Detroit, MI

Symposium Overview

Over the last few decades, the community development field has grown substantially, creating a need for further professional training. Today, there are approximately 50 graduate and undergraduate community development programs across the United States. While this growth is positive, community development education remains splintered. No shared standards, core content, or teaching practices have been identified or agreed upon by educators who span diverse disciplines and community contexts. There is also a lack of communication among community development educators about what new knowledge and methods are emerging, and where the field is going. In response, is current pedagogy relevant to the training of future practitioners?

The 2019 Community Development Education Symposium focused on community development education and educational delivery for undergraduate and graduate students. It brought together community development educators to share knowledge, best practices, and innovative ideas for teaching and learning. The gathering created a space for community development educators to explore:

  • What is shifting in community development education? 

  • Where is knowledge emerging? 

  • Are there new models for community development education? 

  • What changes in the community development field inform education? 

  • What are innovative methods for teaching and learning community development?

Through keynote speakers, conversation exchanges, and tours, the symposium discussed current program designs and educational practices. It also showcased emerging and innovative curricula, educational methods, and student and professional development that advance the impact of Community Development Education.


Summit Overview

The aim of the Summit was to assist the research team in advancing the following objectives:

•      Developing operational definitions of community development education,

•      Creating networks for cross-institutional collaboration,

•      Solidifying philosophical and epistemological beliefs and practices within CDE,

•      Proposing professional development opportunities for faculty and students in CDE,

•      Articulating a national research agenda for scholars in community development education, and

•      Identifying potential themes for a special journal issue on CDE.

The agenda for the Summit was informed by major themes emanating from the Symposium, a discussion with raconteur discussants, and a post-Symposium research team workshop that took place on the day before the Summit meeting. Furthermore, a nominal group process to answer the following question:

What are the primary/major/fundamental problems and issues in Community Development Education that could be addressed through research and in the next five years?

Based on this question, a nominal group process was used to come to an agreement of a proposed research agenda. The Summit concluded with an open discussion about a community development educator community of practice. To view the Summit Report and list of participants please click the links below: