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

"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."