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Sustainable Community Development
The sustainable community development major seeks to prepare students
for their professional and private lives as agents of change by
understanding the importance with balancing environmental, social, and
The major addresses the many difficulties with balancing environmental, social, and economic concerns while trying to live and function sustainably as individuals, organizations, and communities. Through education, outreach, research and service to the Northland College community, the Ashland community, and the local Chequamegon Bay area, students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in sustainability or to enter graduate school.
Program Description and Goals
The sustainable community development major is one of the first of
its kind in the nation combining concepts of community development with
practices of sustainability to create a unique, cutting-edge
undergraduate major. The sustainable community development major is
designed for students who are interested in the interdependence of
environmental, economic, and social issues and who want to strengthen
their abilities to become effective community change agents. The major
is truly multi-disciplinary tapping into ideas founded in the social and
natural sciences and relying on the expertise of a diverse group of
faculty members from sociology and social justice, environmental
studies, natural resource management, business, economics, biology,
geosciences, history, Native American studies, mathematics, chemistry,
psychology and philosophy.
Sustainable community development offers courses in a wide range of areas including the theory and practice of sustainable community development, community-building, co-operative economies, globalization, social enterprises, leadership, social responsibility, political process, ecology, community planning, among others. The program integrates knowledge gained in an academic setting with learning acquired through volunteer work, personal experience, internships, the programs of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, the experiences of regional community members, and study abroad opportunities. The major's core focus thoroughly examines each pillar of sustainability (environmental, social, and economic) but also affords students the flexibility to shape their own program of study. Students in the major have examined a broad array of substantive areas from sustainable agriculture and land-use planning to alternative energies and environmental justice. Central to this curriculum is the development of the whole person-a process that emphasizes social values, creativity, and the recognition that community involvement is necessary for individual growth and the enrichment of our society.
The major prepares graduates with a degree in sustainable community development for either further study or immediate employment. Graduate school options available to sustainable community development majors include sustainable development, sustainable public policy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable urban planning, and sustainable business as well as other more traditional programs in either the social or the natural sciences. Students who choose immediate employment upon graduation can pursue careers in diverse areas such as governmental services, environmental consulting, urban & rural land-use planning, economic development, community development, business, and sustainability director positions.
Students who successfully complete this major will be able to:
- Describe the relationship among natural, social and economic systems.
- Understand and apply the major theoretical approaches to explain and solve real-life social, economic, and natural problems.
- Review, interpret and analyze the literature in sustainable community development.
- Read, interpret, organize, and conduct original research related to energy, waste, water, transportation, land-use, economic activity, and/or community needs/wants.
Title: Assistant Professor of Sustainable Community Development
Office Location: Wheeler 322
PhD, Iowa State University 2009
MS, Iowa State University 2005
BA, Augsburg College 2002
After hopping around the Midwest, my family and I finally decided to settle down in Ashland when offered a job at Northland. We are very excited about returning to this area of the country, only a few hours away from where I grew and completed my undergraduate studies. We reside in the city of Ashland and love everything about the Northwoods (e.g., Lake Superior, outdoor activities, open-minded and accepting community, cold and snowy winters). Prior to joining the faculty at Northland in 2010, I held teaching appointments at the College of Mount St. Joseph (assistant professor of sociology) in Cincinnati, OH and at St. Norbert College (teaching fellow) in De Pere, WI. Prior to that, I lived and studied in Ames, Iowa where I earned my PhD and MS in sociology.
My academic interests include community development, civic participation, social movements, political sociology, and community and urban studies. I am interested in understanding how and why communities change, develop, and plan for sustainable and resilient futures.
I have taught a number of courses including: political process; social science research methods; methods of sustainable community development; applied research practicum; capitalism, justice, and sustainability; collapse & sustainability; organizing communities; models of sustainable community change (travel course to Oregon and Nicaragua); introduction to sociology; introduction to social responsibility; race, class, and gender; social problems; social movements; social stratification; sociological theory; and senior capstone.
Hofstedt, Brandon. 2014. “Social Movements in Action: Combating Environmental Racism on a Native American Reservation.” In Sociologists In Action: Race, Class, and Gender, edited by Kathleen Odell Korgen, Jonathan White, and Shelley White. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Publication pending.
Dobratz, Betty A. and Brandon Hofstedt. 2012. “Chapter 8: Social Movements.” In Power, Politics, and Society: An Introduction to Political Sociology by Betty Dobratz, Lisa Waldner, and Timothy L. Buzzell. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Hofstedt, Brandon. 2012. Instructor’s Manual, Test Bank, and Lecture PowerPoints for Power, Politics, and Society. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Besser, Terry, Peter Korsching, Nancy Miller, Bridget Diamond Welch, Brandon Hofstedt, and Ryan Orr. 2006. “Creating Business Networks.” CD Practice 14:1-12.
“Sustainable Community Development through Asset Based Community Development: Local Assets and Amenities for Northwoods Communities.” Ashland Area Development Corporation, the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Ashland, and WITC-Ashland supported project. September 2012-Present.
“Northern Wisconsin Lakes Survey: Stakeholder Uses, Behaviors, and Perceptions.” In conjunction with Randy Lehr, Bro Professor of Regional Sustainability at Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources supported project. September 2012-Present.
“Charting Social Infrastructure for Sustainable Community Development: Social Capital Surveys for Northwoods Communities.” Funding under review. September 2013-Present.
“Mobilizing Community Capitals in Land-based Social Movements: Integrating Theories of Social Movements,” Midwest Sociological Society supported project, April 2007-May 2008.
“Business Networks and Rural Community Economic Vitality,” National Science Foundation and Fund for Rural America, United States Department of Agriculture supported. Terry Besser and Nancy Miller, Co-Principal Investigator, August 2005-August 2006.
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