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Teaching Sophomore Engineering Design In 'paradise'

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Educational Opportunities in Engr. Abroad

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1093.1 - 7.1093.8



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Heidi Loshbaugh

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Session 3260

Teaching Sophomore-Level Engineering Design in ‘Paradise’

Heidi G. Loshbaugh, Ph.D.

Design EPICS Division Colorado School of Mines


Delivering sophomore-level engineering design on a Caribbean island provides the foundation for a vastly broadened student perspective on the field of engineering and how it changes lives. In addition, it offers the basis for life-long learning about one’s role in the world at large.

The Colorado School of Mines EPICS program, a two-semester, interdisciplinary engineering- design course, delivers a 3-week, optional course in St. Kitts, West Indies. Student teams work directly with the national government on solving environmental problems. In May 2000 and 2001, students mapped boundaries of a wilderness preserve, addressed life-threatening problems with soil erosion, discovered the source of toxins responsible for destroying a unique mangrove habitat, and provided wastewater treatment for the national prison and hospital.

In so doing, students from a technologically advanced campus have solved problems in feasible and affordable ways. They also have found themselves responsible for managing their time, efforts, and behavior in a setting that encourages relaxation and ease more than productivity and hours on the job. Furthermore, students have had direct contact with local residents and gained appreciation for some of the range of cultural differences that exist in the English-speaking world.

This course practices collaboration between an American university of engineering and technology and a developing nation, teaches the importance of cultural sensitivity for engineers in designing solutions to problems, and illustrates the close relationship between human action and the potentially negative effects on the environment.

program and course considerations

In May 2000 and 2001, I traveled with undergraduates from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), in Golden, Colorado, to St. Kitts, West Indies, to conduct summer field sessions in sophomore-level engineering design. In 2000, a team of 3 faculty members traveled with 26 students; in 2001, I was the sole faculty member with 13 students. My program, EPICS, or Engineering Practices Introductory Course Sequence, is a two-semester course required of all students at CSM. The first-year course is EPICS I, the sophomore year, EPICS II.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Loshbaugh, H. (2002, June), Teaching Sophomore Engineering Design In 'paradise' Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10494

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