Tools for Community Development

Course: CRD 24

Instructor: John Colton

Course Catalog Description

About the Course

Students will explore the power of community and role agency plays in transforming community futures. Community and regional economic development and transformation depends on a suite of tools and frameworks. Theory of Change and Logic Models applied directly in the course learning experience provide a visual path to the application of tools in support of community development. Place Making, Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), and Community Capital Frameworks are examples of some of the material students will cover in the course. Students can expect to routinely apply the tools of the course to local and regional examples of community development.


I’ve worked at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia for over 20 years in the Community Development and the Environmental and Sustainability Studies programs. My research areas span the terrestrial and marine environments and are often applied in nature focussing on meaning community outcomes. An example of this might include the Business and Community Toolkit for Tidal Energy Development or the Tidal Energy Community Engagement Handbook. I’ve worked extensively in First Nation communities on economic development initiatives and more recently with rural coastal communities and local and provincial governments exploring the potential of MRE. I’m particularly interested in the nature of community benefits and processes that support social acceptance (or not) or MRE development. I’m a founding member of the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute and serve as head of department for Community Development. I’ve also worked in the adventure/ecotourism tourism guiding wilderness river expeditions to remote areas in Alaska, British Columbia, the Yukon and Northwest Territories since the late 1980’s with Canadian River Expeditions.

Working at the UW is the highlight of my year; an immersive mutual learning experience with engaged students in a program closely connected and interwoven with the community and environmental context.