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.

We 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. We examine 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, including how current development and livelihood challenges are shaped by globalization and environmental change. 

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

Photo of Key Point, New Zealand

Saijie Inman Receives National Scholarships for New Zealand Study Abroad Program

Saijie Inman, a senior SD major from Asheville, recently completed a study abroad program in New Zealand (Aotearoa). Saije‚Äôs study abroad exper...

Photo of grains event

First High Country Grains Gathering a Success!

The First High Country Grains Gathering was held in December 2023, organized by SD student Maya Fontana for her Senior Capstone Project. The Grains Ga...

Photo of Rebecca Witter accepting award

Congratulations to Our Award-Winning SD Faculty!

Congratulations to SD faculty members Dr. Matt Ogwu and Dr. Rebecca Witter!Dr. Ogwu is the inagural recipient of the 2023 College of Fine and Applied ...

What Our Alumni Are Saying

"My SD degree exposed me to several different aspects of sustainability - a concept which can be applied to most any field. Getting exposure to so many different disciplines within that realm helped me to figure out exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. The coursework and hands-on experiences that I had at Appalachian also gave me the right tools to live a healthy, proactive and conscious life as an adult. I continue to sing the praises of the SD department at Appalachian, and my time spent with that work and those professors has truly changed my life for the better.

I can't speak more highly of the SD department. As a student who saw it finally become its own accredited department offering both a BA and a BS, it has really been a pleasure to see how things have continued to evolve since graduation. The lessons I learned and friendships that I made during my time there are things that I carry with me everyday, and I love to tell other people about the incredible experience that I had with SD at Appalachian. I can't say that I have a single regret about choosing Appalachian or about my degree and coursework. Keep it up - you all are doing great things!"