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!


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SD Instructor Carol Coulter Inducted into the Western NC Agricultural Hall of Fame

SD instructor Carol Coulter was inducted into the Western North Carolina (WNC) Agricultural Hall of Fame on Friday, August  11, 2023. The WNC Agr...

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SD Student Ben Pluska Awarded Rachel Carson Council Fellowship

Senior Sustainable Development (SD) major Ben Pluska has recently been selected as a National Rachel Carson Council Campus (RCC) Fellow for the 2...

Laura England selected to attend the All We Can Save Project’s ‘Climate Wayfinding’ Program

Through the All We Can Save Project, an organization that has grown out of the incredible response to a 2020 book of the same name focused on cli...

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."