Community, economic, and social development provides students with the tools and knowledge to make meaningful change within their community and the world around them. This distinctive interdisciplinary program integrates several disciplines including CESD, social work, sociology, political science, geography, economics, and business administration. Due to the broad-based structure of the program, students will develop a holistic perspective of the world around them and develop the knowledge and understanding to work to advocate for positive change, fight for economic and social equality, and defend human rights, with a specific focus on smaller urban, rural, northern, and Indigenous communities. Students can also minor in environmental sustainability and social justice and globalization.
In students’ third-year of study, they will complete a 150-hour work placement, while in their fourth-year, they will be required to complete a 300-hour placement and a major paper or project. Students have been placed in organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Children’s Aid Society, Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, NORDIK Institute, United Way, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and more. These placements allow students to apply concepts, theories, and methods from their coursework in the community, advocate for change, and implement new analytical strategies, making the degree action-packed and very hands-on.
Graduates will be eligible for certification by the Economic Developers’ Association of Canada (EDAC) and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Offices (CANDO). Graduates from the CESD program have gone on to work in the local, provincial, and federal government, not-for-profit and cooperative agencies, youth development agencies, rural and urban economic development associations, have worked as researchers, advocates, and more graduates have also been accepted into prestigious graduate programs in geography, education, sociology, sustainable development, and community economic development.
What You Can Expect
Hands-on learning, a close-knit campus community, and caring faculty.
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Be a changemaker in your community
Fight for social and economic equality, defend human rights, and bring about positive change – that’s what CESD is all about.
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Get hands on experience
In your third and fourth year of CESD, students will participate in a 150-hour and 300-hour field placement, which will apply concepts, theories, and methods learned in the classroom to real life. You’ll get real hands-on working knowledge, and valuable experience to add to your resume.
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An interdisciplinary Career
With courses in CESD, social work, political science, geography, and business administration, students will earn a well-rounded and holistic degree that opens them up to countless career paths. Your options are endless with a degree in CESD.
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The CESD Spring Institute provides education and professional development in Community Development with a specialized focus on northern, rural and Indigenous communities. They offer unique university course credits that can be applied to a degree at Algoma U, professional development for those already working in the field, and interactive, hands-on learning experiences.
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The Animator (CESD News)
The Animator is a quarterly newsletter created and published by the CESD program. By subscribing to the newsletter, students receive valuable, up-to-date information, of everything happening within the program.
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The CESD Club
The CESD Club is run by students and supporters of CESD. The club commits to undertaking campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness of, and attempt to redress, local and global issues. These initiatives include developing The People’s Garden on Algoma U’s campus, performing ongoing academic research on a range of community concerns, and coordinating an international learning exchange with the community of Intag, Ecuador. To contact the CESD Club, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Created with the help of CESD Professor Dr. Gayle Broad, NORDIK has been instrumental in investigating key issues which directly affect Northern Ontario. Students can become involved with NORDIK in a variety of ways, including as volunteers, interns, summer student programs, work study programs, and through graduate studies supervision. For more information, please visit NORDIK’s website. LEARN MORE
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The People’s Garden
The People’s Garden is an initiative started and maintained by the CESD program, in partnership with the Algoma U Student Food Bank, Student Services, and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. The People’s Garden was undertaken in an effort to address student food security, as well as to provide an arena for fun on-campus events and community-building activities.
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Community Based Delivery
The CESD Department has been delivering Community Based courses in partnership with communities and organizations for more than a decade. Past Community Based Partnerships included working with Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Atlantic Policy Congress (APC) of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat, Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute (KTEI), Fort Albany First Nation and Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation. Our current partner for the First Nation Social Service Administrators Certificate is The Ontario Native Welfare Administrators Association (ONWAA).
For more detailed information on our courses, please visit our courses schedule sectionGet Started Now
Meet our Faculty
Our CESD faculty are experts in the field. Get to know them!
Dr. Sheila Gruner
Associate Professor, Department ChairView Full Bio
Dr. Laura Wyper
Assistant ProfessorView Full Bio
Lecturer & Director of Research NORDIK InstituteView Full Bio
Community Economic and Social Development Program and Learning Support CoordinatorView Full Bio
“In my fourth year placement, I organised an advisory committee for the Soup Kitchen to change into a Community Health Centre. It was such a great experience. The placement allowed me to bring the skills I had learned in class and apply them to the centre. I was given freedom to explore and develop new projects and analyse how effective other plans were. I was subsequently hired by the Soup Kitchen.”
MA, Sociology, BA, CESD
“I loved the passion in the students at Algoma. I did a lot of social and environmental activism and volunteer work while at school, from gathering like-minded individuals to tackling today’s issues on campus with the CESD Club to helping grow organically produced food, free to the student population. This all added to my future and my degree. It stretched me as an individual and gave me the hands on experience that I needed to solidify what theory was learned within the classroom.”
“We receive a lot of hands-on experience and placement opportunities outside of the classroom, which really helps to apply what we are learning in real-life situations.”