EPICS Overview

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) is an engineering design-based service learning and social entrepreneurship program that incorporates the engineering and human-centered design processes in providing solutions to real world problems facing society. Students work on real-world projects with local and global community partners with a social-focus on either community development, health, sustainability, and/or education.

Students that enrolled in the EPICS courses will learn and experience the following:

    • Discipline knowledge: Ability to apply material from their discipline to the design of community-based projects.

    • Design process: An understanding of design as a start-to-finish with a strong emphasis on sustainability and maintenance as they’re delivering the products to real clients.

    • Lifelong learning: Ability to identify and acquire new knowledge as a part of the problem solving/ design process.

    • Client awareness: Ability to identify client needs and work to develop solutions that effectively address those concerns.

    • Teamwork: An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams and an appreciation for the contributions from individuals from multiple disciplines. Unlike other classes, EPICS students will be joining projects in various states of completion introducing a different team dynamic than typical courses.

    • Communication: An ability to communicate effectively with others from varying backgrounds. This includes communicating clearly in writing, as a speaker, and while using interpersonal communication skills.

    • Ethics: Developing and delivering projects for real clients will require students to continue to advance the importance of professional ethics and responsibility as their projects will have real world impacts.

    • Broader context: An appreciation of the role that their discipline can play in political, environmental, and social contexts.

    • Entrepreneurial mindset:

      • Curiosity: demonstrating constant curiosity about the changing world and exploring a contrarian view of accepted solutions.

      • Connections: integrating information from many sources to gain insight and assessing and managing risk.

      • Creating Value: identifying unexpected opportunities to create extraordinary value and persisting through and learning from failure.

    • Multidisciplinary design: Learn how to be better designers, gain design knowledge and skills; learn how to apply disciplinary knowledge to real and possibly ill-defined problems; learn how to identify and acquire new knowledge; learn to collaborate with people from other disciplines and develop an appreciation for cross-disciplinary contributions in design.

    • Service learning: Provide significant service to the community while learning; gain an understanding of the role that engineering (and their discipline) can play in society and the broader issues related to the needs we are addressing.

    • Professional preparation: Develop the broad set of skills needed to be successful in the changing global workplace and world as a working professional. This includes presentation skills, documentation, innovative design, navigating partnerships, working with municipalities and community partners to deliver specific design needs.

    • Social entrepreneurship: Understand the difference between an entrepreneurial venture operating as a business trying to make a profit and the opportunity to cure social problems with creative and innovative approaches to problem solving. Students will be given roles as change agents, in order to bring innovation and fresh thinking to what are often long-term problems.