sealPurdue News

May 31, 2002

Alliance recognizes Purdue's EPICS program as exemplary

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Members of the Corporate and Foundation Alliance have selected Purdue University's Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program for its "exemplary efforts" to improve teaching and learning in undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

The Corporate and Foundation Alliance's recognition program was established in 2000 to identify and showcase new undertakings in undergraduate education. The program recognizes projects that have achieved significant, sustainable results, and that have the potential to be replicated or adapted nationally and improve over time.

Purdue's EPICS program met all of these criteria through its engagement of more than 500 students on the Purdue campus. The program's national growth has resulted in seven additional EPICS sites across the country.

Initiated in 1995, the EPICS program matches teams of engineering undergraduates with local community service programs in order to define, design, build, test, deploy and support projects that improve the respective missions of various community service organizations.

In addition to a multidisciplinary approach, the program is structured to place freshmen through seniors on teams to develop design projects of significant size, complexity and scope. To date the EPICS program has developed projects for more than 100 community service organizations. The program is designed to teach communication, organizational leadership, teamwork and design skills that are difficult to learn in a traditional classroom setting.

In February, Purdue and a coalition of university engineering community service teams formed a partnership with Habitat for Humanity International. The national partnership agreement was signed Feb. 22 in Americus, Ga., home of the faith-based volunteer housing provider.

The Corporate and Foundation Alliance, established in 1996 by the National Science Foundation, is composed of 38 corporations and foundations that support undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through cooperative efforts, the group strives to increase the number of technicians and K-12 teachers through improvements in the quality of undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Member organizations share innovations, identify top faculty and disseminate information about model programs and projects.

In 1995 Purdue faculty members Edward J. Coyle, professor of electrical and computer engineering and assistant vice president for research in computing and communication, and Leah H. Jamieson, Ransburg Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, established the first engineering service program at Purdue.

Currently the EPICS program has more than 500 students participating in 52 project teams at the seven other participating campuses: the University of Notre Dame, Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Georgia Institute of Technology, Penn State University, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Butler University in Indianapolis.

CONTACT: William C. Oakes, EPICS co-director, (765) 494-3892,; Corporate and Foundation Alliance Web site

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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