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

Chip Hope

New leadership at Teaching and Research Farm brings collaborative opportunities

In May 2018, C.C. “Chip” Hope III was hired as the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development’s Teaching and Research Farm director....

Aurora Figueroa-Benetti

Independent study with local farmer leads Appalachian student to cultivate a “new” fruit tree

Aurora Figueroa-Benetti’s passion for sustainable agriculture led her to Appalachian State University’s Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable...

Climate Justice banner

Appalachian hosts Climate Justice Month in April

Starting April 1, Appalachian State University will host its first-ever Climate Justice Month to broaden the conversation surrounding climate change. ...

What Our Alumni Are Saying

"The most valuable things about my degree: I came out of college with a knowledge base that few people have had the opportunity to build by that point. I am so glad that I had time to develop that foundation while I was at ASU, and now I feel like I have a head start for taking it in new directions."