CEDEV 560 Syllabus

Regional Development: Principles, Policy, and Practice

CEDEV 560 Regional Development: Principles, Policy, and Practice: Understanding principles and strategies of regional growth and development, focusing on challenges to theory, policy, and practice, emphasizing change in metropolitan, micropolitan, and rural areas. Prerequisites: CEDEV 430 and 500 or permission from instructor.


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 Sterner III
PhD Candidate
Rural Sociology
303 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802
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Course Overview

CEDEV 560 provides an overview of principles 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 understanding of the role of regional development in economic and community development.
  • Participants will gain understanding of regions and how regions are defined.
  • Participants will gain understanding of regional growth and development, theories, policies, and practices.
  • Participants will gain understanding of regional development policy, performance, and politics.
  • Participants will deepen their understanding for regional development theories, policies, and practice through in-depth study and analysis of several regional development case studies.

Required 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 Schedule

Please check the course syllabus page in Canvas

Course Requirements

Class Participation: Class participation, through interaction on the class Discussion Board and in on-line 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 due as indicated during the semester, each is 10% of the course grade for a total of 40%.

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.

Integrative Essays

There are four integrative essays:

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.

Please check the course syllabus page in Canvas for the exact due dates. 

Final Paper

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.


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 Scale

Letter Grade



930-1000 93 - 100%
A- 900-929 90 - 92.9%
B+ 870-899 87 - 89.9%
B 830-869 83 - 86.9%
B-  800-829 80 - 82.9%
C+  770-799 77 - 79.9%
700-769 70 - 76.9%
600-699 60 - 69.9%
F < 599 0 - 59.9%

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 Policies.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on the World Campus’s 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 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.


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

Support Services 

As a World Campus student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more.  Please visit the World Campus Student Services page for more information.

If you have any type of technical problems, you can use the “Help” link in the Canvas navigation menu or contact the World Campus Help Desk.

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 introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Penn State Policies

Log-In 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.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures and the Code of Conduct).

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.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity at the Report Bias webpage.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week)
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week)
Mental Health Services

(814) 863-0395
(877) 229-6400
Text LIONS to 741741

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site.

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's 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 the 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.