What does it mean to teach, learn, and serve in southern Appalachia, even if one does not identify with the region? What biases, experiences, and privileges hinder our ability to serve the region and immediate community to the greatest potential? How might we better support students from the region, specifically southwest Virginia? How can we disrupt narratives which misrepresent regional perspectives and knowledges regardless of our disciplinary affiliation?  

This workshop provides a detailed overview of the region’s history in order to better understand the economic and social positioning of the region today. Further, many employees and students from the region note discriminatory practices and hardships due to stereotypes, systemic inequality, and a general lack of knowledge concerning nuanced cultural differences within the region. With this in mind, participants will also be encouraged to think about stereotypes as an institutional, systemic, and pedagogical issue, with the goal of better understanding and appreciating the region’s history and socio-political position within our local community.


  • Gain a multidisciplinary understanding of the region that Virginia Tech occupies and directly impacts.
  • Discuss the social construction of the region, including current stereotypes, movements, environmental issues, and social justice actions within and impacting the region.
  • Explore and complicate the concepts of poverty and service often associated with the southern Appalachian as these often rely on stereotypical or oppressive understandings of the region.
  • Engage in group discussions on how to recognize and implement practices that address the diverse experiences of Appalachian faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students.
  • Identify and acknowledge personal experiences with place-based bias and stereotyping in the workplace and reflect on how those experiences impact their roles within the university.


If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, contact University Organizational and Professional Development or call 540-231-5100 during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event. Additional advance notice may be required, depending on the type of program and the time necessary to secure the requested accommodation(s).

Certificate Available

This course can be used to meet elective requirements for any Diversity Development Certificate.