Professor Jonathan London and MS student, Shani Alford in Nepal
Professor Jonathan London and MS student, Shani Alford in Nepal


MS student, Samir Noory conducting research in Afghanistan
MS student, Samir Noory conducting research in Afghanistan


Letter From the Chair

Community development is the process of working with diverse groups of people to achieve common goals. Traditionally the field has focused on grassroots work within place-based communities to improve social equity, economic opportunity, living conditions, public health, environmental justice, and other aspects of social welfare. Helping people overcome disadvantage and addressing structural inequities related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, and other factors has been a major objective. In our increasingly complex world new sorts of community continually emerge, including dispersed networks and virtual communities. Professionals must now draw from a wide range of skills, knowledge, and theory to determine the most useful strategies within each context. Graduate education within a program such as ours can help community development practitioners and scholars contribute to social change in the most effective and meaningful ways.

It is this understanding that guides the Community Development Graduate Group (CDGG) and has inspired the program for over 40 years. The UC Davis’ Community Development Graduate Group has combined social theory and scientific research with the acquisition of practitioner skills. In our program, we aim to integrate learning, action, and reflection. The CDGG is a community of transformative thinkers building knowledge useful to meet local community goals in the context of regional, national and global change. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary, collaborative, and project-based learning, as well as community-engaged scholarship. The CDGG challenges students to integrate theory and practice, to develop constructive solutions to contemporary problems, and to lead in building a healthy, sustainable, and equitable society. CDGG students:

  • Understand the history of community development and apply theory related to the field
  • Work with institutions and systems of power within communities
  • Engage and collaborate with different communities of place, practice, and interest
  • Build upon community assets and uniqueness to identify constructive solutions
  • Develop skills and knowledge related to their particular interests

I hope this vision provokes your interests in the CDGG as a student, faculty, donor, or friend. Please be in contact with us for more information.


In community,

Jonathan London

Associate Professor: Human Ecology/ Community and Regional Development

Chair: Community Development Graduate Group