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Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies

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Crossing disciplinary boundaries to solve complex problems

The Virginia Tech Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies fosters teaching, research, and service activities that aim to solve complex problems that challenge the boundaries of traditional disciplines.

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Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies


Social injustice. Environmental degradation. Cyberterrorism. These challenges are so complex they may at times seem insurmountable. Yet the very root of the word “complexity” suggests a possible path to solutions.

“‘Complex’ doesn’t just mean complicated,” said Carlos Evia, associate dean for transdisciplinary initiatives in the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “The root of the word, plexus, means plait or braid. Disparate strands, when intertwined, gain in strength. So when we talk about complex problems, we must also consider complex solutions — the braiding together of insights from many disciplines.”

Evia now leads the Virginia Tech Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies, which fosters teaching, research, and service activities that aim to solve complex problems that challenge the boundaries of traditional disciplines.


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