CESD takes a holistic approach to creating communities where people come before profit; understanding that social, cultural, political, environmental, and economic development are all integrally linked and activities in one impact the other. In CESD, it is recognized that the process of development is as important as the content. Theories and practice go hand in hand, and nothing should be left behind.

In order to achieve these ends, our CESD students take part in a variety of different research opportunities and practice various research methods.

Community-Based Research

In community-based research, community members are at the centre of the process. For example, they take greater ownership and control over the decisions and activities related to the entire research process. Community-based research encourages community engagement and civic participation.

Community Economic Development (CED)

Community Economic Development (CED) is action by people locally to create economic opportunities and better social conditions, particularly for those who are most disadvantaged. CED is an approach that recognizes that economic, environmental, and social challenges are interdependent, complex, and ever-changing.

An example of CED research is the CESD program’s work with Penokean Hills Farms. Penokean Hills Farms started in June 2005 with five local farmers, as a means to collectively sell their quality beef to local consumers. CESD students assisted them in collecting market research to assess consumer demands.

International Development

The Association for the Holistic Development of Rural Communities (ASOPRICOR), a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1978 in the city of Tocaima and the outlying areas in Columbia. From its beginnings, this association has developed strategies to help poor marginalized farmers to improve their situation; this has especially been accomplished by adopting a strategy for self-sufficiency and economic diversification.

In the fall of 2006, the CESD program began a collaboration with ASOPRICOR on a participatory action research project. The five-year research plan included exchange visits from ASOPRICOR members to Canada, and for CESD researchers to visit Colombia. In 2008, CESD researches had the opportunity to visit seven municipalities in rural Colombia.

To view photos from the 2008 visit, please visit to ASOPRICOR 2008 on Flickr.

The Northern Ontario Research, Development, Ideas and Knowledge (NORDIK) Institute

The NORDIK Institute evolved from the CESD program and research. The recently incorporated NORDIK Institute is a joint project of CESD and Algoma U, and has established strong links with other research institutes, universities, and colleges. NORDIK is committed to further developing its own research capacity by working closely with its community partners and providing mentoring to new researchers.

Current research projects include: