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



Throughout my career I have had the privilege of helping others learn in a variety of contexts.  At St. Petersburg College I taught and tutored math and science, often helping students overcome math anxiety or gender bias that they had experienced in trying to learn these subjects.  As a military officer I was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for excellence in training the members of my unit.  As director of a community development corporation I started a YouthBuild program in my community to help high school dropouts get their diplomas, learn practical skills and get their lives back on track.  As a consultant I wrote the charter application for a new K-12 school and helped get this new resource for inner-city kids off the ground.  As a parent of two very different kids I have experienced the joy of helping them discover themselves, the world around them, and their own path on the journey of lifelong learning.  As a business leader I have mentored many employees who have gone on to achieve great success in business, government and life.  Finally, as a doctoral student at Maryland I have developed and taught graduate courses in economic development, and created a professional development institute that delivers continuing education and certification training to planning and economic development professionals.  The desire to teach was one of the motivations for pursuing my PhD and a second career in academia.

These experiences have both shaped and been shaped by a core philosophy and belief that learning is at core a process of discovery, and teaching is much more than simply transferring substantive knowledge in measurable ways.  A student-centered learning process begins with respect for students and the fact that each one comes into the classroom with different experiences, motivations and expectations.  It is a process that engages the innate curiosity and creativity that every child is born with but which are often suppressed by the time students reach college.  It is a process that demands that students take responsibility for becoming skilled in the “tools of the trade” including the software used for writing, analysis and presentation.   While each course is designed to deliver a core body of substantive knowledge, a student-centered learning process facilitates individual engagement through independent exploration of course-related topics throughout the semester.  My ultimate goal for each course, regardless of the substantive topic, is to help students assimilate new knowledge, skills, resources and abilities with their existing experience in a way that facilitates and encourages lifelong learning.