The BS in Community Development program prepares students for careers as leaders collaborating with stakeholders and empowering people to revitalize communities. Students will learn to understand and think critically about the social, political, economic, historic and cultural dynamics shaping various types of communities. Courses provide important knowledge, values and skills necessary for community development work. Students will learn how to engage stakeholders; assess a community’s assets, needs and opportunities; plan what the community wants to achieve; and develop strategies, programs, and policies to improve housing, local economy, parks, food access and other neighborhood characteristics that impact residents' quality of life. Learning extends beyond the classroom with hands-on experience through service learning, field research, informal gatherings and workshops.
Community development is a field that embraces both citizen activists and professionals in planned efforts to identify, enhance, and create social and physical assets that increase the capacity of residents to improve their quality of life. Graduates of the Community Development program will be prepared to tackle the challenges of the community development worker in the 21st century, specifically how to empower culturally, economically, or geographically disadvantaged communities to address inequalities and improve their long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability. In addition to working directly with community stakeholders, graduates will be prepared to serve as the critical link between communities, local governments, and state and federal programs in various positions including community organizing, nonprofit organizations, private foundations, community development corporations, community investment specialists within banks.