How will we change the world?

First step - prepare ourselves. The Department of Community Development and Applied Economics (CDAE) offers hands-on, transdisciplinary* learning and experience that empowers graduates to make professional contributions to their communities and the world.

CDAE supports sustainable local and international community development through research, education, and outreach that serves the public interest.

CDAE teaches theories, skills, and contexts for complex issues facing local and global communities, (including climate change, social inequity, organizing, and sustainable community development), as well as introduces students to CDAE’s core values and skills, including community engagement, effective communication, transdisciplinary teamwork, sustainability, reflexivity, empathy, and responsibility. These theories, skills, and contexts are explored in depth and reinforced in students’ advanced coursework within their particular major.

*transdisciplinary means we are a department that transcends the typical boundaries of disciplines: we draw from and intersect across the fields of applied communication, rural sociology, consumer, agricultural, behavioral, and ecological economics, visual design, documentary film for social change, social entrepreneurship, journalism, community design, and local and internatonal community development. 

Change your major to a CDAE program

Learn about CDAE Internships

Browse CDAE Courses

Meet CDAE Faculty

Applied and Service Learning

Building and developing community connections requires connecting with your community.

CDAE is a unique and innovative department. We were doing Service Learning before it was called "Service Learning" because we found it to be an effective, rewarding way to teach and learn. CDAE works with countless local, regional, and international partners to give students experience in long-term project development, planning, and execution as well as the background, context, and lenses through which to view their work. It is our belief that pairing traditional classroom learning with applied experience in the field makes for the best graduates, and, most importantly, global citizens.

Hear from our faculty and students!


CDAE Faculty 2017

CDAE faculty members are experts in their field, experienced in their practice, and prolific in their contributions to academic literature.  They engage students with applied learning, relevant worldly problem-solving, and theory to back it all up.

Social Enterprise Day is an opportunity for students from across campus—and especially CDAE—to connect with professionals who use business as a force for good. This event was an extension of the foundation learning and work done in CDAE 166.

students - campus activities - WRUV

Our department integrates action with learning.  We house courses in media literacy, news writing, and we underwrite UVM's student-run free-form radio station, WRUV FM Burlington.  Tate Kamish, above, Public Communication minor DJs at the station adding skills to her experience in media and communication.