Faculty Research

Wilder School faculty members are at the cutting-edge of wide variety of research, from criminal justice to public policy to social equity and beyond. Below is a snapshot of the work being done by our faculty, with a focus on research related to the current conflict in Ukraine.

Is Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine The First Social Media War?

“Historically, media depictions of war were either provided by the military – and therefore not likely to be representative — or derived from sketchy, smuggled materials,” William Pelfrey, Jr. Ph.D., a professor of criminal justice and homeland security and emergency preparedness recently told Forbes. “The real-time nature of high-quality video provided from any cellphone, anywhere, anytime, broadcast on an always-on social media network with rapid retweets or sharing, means that people anywhere can virtually experience some of the elements of combat.” Read the full article.

Wilder School Lunch and Learn – The Digital Dimensions and Implications of Russia’s War on Ukraine

Russia’s war against Ukraine has seen widespread use of digital disruption. Western sanctions have set in motion an unprecedented shift in how Russians will use the Internet. But the “cyber blitzkrieg” expected alongside Russia’s invasion of Ukraine never happened. What cybersecurity lessons can we learn from the conflict and what can we expect from Russia in the months and years to come? These are questions that Christopher Whyte, an assistant professor of homeland security and emergency preparedness at the Wilder School, explored during the May Lunch and Learn virtual presentation, “Why No Cyber “Shock and Awe”? The Digital Dimensions and Implications of Russia’s War on Ukraine.” Watch here.

Reflections on progress in Ukraine with Jay Albanese

“Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 resulted in chaotic and unchecked economic, social, and political instability. This power vacuum led to a proliferation of organized criminal groups operating in the region. I was part of a research partnership between Ukrainian and American social scientists interested in learning about organized crime in Ukraine in order to combat the problem more effectively. The partnership linked researchers between the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and its Ukrainian counterpart, the Ukrainian Academy of Law Sciences. I was part of the NIJ team, while on loan from Virginia Commonwealth University.” Read the full article.

CompassPoint Podcast: New questions and exciting opportunities in the field of cybersecurity

In this podcast, we speak with Dr. Christopher Whyte, an assistant professor of homeland security and emergency preparedness at VCU’s Wilder School. Dr. Whyte discusses his work in the growing fields of cybersecurity and cyber conflict, and shares how growth in these fields is leading to new questions, interesting answers, and exciting opportunities. He also discusses his recent work as it relates to the conflict in Ukraine, and what policymakers,  practitioners, and students can learn from current events. Listen here.