Welcome

Fostering community-driven development & social change

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.

News

A Reading and Conversation on Stories of Climate Resilience in the South

On Wednesday, September 25, 2019 the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Department will host an evening reading and conversation with author Ric...

Sustainable Development Fall 2019 Lunch & Learn Series

Goodnight Family Sustainable Development DepartmentFall 2019 Lunch and Learn Series All events will take place from 12:0...

Students view exhibition

A growing learning community: Climate Stories Collaborative at Appalachian teaches students and faculty alike

Sustainability has long been a core value shared by faculty, staff and students at Appalachian State University. In the Goodnight Family Department of...

What Our Alumni Are Saying

"My degree provided a strong foundation in comprehending sustainable, living systems that work with the natural rhythms of our environment.  I learned practical skills in agricultural viability and lifestyle awareness, which have been expanded upon through life experience."