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Long Term Community Service Projects In The Purdue Engineering Curriculum

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.303.1 - 1.303.7

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Paper Authors

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Leah H. Jamieson

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Henry G. Dietz

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Edward J. Coyle

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3232

Long-Term Community Service Projects in the Purdue Engineering Curriculum 1

Edward J. Coyle, Henry G. Dietz, Leah H. Jamieson School of Electrical & Computer Engineering Purdue University {coyle, hankd, lhj}

Abstract Purdue University's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering has initiated a new program called EPICS: Engineering Projects in Community Service2. Under the EPICS program, students earn academic credit for long-term, team projects that solve technology-based problems for local community service agencies.

Each EPICS project team consists of seven to ten engineering students. The teams are vertically integrated - each is a mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors - and a student can participate in a project for up to three years. The continuity provided by this structure allows projects to last for many years. Projects of significant size and impact are thus possible.

The goals of the EPICS program include: providing students with multi-year, team-based, design and development experience; teaching students, by direct experience, how to interact with each other and with customers to specify, design, develop and deploy systems that solve real problems; and showing engineering students how their expertise can benefit even the most disadvantaged members of their community.

1. Introduction Undergraduate students in engineering are currently facing a future in which they will need more than just a solid technical background. In setting the goals for any system they are asked to design, they will be expected to interact effectively with people of widely varying social and educational backgrounds. They will then be expected to work with people of many different technical backgrounds to achieve these goals. They thus need educational experiences that can help them develop these skills.

Community service agencies are facing a future in which they must rely to a great extent upon technology for the delivery, coordination, accounting, and improvement of the services they provide. They often do not possess the expertise to use, or the budget to design and acquire a technological solution that is suited to their mission. They thus need the help of people with strong technical backgrounds.

1 This work is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education: Innovative Projects in Community Service, under FIPSE Grant No. P116F50129.

2 Further information about the EPICS program resides at:

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Jamieson, L. H., & Dietz, H. G., & Coyle, E. J. (1996, June), Long Term Community Service Projects In The Purdue Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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