Established in 1977–78, the Center for Gerontology serves as the organizational unit and focal point for aging-related activities at Virginia Tech. The center’s primary mission is to foster and facilitate multidisciplinary research that enhances the quality of life of older adults. In support of this mission, the center focuses primarily on three streams of coordinated research: Family Gerontology, Health and Aging, and Elder Rights.
The center is the administrative unit for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, a university-approved program of graduate study designed to offer learning experiences consistent with the recommendations of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. The focus on three core gerontology competency domains — aging processes and outcomes related to biological changes and health, dimensions of psychological functioning, and contemporary social and societal issues — assures the public of the quality of the program and its graduates and clarifies for employers the knowledge and skills imparted to students who earn the certificate at Virginia Tech.
Mission and Philosophy
In support of the university’s outreach mission, the center serves as a research-based educational resource for academic departments across the university and for community agencies and organizations that concern themselves with research or services to the older population. In addition to providing their expertise nationally, the center’s faculty members frequently provide technical assistance, written materials, and educational programs to agencies, organizations, and individuals in Virginia.
About the Director
Pamela Teaster, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, directs the center. Dr. Teaster has particular expertise in elder and vulnerable adult mistreatment; public and private guardianship for the elderly; end-of-life issues and decision-making; and ethical responses to human rights issues.