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The Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences established the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies in 2020 in response to some of the most daunting challenges facing humanity.

“By their very definition, transdisciplinary studies defy traditional curricular and programmatic boundaries,” said Laura Belmonte, dean of the college. “Our university already has a significant number of faculty, programs, and courses that are transdisciplinary in their focus and methodologies, but they’re dispersed across colleges and departments. The Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies is intended to be the catalyst that brings them together and takes advantage of their synergistic strength to address complex problems.”


Director and Associate Dean of  Transdisciplinary Initiatives

Carlos Evia, associate dean for transdisciplinary initiatives at the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, directs the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies. He also serves as a professor in the School of Communication and as chief technology officer of the college. 

Carlos Evia
Carlos Evia, professor of Communication and Director of the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies

An expert in cutting-edge technical communication, Evia holds a master’s degree in computer systems from Universidad La Salle in Mexico City and a doctorate in technical communication and rhetoric from Texas Tech University. In his doctoral program he specialized in technical documentation, content operations, and user experience, with an emphasis on misrepresented audiences.

Evia, who joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2004, focuses his research on planning and developing technology-based solutions for workplace communication problems, particularly in situations involving multicultural audiences. He is particularly interested in Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), which uses Extensible Markup Language, or XML, to define a set of guidelines for encoding documents in a format that can be read by both humans and machines.

He has worked with OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, as a voting member of the Technical Committee for DITA. He also co-chaired the organization’s subcommittee on Lightweight DITA, an authoring method he helped create that uses plain text with notations.

Evia authored the book Creating Intelligent Content with Lightweight DITA in 2018 and co-edited Outsourcing Technical Communication: Issues, Policies, and Practices a decade earlier. He serves on the editorial boards of two journals, Communication Design Quarterly and IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. He is also a co-administrator of the Hispanics in Computing LinkedIn group.

At Virginia Tech, Evia is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction, a faculty fellow at the Center for Communicating Science, and a member of the stakeholder committee of the Center for Humanities.

Evia is also a member of the Virginia Tech Hispanic/Latino Faculty and Staff Caucus. During the 2020-2021 academic year, he was the faculty fellow at El Centro, the Hispanic and Latinx Cultural and Community Center.

Susan Stinson
Susan Stinson, instructor of Communication and assistant director of the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies

Assistant Director of Curriculum

Susan Stinson, affectionately known by colleagues and students as “Scout,” serves as Assistant Director of the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies and as Instructor of Communication and Issues of Diversity in the School of Communication. With a professional background in publishing at Vintage Books, Anchor Books & Everyman’s Library—imprints part of the Knopf Group inside what is now Penguin Random House, Scout earned her Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction (CNF) from Goddard College in Vermont in 2007 and taught service, literature survey, creative nonfiction, and LGBTQ+ memoir courses at Longwood University from 2004 – 2014 when she moved to Virginia Tech. She serves as Lead CNF Editor for the national literary journal Clockhouse.

Bonnie Zare
Bonnie Zare, professor of Sociology and director of Women's and Gender Studies

Director of Women's and Gender Studies

Brandy Faulkner
Brandy Faulkner, assistant professor of Political Science and director of Africana Studies

Director of Africana Studies

Elizabeth McLain
Elizabeth McLain, instructor of Musicology and coordinator of Disability Studies

Coordinator of Disability Studies


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    Angel Jones
    Angel Jones

    Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Technology

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    Catalina Hernandez-Cabal
    Catalina Hernandez-Cabal

    Instructor in the Academy of Transdisciplinary Studies

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    Rishi Jaitly
    Rishi Jaitly

    Rishi Jaitly, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Humanities Fellow in the Center of Humanities

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    Zarah Quinn

    Instructor of Women's and Gender Studies