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Program leadership changes at SPIA include two new chairs in National Capital Region

Tom Sanchez Tom Sanchez

Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) has appointed three new program chairs, two of them based in the National Capital Region.

Professor Tom Sanchez is now chair for the Urban Affairs and Planning program and Professor Joel Peters for the Government and International Affairs program.

Associate Professor Laura Jensen, based in Blacksburg, is chair for the Center for Public Administration and Policy.

Sanchez conducts research in the areas of transportation, civil rights, environmental justice, and other social aspects of urban planning and policy. Over the past 20 years, his research has resulted in over 100 articles, reports, and conference presentations. As a nonresident Senior Fellow for the Brookings Institution, Sanchez authored several publications about how Metropolitan Planning Organizations address environmental justice in their transportation planning practices. He currently serves as the editor-in-chief of Housing Policy Debate, a leading journal on the topics of housing and community development policy.

Joel Peters Joel Peters

Peters specializes in the field of global security and conflict resolution. His research interests and publications cover Israeli politics and foreign policy, the Arab-Israeli peace process, regional cooperation in the Middle East and Europe’s relations in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. He is the author of four books on Israeli foreign policy. He is currently completing a new book on contemporary Israeli foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. He is also the co-editor of a book series on Europe and the World published by Lexington Books.

Jensen’s research interests are social policy and welfare state development, federalism and intergovernmental relations, government accountability, politics of spending and taxation, law and society, and American political development. She is the author of the book, "Patriots, Settlers, and the Origins of American Social Policy", and her most recent research focuses on the rise of the contract state in American government.

Two associate chairs were also named: Susan Sterett, a professor in the National Capital Region, at the Center for Public Administration and Policy; and Yang Zhang, an associate professor in Blacksburg, for Urban Affairs and Planning.

In another change, Associate Professor Ralph Hall is the new director for Undergraduate Studies.

“SPIA is excited to announce our new leadership team,” said Anne Khademian, director of SPIA. “Each of these new appointees are committed to focusing on the continued excellence of our programs and building upon them to connect with and advance Virginia Tech’s new destination areas. I am delighted to be working with all of them.”

Posted October 21, 2016