 in L.A. Ritchie and W. MacDonald (eds.) Enhancing Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Through Evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation 126.
  • Ritchie, L.A. and MacDonald, W. 2010. “Evaluation of disaster and emergency management: Do no harm, but do better.” Pp. 107-111 in L.A. Ritchie and W. MacDonald (eds.) Enhancing Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Through Evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation 126. 
  • Horan, J., Ritchie, L.A., Meinhold, S., Gill, D.A., Houghton, B.F., Gregg, C.E., Matheson, T., Paton, D., and Johnston, D.M. 2010. “Evaluating disaster education: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s TsunamiReady™ community program and risk awareness education efforts in New Hanover County, North Carolina.” Pp. 79-93 in L.A. Ritchie and W. MacDonald (eds.) Enhancing Disaster and Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Through Evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation 126. 
  • Engel, K., Ritchie, LA, Jordan, A.E., and Brandi R. Gilbert. 2010. ‘What can the Netherlands learn from international evaluations?’ (original in Dutch: ‘Wat kan Nederland leren van internationale evaluaties?’), Magazine nationale veiligheid en crisisbeheersing (Magazine national security and crisis management), 8 (5), September-October 2010, 32-33.
  • Paton, D., Houghton, B.F., Gregg, C.E., Mcivor, D., Johnston, D.M., Burgelt, P.T., Larin, P., Gill, D.A., Ritchie, L.A., Meinhold, S., and Horan, J. 2009. “Managing Tsunami Risk: Social context influences on preparedness.” Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology 3(1):27-37.
  • Paton, D., Houghton, B.F., Gregg, C.E., Gill, D.A., Ritchie, L.A., Mcivor, D., Larin, P., Meinhold, S., Horan, J., and Johnson, D. 2008. “Managing Tsunami Risk in Coastal Communities: Identifying Predictors of Preparedness.” Australian Journal of Emergency Management 23(1):4-9. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. and Gill, D.A. 2008. “The Selendang Ayu Shipwreck and Oil Spill: Considering Threats and Fears of a Worst-Case Scenario.” Sociological Inquiry 78(2):184-206. 
  • Gill, D.A., Clarke, L., Cohen, M.J. Ritchie, L.A., Ladd, A.E., Marshall, B.K., and Meinhold, S. 2007. ”Post-Katrina Guiding Principles of Disaster Social Science Research.” Sociological Spectrum 27(6):789-92. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. and Gill, D.A. 2007. “Voices of Katrina: Guest Editors’ Introduction.” Journal of Public Management and Social Policy 13(2):1-4. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. and Gill, D.A. 2007. “Social Capital as an Integrating Theoretical Framework in Technological Disaster Research.” Sociological Spectrum 27: 1-26. 
Book Chapters
  • Ritchie, L.A., Gill, D.A, and Harrald, J.R. 2019. “Systems Are Tested: Emergency Management and Legal Responses to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.” Third Edition. Chapter 8 in Rubin, C. (ed.), Emergency Management: The American Experience, 1900-2010. Abingdon, UK: Taylor and Francis. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. and Gill, D.A. 2018. “The Role of Social Capital in Community Disaster.” Pp. 112-139 in Bohland, J., Harrald, J, and Brosnan, D. (eds.), The Disaster Resiliency Challenge: Transforming Theory to Action. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd. Resilience.” 
  • Gill, D.A. and Ritchie, L.A. 2018. “Contributions of Technological and Natech Disaster Research to the Social Science Disaster Paradigm.” Second Edition. Pp. 39-60 in H. Rodriguez, W. Donner, and J. Trainor (eds.), The Handbook of Disaster Research. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 
  • Gill, D.A. and Ritchie, L.A. 2016. “Oil Spills.” Pp. 1205-1207 in Frederick F. Wherry and Juliet B. Schor (eds.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Economics and Society. SAGE. 
  • Gill, D.A., Ritchie, L.A., and Picou, J.S. 2015. “Litigation and Settlements Following the Exxon Valdez and BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spills.” Third Edition. Pp. 85-115 in Harper, D.W and Frailing, K. (eds.), Crime and Criminal Justice in Disaster. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. 
  • Gill, D.A. and Ritchie, L.A. 2015. “Sociocultural Survival in the Face of Looming Disaster: The Gitga’at First Nation’s Opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.” Pp. 2011-223 in Companion, M. (ed.), Disasters’ Impact on Livelihood and Cultural Survival: Losses, Opportunities, and Mitigation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 
  • Ross, Stephanie L., Jones, L.M., Porter, K.A., Ritchie, L.A., and Thio, H.K. 2013. “Introduction.” Pp. 10-17 in Ross, S.L., and Jones, L.M., (eds.), The SAFRR (Science Application for Risk Reduction) Tsunami Scenario: U.S. Geological Survey.
  • Ritchie, L.A., Gill, D.A., and Picou, J.S. 2013. “The BP Disaster and Social Distress: A Rerun of the Exxon Valdez?” Pp. 225-233 in King, L. and D. Auriffielle, M. (eds.), Environmental Sociology: From Analysis to Action. Rowman & Littlefield. 
  • Gill, D.A., Picou, J.S., and Ritchie, L.A. 2012. “When the Disaster is a Crime: Legal Issues and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.” Second Edition. Pp. 73-96 in Harper, D.W. and Frailing, K. (eds.), Crime and Criminal Justice in Disaster. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. 
  • Eicken, Hajo, Ritchie L.A., and Barlau, A. 2011. “The Role of Local Indigenous Knowledge in Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Development, Environmental Hazard Mitigation, and Emergency Response.” In Lovecraft, A.L. and Eicken, H. (eds.), North by 2020: Perspectives on Alaska’s Changing Social-Ecological Systems. Alaska University Press. 
  • Ritchie, L.A. and Gill, D.A. 2011. “Fostering Resiliency in Renewable Resource Communities: Subsistence Lifescapes and Social Capital.” Pp. 51-81 in Rivera, J.D. and Miller, D.S (eds.), How Ethnically Marginalized Americans Cope with Catastrophic Disasters. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, Ltd. 
  • Ritchie, L.A., Tierney, K, and Gilbert, B. 2011. “Disaster Preparedness among Community-Based Organizations in the City and County of San Francisco: Serving The Most Vulnerable.” Pp. 3-39 in Miller, D.S. and Rivera, J.D. (eds.), Community Disaster Recovery and Resiliency: Exploring Global Opportunities and Challenges. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis.
  • Gill, D.A. Picou, J.S., and Ritchie, L.A. 2010. “When the Disaster is a Crime: Legal Issues and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.” Pp. 81-109 in Harper, D.W. and Frailing, K. (eds.), Crime and Criminal Justice in Disaster. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. 
  • Gill, D.A. and Ritchie, L.A. 2006. “Community Responses to Oil Spills: Lessons to be Learned from Technological Disaster Research.” Pp. 77-96 in R. Brewer (ed.) The SelendangAyu Oil Spill: Lessons Learned. University of Alaska Fairbanks: Alaska Sea Grant College Program. 
  • Miller, L.A. 1996. “First Test of a Submarine in Warfare.” In Great Events from History: North American Series, Revised Edition. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press. 
  • Miller, L.A. 1996. “Stamp Act Crisis.” In Great Events from History: North American Series, Revised Edition. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press. 
  • Miller, L.A. 1994. “The Urban Underclass and the Rural Poor.” In McGill’s Survey of the Social Sciences: Sociology. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press. 
  • Miller, L.A. 1996. “Whitney Invents the Cotton Gin.” In Great Events from History: North American Series, Revised Edition. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press. 
  • Contract: Evaluation and Research Support Services to Feeding America (Lead Evaluator/Researcher with Co-Leads Nnenia Campbell, Melanie Gall, and Susan Cutter) Funding Period: December 2019 - September 2021. Amount: $220,000 Feeding America/Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
  • Grant: Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure User Satisfaction Survey, Principal Investigator. Funding Period: July 2019 - June 2020. Amount: $8,000, National Science Foundation. 
  • Contract: National Institute of Standards and Technology Disaster Resilience Fellow Funding Period: October 2014 - present. Amount: Available Upon Request, National Institute of Standards and Technology. 
  • Grant: Hazards SEES: The Risk Landscape of Earthquakes Induced by Deep Wastewater Injection (Co-Principal Investigator with Abbie Liel [Lead] and Anne Sheehan). Funding Period: September 2015 to August 2019. Amount: $649,279 of the total $2,632,000, National Science Foundation 
  • Grant: An Ecological Assessment of New York's Home Buyout Program: Exploring Lived Experiences and Implications for Affected Households and Communities (Consultant to Co-­Principal Investigators.) Funding Period: September 2015-August 2019. National Science Foundation. 
  • Contract: Mentor-Connect: A Leadership Development and Outreach Initiative for the Advanced Technological Education Program (Consultant to Principal Investigator Elaine Craft) Funding Period: August 2015 to August 2019, National Science Foundation 

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