Park with trees and a city in the background
Master of Professional Studies in
Community and Economic Development


Benefit from Faculty Expertise

Penn State is recognized around the globe as a distinguished university because of the sterling caliber of its faculty. As a World Campus student in the community and economic development program, you can learn from the same faculty who teach traditional, face-to-face classes on Penn State's University Park campus.

Faculty involved in the CEDEV graduate program have active research projects such as:

  • entrepreneurship success
  • implications of Marcellus shale development for families and communities
  • land-use change and implications for communities
  • rural youth out-migration and youth educational, occupational, and residential aspirations
  • sustainable farming in rural-urban transition areas
  • sustainable forests and forestry
  • telecommunications and rural development
  • the role of social capital in successful economic development
  • the role of the informal economy in rural livelihoods
  • energy conservation and low-income assistance programs
  • Jeffrey Bridger
    Ph.D., Rural Sociology, Penn State

    Dr. Jeffrey Bridger's research and teaching interests include community theory, community and economic development, sociological research methods, human dimensions of natural resources, and university-community engagement.

  • Judy Chambers
    • Degree
      M.S., Community and Economic Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Education, Northwestern University

    Judy Chambers is an economic and community development educator for Penn State Extension and has worked in the areas of organizational and leadership development, strategic planning, and local government training. In 2009–10, she served as Penn State Extension Fellow with the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. She has more than 11 years of experience as municipal manager for two small communities in Boonsboro, Maryland, and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. She also worked on military base reuse for Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

  • Michael W-P Fortunato
    • Degree
      Ph.D., Rural Sociology, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Community and Economic Development, Penn State

    Dr. Michael W-P Fortunato's interests lie in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, nontraditional and community-based ventures, community and economic development, rural development, community-based planning/strategy, institutional innovation, arts-based community development, agriculture/food-based community development, community theory, research design, and mixed methods.

  • Amanda Hope
    Ph.D., Geography, West Virginia University

    Dr. Amanda Hope works for USDA Rural Development in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as the state energy coordinator and business program specialist. She began working for USDA Rural Development in 2011 as an intern while completing her doctorate in geography with an emphasis in rural economic development from West Virginia University. Her research interests include community economic development, economic development in Appalachia, and rural development. She teaches Community Economic Development 430.

  • Terence Milstead
    • Degree
      Ph.D., Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University
    • Degree
      M.S.P., Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University
    • Degree
      B.A., English, University of West Florida

    Dr. Terence Milstead's primary teaching and research interest is the role of public participation, communication, and applied social science research in the creation or re-creation of public spaces. He is a vice president in the social change unit at Ogilvy Public Relations.

  • Frans J.G. Padt
    • Degree
      Ph.D., Political Sciences of the Environment, Radboud University Nijmegen
    • Degree
      M.S., Environmental Hydrology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

    Dr. Frans J.G. Padt is an associate teaching professor and has more than 25 years of experience in community and regional environmental planning as a researcher, educator, policymaker, and consultant. He teaches in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education and the Department of Landscape Architecture at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His research and teaching include natural resource and landscape governance; community science; planning; design; science, technology, and society studies; and public policy.

  • John Shingler
    • Degree
      Ph.D., Community Studies and Planning, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Public Administration, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State
    • Degree
      B.S., Man-Environment Relations, Penn State

    Dr. John Shingler is a research associate whose research focuses on low-income assistance and energy conservation programs. His other interests lie in community studies and gentrification.

  • Bradley Woods
    • Degree
      Ph.D., Rural Sociology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.A., Sociology, Marshall University
    • Degree
      B.A., Sociology, Marshall University

    Dr. Bradley Woods' experience includes teaching courses including Community Leadership, Sociology of Rural Life, Introduction to Sociology, Ethical Issues in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Ethical Issues in Big Data Research, and Ethical Conduct of Research. His research interests are leadership and management in the context of community, limitations on free speech and its impact on research and scholarly integrity, ethical issues in the conduct of scientific research and scholarship, and regulatory compliance and big data research. 

Penn State World Campus Student

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