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!


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 ...

Photo of Anne Fanatico presenting award to Nelson Gonzales

SD Student Nelson Gonzalez receives the Charles Church Sustainability Award

SD student Nelson Gonzales was recently presented with the Charles Church Stewardship and Sustainability Award at the 67th Annual Farm City Banquet. T...

What Our Alumni Are Saying

My degree in SD has provided me with the building blocks upon which I have begun my career with the National Park Service as an interpreter and proponent for natural, wild places.

One thing that constantly impressed my about the program was the diversity of the students within it - the range of interests we had, and what we hoped to do with everything we learned. The faculty and staff in the Sustainable Development department gave individual, personalized attention to each of us to make sure that we would be prepared for our individual goals while also ensuring that we left with broad knowledge of all branches of sustainability - environmental, economic, agricultural, and global."