What makes CEP a different kind of education?

CEP is active, meaningful, and full of intention. CEP’s guiding document, the Plumb Manual, states “CEP is an experiment in direct democracy… Each member’s opinions, knowledge, and perspectives are crucial to the education of the group.” In CEP, individual students must be motivated to craft their own academic plan. The individual not only has a responsibility to themselves, but also to their peers that make up their learning community. Core courses are small and follow a pedagogy that values peer-learning, hands-on experiences, and active dialogue. With all of this, a CEP education is academically challenging while building leadership, community, and group management skills relevant to future employment opportunities.

What does a student study in CEP?

CEP’s in-house credits focus on two things: (1) Our core course series explores theories and practices around our headlining tenants: Community, the Environment, and the practice of Planning. As students develop their own learning community, students also explore and grapple with the meaning, structure, and goals of community. Students explore issues that impact our natural and built environments, and learn ways to engage citizens around those issues and how to work with different entities (i.e. governments, nonprofits, informal community organizations, etc.) (2) Our leadership retreats and quarterly governance course offer a forum to develop, practice, and reflect on leadership and project management skills. Students study group dynamics and actively work to improve efficiency in process and quality of products.

Is CEP an urban planning program?

CEP is housed in the Department of Urban Design and Planning with its roots deeply set in the practices of planning, however, it is not a traditional urban planning degree. While you can tailor your own academic concentration to be focused on urban planning, CEP’s core courses focus on a more holistic approach to planning. Rather than technical planning skills such as in depth site analysis, design, land use coding, we focus more on the people involved, the process of planning, and the complexity of components that have to be considered in large- and small-scale decisions.

Can you explain governance?

CEP students take part in the operations and policy decision-making of the major, and governance is where this happens most. Held on Friday mornings, governance is split into three parts: (1) Committees meet for an hour to work on their various operational tasks such as alumni engagement, social media and community, strategic direction, event planning, and outreach; (2) Forum is a major-wide meeting where we discuss issues that effect the major as a whole such as mission statement revision or conflict resolution. It is also a space for workshops and guest speakers; (3) Steering is an optional third hour that acts as an Executive Committee where we ensure that all disparate components of the major are functioning efficiently towards the same goals.

Is it possible to double major or minor with CEP?

It is possible to double major or minor with CEP, and many of our students choose to do so. There are a few policies to keep in mind as you plan out this potential path — only 15 credits can overlap between majors, and credits for a minor must be 60% different than those for a major (i.e. for the 30-credit minor, 18 credits must be unique to that minor). Also, keep in mind that one of the strengths of CEP is the flexibility to take courses in departments all over campus, and if you start late, a double major or minor can limit the flexibility in your academic plan.

What can I do with my CEP degree?

CEP students enter the program with diverse interests, and thus leave the program with diverse areas of expertise. However, all students do have one thing in common — they seek to influence their community and built environment in a positive way. One of three of our alumni work as urban planners in the public and private sectors, and others work in related fields such as public service, landscape design, environmental and sustainable consulting, and education. CEP alumni also continue their education in Master’s programs such as planning, public administration, law, social work, education, and architecture.

How should I prepare to be a strong candidate?

The ideal CEP candidate has a clear educational direction and is working towards that direction both in and outside of the classroom. We love to see candidates that have volunteer and leadership experience in organizations that they are passionate about. We also think it is important that students have spent time exploring their academic pursuits in the classroom and what their course of study will be in CEP, so we also look at the different types of classes candidates have taken. Strong CEP candidates can communicate their passions and goals, both written and verbally. Finally, while GPA is not everything, grades are an important indicator on how you perform in an academic setting.