2014-2015 Academic Catalog 
    Jan 15, 2021  
2014-2015 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Community Development and Planning, MA

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Graduate Program

The Community Development and Planning program provides current and future community development practitioners, activists, and scholars with a strong foundation—based on theory, skill development, and practice—to take on the challenges of urban revitalization in the United States. Our program links theory to practice through insightful participation of practitioners in seminars, high quality internships, and studio and practicum courses that allow students to learn directly from residents and community-based organizations about their resources, priorities, and strategies. Students in the Community Development and Planning Program learn alternative ways of thinking and transforming communities to achieve greater equity and social justice.

The CDP Program offers core courses and hands-on skill development in critical areas such as: community development and planning theory, planning techniques, community organizing, community development finance, grant writing, land use, decision-making and negotiation, non-profit management, youth and community development, geographic information systems, and research and project evaluation methods. CDP students also benefit from a unique interdisciplinary approach to community development that integrates the perspectives and ideas of the other departmental programs: Environmental Science and Policy, Geographic Information Sciences for Development and Environment, and International Development and Social Change.

The CDP Experience

Through the CDP program, students will:

  • Understand social, economic, and political forces that shape places
  • Understand communities in a regional and international context
  • Gain rigorous analytical training—the ability to explore and research complex social issues, solid quantitative and qualitative skills, and strong writing and public communication skills
  • Challenge existing structures of power from within or outside transitional development organizations
  • Develop professional practices that trigger social change to improve quality of life
  • Prepare students to be leaders in a diverse range of community development and planning roles.

“The world needs more intelligent passionate people who can think and act quickly on the complex issues facing our communities. CDP gives students who are passionate about serving their community a great foundation of knowledge to build upon.” Jimmy Royster (CDP/M.A. ‘06)

See www.clarku.edu/departments/idce/academicsGradCDP.cfm for details about the Community Development and Planning program.

Local Partnerships: Putting Theory into Action

The collaborative research projects of IDCE graduate students and faculty reflect their interdisciplinary approach to issues of environment and development. Many projects build upon partnerships between IDCE and community or governmental organizations around the United States and the globe, including in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Somalia, Ghana, India and Senegal.

Locally, environmental and community groups often invite IDCE to undertake key community building projects, as well as data gathering and analysis. This allows IDCE faculty and students to put theory into practice right in the neighborhood. By helping to facilitate participatory sessions and building collaborations, students see Worcester neighbors taking action, setting priorities, and maximizing into their human capital and governmental resources. Students hone their analytical skills through GIS mapping of land parcels for development or preservation and through monitoring water quality.

Graduate Requirements

Community Development and Planning Course of Study

The Master’s program in CDP requires a minimum of 12 graduate course units. These include 4.5 core CDP course units (including the Final Masters Paper credit for your final M.A. project), 2.5 units of skills courses, and five units of electives (for CDP Accelerated Masters students, 2 of these electives are internship units). You should tailor your skills and electives courses toward your area of specialization. A sampling of classes and how they connect to CDP specialization areas can be found in the online CDP Handbook.

Program Faculty

Ramon Borges-Mendez, Ph.D. - Coordinator
Laurie Ross, Ph.D. 

Adjunct Faculty

Yuko Aoyama, Ph.D.
John Baker, Ph.D.
Parminder Bhachu, Ph.D.

Mark Davidson, Ph.D.

Eric DeMeulenaere, Ph.D.
Joseph de Rivera, Ph.D.
Jody Emel, Ph.D.
Susan Foster, Ph.D.
Jacqueline Geoghegan, Ph.D.
Susan Hanson, Ph.D.
Amy Ickowitz, Ph.D.
Sharon Krefetz, Ph.D.
Deborah Martin, Ph.D.
Richard Peet, Ph.D.
Colin Polsky, Ph.D.
Paul W. Posner, Ph.D.
Dianne Rocheleau, Ph.D.
Paul Ropp, Ph.D.
Robert Ross, Ph.D.
Joseph Sarkis, Ph.D.
Srinivasan Sitaraman, Ph.D.
Kristen Williams, Ph.D.

Department Instructors

Laura Bold

Frank Kartheiser

Dodi Swope

Kristen Wilson

Research Faculty

Joseph de Rivera, Ph.D.

Cynthia Enloe, Ph.D.
Richard Ford, Ph.D.
Barbara Thomas-Slayter, Ph.D.



Please view Clark’s official Academic Catalog for a complete listing of course offerings. Remember that each IDCE program offers flexibility so students can take classes across programs and within other departments at Clark University, including the Graduate School of Geography and the Graduate School of Management.

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