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About the Academy

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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.

The prefix trans denotes that transdisciplinary approaches are concerned with issues that are at the same time between disciplines, across different disciplines, and beyond disciplinary definitions.


A transdisciplinary approach does not cancel or replace individual disciplines, as it needs them to develop solutions for complex problems. Additionally, transdisciplinarity is not in conflict with multidisciplinarity or interdisciplinarity, as they all come from knowledge-seeking inquiry.

Virginia Tech has long supported the pursuit of knowledge in ways that do not fit neatly into traditional academic disciplines. In 2015, President Tim Sands extended that trajectory with the launch of Beyond Boundaries, a visioning initiative in which he challenged the university community to imagine Virginia Tech a generation into the future.

The initiative led to the identification of Destination Areas, in which transdisciplinary communities work together to address complex problems that affect the human condition.

The academy will complement that work, not only encompassing existing interdisciplinary programs in Africana studies, American Indian studies, and women’s and gender studies, but also seeking to support new college-based academic programs and research initiatives. These efforts are expected to include such areas as diversity and inclusion, technology for humanity, digital publishing, Queer studies, Latinx studies, Asian American studies, food studies, and animal studies.