Introduction to Sustainable Community Development

COURSE CREDIT: 4 Credit Hrs

COURSE LEVEL: 300

This course explores how knowledge of ecological systems, globalization, political economy, and the biblical worldview come together in the pursuit of development that is community-minded, just, and ecologically sustainable. Through readings, lectures and fieldtrips, students study complex issues in sustainable development such as the nexus of poverty, the environment, and justice, and the many practical challenges associated with sustainable community development.

Discussing Agriculture on a Field Trip to Patachakan, Northern Belize.  (Photo: Derek Rosenberger)

Course Faculty

Dr. Sara Alexander - Sus. Community Development (Baylor Uni., TX)

Dr. Sara Alexander - Sus. Community Development (Baylor Uni., TX)

Sara Alexander is Chair and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of African Studies at Baylor University.  She is an applied social anthropologist who has conducted research in Belize since 1993 on a variety of development-related topics.  She also works in Costa Rica, West and East Africa, and in Appalachia. Her research interests broadly focus on the Third World development process with emphases on livelihood security and vulnerability, food security, ecotourism, natural resource management, human dimensions of climate change, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Dr. Alexander has recently completed a two-year field study (funded by NOAA) in several coastal communities in the Meso American Barrier Reef System to examine resilience of vulnerable households to climate-related events and shocks. These data are being used to develop a Resiliency Index. The project continues fieldwork this year to facilitate new coalitions within and outside communities to identify linkages that could be enhanced to increase resilience at household and community levels.

Dr. Alexander has also been an advisor to a number of NGOs – Save the Children, CARE, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, and the World Food Programme – on various programs and projects over the last fifteen years.  She travelled to Haiti in May with Save the Children as a Development Advisor and she has most recently returned from Nepal where she was working on a Livelihood Security Assessment for WFP.  She is currently writing Guidelines for WFP addressing sustainability issues around food aid programming for the use of food aid to address impacts of HIV/AIDS in eastern and southern Africa.

Dr. Jonathan Warner - Sus. Community Development (Quest Uni., BC)

Dr. Jonathan Warner - Sus. Community Development (Quest Uni., BC)

Jonathan Warner studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, and then obtained his PhD from the University of Wales. His dissertation was grandly called, “the role of Welfare Economics in Public Policy”, but really tried to explain how society should decide on the level of bus fares. He also holds a PGE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) from Birmingham University.

After completing his degrees, Jonathan taught at Maidstone Grammar School (England) for four years, moving on to North Cyprus in 1988 to teach at Eastern Mediterranean University. After ten years (with a year off for good behaviour in Poland), he moved to Central Asia and taught for a year at the American University in Kyrgyzstan, before moving to Dordt College, in the scenic corn country of northwestern Iowa. Two years ago, he moved to a new university, Quest, in British Columbia, where he teaches economics. Jonathan has also taught at the Russian-American Christian University in Moscow, and has three sessions in the Creation Care Study Program in Belize under his belt. Jonathan's research interests are in development economics, the role of religion in economics, and in scrip money (especially its use during the Great Depression). He and his wife, Lynda, don't have any children, just a cat. He has ambitions of one day organizing a CCSP Cricket Team.

Dr. David Unander - Sus. Community Development (Eastern Uni., PA)

Dr. David Unander - Sus. Community Development (Eastern Uni., PA)

David Unander is a Professor of Biology at Eastern University in the Philadelphia area. He studied agriculture, biology and plant breeding at Southern Illinois University and Univ. of Minnesota. After finishing his doctoral research in 1983, on genetic variation for cold tolerance in soybean seedlings in Minnesota, he was hired by Univ. of Puerto Rico, where he learned Spanish and worked on disease resistance and other traits in several vegetables in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries. In 1987, he was hired as the resident botanist and plant breeder for a research team led by Nobel laureate Baruch Blumber at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia that was investigating tropical plants with antiviral effects.  During this time, he joined the Board of ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) in Ft. Myers, FL, a Christian mission that provides training and extension services to missionaries and others globally, and has since served their board for 14 years (in non-consecutive terms).

Dave was hired full-time by Eastern University, primarily in the Dept. of Biology, with part-time involvement in courses related to International Development and to Science and Values. He helped develop the CCSP program in the mid-1990s and has taught in Belize four previous times. He developed and teaches the May term course, ‘Tropical Agriculture and Missions’, for the Au Sable Institute, has taught 14 Biology- or Development-related travel courses in various Latin American countries for Eastern, and served on numerous missions projects with university students and others. Besides ECHO, he has served on the boards of Plant with Purpose (formerly Floresta), a Christian mission with a reforestation focus, and Hope Seeds, a Christian mission that provides ecologically appropriate seeds for relief and development efforts of other missions. His primary professional focus at this time is university teaching and extension-type service. Recently, he has been learning Italian and helping develop new programs and courses in Italy for Eastern University. He has four grown children and two (God willing, soon three) grandchildren, and is actively involved at Providence Church in West Chester, PA.