C. Scott Dempwolf, PhD
Research Assistant Professor & Director
UMD - Morgan State Center for Economic Development



Six students from the economic development studio attended the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) fall conference, courtesy of M and T Bank. Pictured left to right are Mike Limbaugh, Gen Smith, Alison Wakefield, Peter Hadley, Scott Dempwolf, Cristina Huidobro, and Allison Forbes.

URSP 708 (Fall, 2012) Economic Development Planning Studio

This is a studio course focused on developing and applying knowledge and skills related to economic development, land use, transportation and other planning topics through intensive engagement in a real-world project.  The project for this semester examines how patterns of industrial land use, transportation, and other infrastructure within Baltimore city and the metropolitan region impact the city and region’s capacity to respond to the re-emergence of manufacturing and exports as a national priority; and how these patterns facilitate or inhibit regional production and economic activity.  Expansion of manufacturing and exports along with a functionally interconnected region are both thought to be necessary conditions for Baltimore to develop and maintain a sustainable, competitive economy.  Students will analyze industrial land use and infrastructure within the Baltimore region using new methodologies and sophisticated tools and data sets that go well beyond typical analyses and publicly available data.  Through interviews, surveys and case studies students will integrate both quantitative and qualitative research methods to produce a professional in-depth report that addresses the two main research questions and provides the City and region with recommendations for moving forward in these two areas.  This project is concurrent with ongoing related research by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, among others, and we will actively coordinate with them during the semester and upon completion of our research project.  Students in this course will have the opportunity to make substantive and methodological contributions that may have national as well as local impact.

URSP 661 (Spring, 2012) City & Regional Economic Development Planning

This course is designed to help students develop a working knowledge of the theories, methods, practices and contemporary debates of local economic development planning and practice.  Upon completion of this course students will have sufficient background and skill to pursue a career in local economic development.  Emphasis is placed on four key areas:  1) theoretical background; 2) methods of economic analysis; 3) the structure and tools of practice; and 4) the policy and politics of economic development.  The course will tie these four areas together by addressing several crosscutting themes including issues of globalization, environmental sustainability and social equity.  Throughout the semester students will contribute to a shared “toolbox” of economic development resources, information and references on which they can draw as they enter the world of practice.  Students will also use newly acquired knowledge to assist one or more communities (including the City of Baltimore) by preparing background analyses to support the preparation of actual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies.

URSP 688V (Spring, 2011) Technology-Led Economic Development

This course will introduce students to the theory, analysis and practice of technology-led economic development (TLED).  TLED focuses on increasing innovation and entrepreneurship, and very often involves leveraging knowledge institutions including universities and federal research laboratories.  Students will develop a theoretical framework for approaching and evaluating TLED opportunities and shortcomings; how to analyze regional capacity and opportunities for TLED; and how to translate findings into a set of realistic TLED economic development policies and projects.  Through a combination of lectures, site visits, guest speakers and substantive work on a real TLED project, students will gain an appreciation for the process of innovation and the roles that entrepreneurs, universities, government and intermediaries play in it.  Students will also become familiar with the various tools and methods used in economic development practice to support and promote TLED.  Each class will consist of roughly half lecture and half lab time.  Through the semester – long lab project, students will develop a TLED project which the School will seek to fund and implement under the Economic Development Administration’s University Centers program.  Through this process, students will also gain experience with the process of Grantwriting, a necessity for any economic developer.

URSP 688V (Spring, 2013) Community-Based Economic Development

This course on Community-Based Economic Development will examine economic development theories, policies and practices from the local perspective, as it is often viewed by community development corporations (CDC’s).  While the basic purpose of economic development – the creation of jobs and wealth – remains the same, CDC’s tend to have a greater focus on issues of equity and social justice.  What kind of jobs are created and where?  What skills are needed and how can local residents train to compete for those jobs?  Is wealth creation local and shared, or concentrated and distant?  Communities where CDC’s are active face significant constraints in terms of community assets, workforce skills and commercial activity.  There are spatial constraints as well.  Through this course students will learn how to analyze a local community to identify its assets, challenges and opportunities.  They will also learn how to facilitate a planning process that engages and empowers local residents.  Students will become familiar with the wide array of tools available to help CDC’s lead successful economic development projects.  Broad strategic areas include the development / redevelopment of commercial real estate, market analysis, and business attraction; entrepreneurial development and “economic gardening”; workforce development; and youth-oriented initiatives such as YouthBuild.  The course will also focus on the role of universities in local economic development, focusing on the Morgan Mile project at Morgan State University.  Field trips will provide a first-hand look at successful community based economic development projects.