All course information is listed within this syllabus.

CEDEV 560: Regional Development: Principles, Policy, and Practice (3 credits). Understanding principles and strategies of regional growth and development, focusing on challenges to theory, policy, and practice, emphasizing a change in metropolitan, micropolitan, and rural areas.

Prerequisites: CEDEV 430 and 500 or permission from the instructor


Instructor for CEDEV 560

Theodore R. Alter
Professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics
Co-Director, Center for Economic and Community Development

204 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802

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  • Ph.D., Resource Economics and Policy, Michigan State University, 1976

Research Interests

Agricultural economics and policy, development economics, public sector economics, community and regional economics, community and rural development, comparative rural policy, institutional and behavioral economics, resource and environmental economics, entrepreneurship and innovation, public scholarship and civic engagement in higher education, and civil society and democracy.

Teaching Interests

Agribusiness economics and management, community and rural development, community and regional economics, public finance, natural resource and environmental policy, resource economics, cost-benefit analysis, and institutional and behavioral economics.

Outreach/Extension Interests

Community and rural development, rural policy, public sector economics, public finance, critical infrastructure, and leadership and organizational development.

Teaching Assistant

Glenn Stenner

Glenn Sterner III
Ph.D. Candidate, Rural Sociology

303 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802

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Course Overview

CEDEV 560 provides an overview of the principles of regional development. Course goals are to (1) uncover ambiguities in preexisting definitions and theories of regional development, to (2) analyze various policy approaches and issues including regional, environmental, and rural issues, and to (3) examine regional development theory and policy and put into practice through real-world case studies.

CEDEV 597B consists of 15 modules or weeks, all located within our password-protected course Website. This course is a synchronous course, meaning that you are part of a "cohort" or learning community. There are regular due dates for assignments, and a fixed start and end date. There are interactive sessions where you communicate with others in the class.

This course examines the development of regions and places in the United States and across the world in the context of globalization. From this perspective, the development of regions impacts and is impacted by the pace and level of development elsewhere. Regional development addresses issues of how growth and disparity are spatially distributed and differentiated, and what causes these patterns to occur. The challenge is twofold. The first challenge is defining exactly what a region is and identifying who ultimately decides the policies and practices that determine its fate. The second is determining who benefits and who bears the costs of particular local and regional development approaches. As transportation and communication technology advances, regional boundaries are disintegrating and new concepts and regional frameworks are giving new life to the field of regional development. Now, more than ever, regional collaboration is increasingly necessary as environmental, social, economic, and political tensions force regions to interact and depend on their transboundary relationships. Understanding the dynamic role of economic, social, and political issues is important in studying the complexity of regional development theories, policies, and practices.

Course Objectives

  • Participants will gain an understanding of the role of regional development in economic and community development.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of regions and how regions are defined.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of regional growth and development, theories, policies, and practices.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of regional development policy, performance, and politics.
  • Participants will deepen their understanding of regional development theories, policies, and practice through in-depth study and analysis of several regional development case studies.

Course Materials

McKinney, Matthew J. and Shawn Johnson. 2009. Working Across Boundaries: People, Nature, and Regions. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. ISBN: 1558441913.

Course Requirements

Class Participation

Class participation, through interaction in online discussions, is an expected and essential component of the class. Your first postings are due by the end of the day on Wednesday and your responses to others' postings are to be done by Friday. This will constitute 45% of your final grade.

Four Integrative Essays

Four integrative essays are due as indicated during the semester, each is 10% of the course grade for a total of 40%.

Each of the four papers throughout the semester will have the same requirements. The topic of the paper will be of your choice but should highlight at least one of the various concepts covered by the course since the previous paper. All papers must be 4-5 pages in length, double spaced. In these papers, the expectation is for you to select a concept or principle and demonstrate an understanding by analyzing a real-world situation in the context of the course. Including some of the points covered by the preceding papers is acceptable and encouraged, but the main issues discussed in the paper should be of more recent material. Do not limit yourself to the issues we have discussed on the message board, but rather, write about the issue that you feel most connected to.

Final Paper

The final paper is an integrative essay that will pull all the components of this course into a practical exercise. This exercise constitutes 15% of the course grade.

The final paper will be similar to the four integrative essays as far as structure and instruction. The only difference is length. The final paper is designed to give you ample time to expand your ideas and analyze a concept in more detail. Therefore, this paper will be 8-10 pages double-spaced. This will be due the last week of class.

Grading Policy

There is a 1,000 point total for this course. As noted above, papers account for 550 points or 55% of your grade, and class participation accounts for 450 points or 45% of your grade. Final letter grades will be awarded according to the following distribution.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value Weight
--- --- ---
TOTAL: --- 100%
Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 93% 930–1000
A- < 93% – 90% 900–929
B+ < 90% – 87% 870–899
B < 87% – 83% 830–869
B- < 83% – 80% 800–829
C+ < 80% – 77% 770–799
C < 77% – 70% 700–769
D < 70% – 60% 600–699
F < 60% < 600

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

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Accessibility Information


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

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Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

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Copyright Notice

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Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

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Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

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In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.

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