Unlike economics, education, law, or medicine, says Michael Swack, Dean of the School of Community Economic Development (SCED) at Southern New Hampshire University, "CED doesn't really 'fit' anywhere within an academic institution." Yet SCED has persevered and prospered. Since 1982 it has graduated 1200 people and developed an international reputation for the excellence of its degree and professional development programs.
An orientation towards the working professional is one reason for this success. Faculty and students learn together by doing together, whether through its National Weekend Master of Science Program or through the International Community Economic Development Program for practitioners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
As CED has evolved, so has the School. A PhD program now creates capacity for research and policy formulation. In September 2008 a Masters of Business Administration in CED will meet the growing demand for proficiency in the design, management and evaluation of CED organizations. What once was a small department has grown into the "tip of the university's spear."