Welcome to the Sustainable Development Department

We are a critical development studies department that is committed to preparing students for both thoughtful analysis of the processes of human development and applied practice in the pursuit of transformative, community-driven development and social change. Sustainable development aims to enrich human well-being, protect and conserve healthy and productive natural systems, support shared economic prosperity, and advance an ecological worldview. With more than 300 undergraduate majors and 50 minors, our students examine the interdependent complexities and challenges of the world’s most pressing environmental, economic, and social problems and envision and enact creative and innovative solutions to these challenges in the context of sustainable development. Our faculty and students are deeply committed to the creation of a just and sustainable future for all.  

Students in the Sustainable Development Department are exposed to key theoretical concepts and analytical tools in order to assess what development means and how it is experienced in different places and cultures in all parts of the world. Students examine how current development and livelihood challenges are shaped by globalization and environmental change. Our faculty have a strong transdisciplinary dedication to sustainable development, and our curriculum integrates theory and practice from across the social sciences, natural and agricultural sciences, and humanities. Our students concentrate in one of four degree programs: community, regional, and global development; sustainable agriculture; environmental studies; or an individually-designed program. The Department is home to one of the largest diversified teaching and research farms in the nation. Our department has deep historical roots at our university, where faculty across the campus share our commitment to sustainability.

Join us as we engage in understanding and advancing the social, economic, and environmental transformations necessary to create thriving, equitable, and sustainable communities within an ecologically healthy world.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 10:26pm
The title comes from a line by William Butler Yeats, and much of the poetry is constructed for what...
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 10:02pm
At 3 a.m. on April 25, Dinesh Paudel experienced what he calls the “nightmare situation.”
Monday, June 29, 2015 - 10:08am
From July 21-23, the Lettuce Learn Project and the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development...
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What Our Alumni Are Saying

The Sustainable Development program at App State revolutionized my take on the state of our world. It taught me never to accept things as they are and that if the first answer to my question is the right answer, then I'm not asking the right question. Power relations lie behind everything, and the right answer is never "that's just the way things are." The SD program prepared me to aim high for opportunities with the most potential to affect change, and to create those opportunities regardless of however menial my current situation may feel. It gave me the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to impress in the "real world" and bring new perspectives to those set in their ways.


Dr. Sandra Lubarsky, Chair
Sustainable Development Department
Living Learning Center

Sandy Wilson
Administrative Assistant

Applications for SD Teaching & Research Farm Resident

We are not currently accepting applications for residency spots on the SD Teaching & Research Farm.

Rent-free in exchange for ten hours of farm work per week.  Contact Brooke Kornegay at kornegayba@appstate.edu

More information

QEP Global Learning