Development is understood as people's capacity to accomplish their goals. On a personal level it refers to individual growth and fulfillment of one's potential throughout the life cycle. On a societal level it is understood to mean meeting the basic needs of all and extending to everyone the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations for a better life. It is a process aimed at improving the requisites for a higher quality of life, including income level, equity, human rights, social and economic justice, democracy, environmental protection and peace.
Community development involves taking planned action to deal with the common concerns of people who share a geographic locality, cultural or philosophical identity, or crucial social and economic relationships. Community development involves the growth and strengthening of the structures and functioning of social networks and economic arrangements. When these networks and arrangements are robust, important aspects of the life that people have in common can be improved, enhancing the quality of life. Community organization for development refers to efforts to mobilize people who are most directly affected by socio-economic-political conditions (that is the victims, the survivors, the unaffiliated, the unorganized, and the nonparticipating) into groups and organizations to enable them to take action on the social problems and issues that concern them.A typical feature of these efforts is the concern with building new organizations among people who have not been previously organized to take social action on a problem. Community development work with members of economically underdeveloped and politically disenfranchised communities has to help people understand the forces and processes that create and maintain their oppressed condition, mobilize and organize their internal strengths, dispel the mythology that makes them participants in their own powerlessness, and act to restore or develop new functions to increase community competence for the well-being of its members.
Community development is based on tapping into and building the integrity and leadership of the members of the community. An essential component in building on the strengths of a community is recognizing, respecting and allowing approaches to development to emerge from the communities served.
Students in this concentration may elect to do a local or international internship. For more information, please see the graduate and undergraduate student handbooks as well as the ICD field manual.
ICD Coordinator: Michael Cronin, Ph.D., email@example.com