FAQ Community Development

Return to the Community Development webpage.

Visit our FAQs about Great Plains IDEA webpage to see a comprehensive list of questions we hear most often from prospective and current students.

  • How does this program work?

    Our program is offered 100% online, so you can study anytime, anywhere!

    The faculty in the community development program work collaboratively across four partner universities, providing diverse perspectives on the field, which will provide you with unique experiences you couldn’t get when taking classes from just one university.

    Learn more about how this program works within the alliance.

  • What type of student are you looking for in this program?

    This program serves a diverse student population who has a passionate commitment for social and economic justice and a desire to lead change that improves the quality of life in communities.

    This program is appropriate for:

    1. Those new to the profession, needing fundamental knowledge and skills to start a career in Community Development; and,
    2. Mid-career professionals, needing to strengthen skills and/or obtain a graduate degree or certificate to advance.
  • What skills will I learn and practice through this program?
    • Evaluating community and organizational assets evaluation
    • Economic and population analysis
    • Leadership and capacity building
    • Community engagement and participatory planning
    • Organizing for change
    • Working with diverse populations
    • Sustainability and resilience strategies
    • Program design and evaluation
    • Collaborative tools and technologies
    • Grant writing and fundraising
    • Nonprofit management
    • Ethically based professional practice

    Graduates from this program will demonstrate:

    1. Professional knowledge of community development (CD) theory, methods, practices, and ethics.  
    2. The ability to create and implement planning and action for community change toward more prosperity for all. 
    3. Communication skills appropriate for both academic and public audiences.

  • How do I know which university to choose as my home university?

    There is a lot to consider when choosing your home university.  We've compiled some helpful information in the Community Development Student Handbook, as well as created this Venn Diagram to illustrate the expertise brought to this program from each university. These four, renowned public universities collaborate to provide an interdisciplinary curriculum that represents a holistic approach to community development that you can't find at just one university.

    The four-part Venn Diagram illustrates the blending of expertise from four universities. Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of Nebraska Lincoln collaborate to cover a vast array of content throughout the curriculum Planning, place-making, asset based change, government, activism, project development, economic development, data analysis, engagement, resource management, diverse populations, social equity, and environment are topics included in this online graduate program.

  • How long does it take to get a decision on my application?

    Every university approaches the application process differently. Acceptance confirmation can vary from a few weeks to a few months depending on the university. Once you choose a home university, ask your campus coordinator about how that university processes applications.

  • How will I engage with faculty and students when we only attend classes online?

    Being part of a virtual community provides opportunities an on-campus program never could. Interaction with learners and faculty from across the country allows you to learn from diverse perspectives.  

    In this video, listen as a graduate of the community development program shares how surprised she was at the connections she made with fellow students from across the country.

  • What is this program's mission and vision?


    To contribute to a more prosperous, sustainable and just world, we will:

    • Provide high-quality graduate education
    • Provide applied practice-based experience
    • Participate in interdisciplinary networks of educators and local practitioners who respond creatively and innovatively to the rapidly changing conditions in their communities
    • Address social, economic, and spatial equity through transformative community processes and practices that are globally engaged and locally focused
    • Engage students and faculty in cutting edge research and practice to advance the field of Community Development


    The Great Plains IDEA Community Development program strives to be the leader in building a global, transdisciplinary network of highly renowned faculty, practitioners, researchers, students, and alumni designed to engage committed professionals in an innovative distance learning experience embedded in the processes that create community resiliency, sustainability, and justice.

  • I don't see my question here.

    We want to help!  Give us a call at 785-532-1999.