2020 EPIC-N Conference Schedule

Last Updated: 2:37 PM EDT 03/18/20

Below is the draft of the schedule of events for the 2020 EPIC-Network Conference as planned to be hosted onsite by Indiana University, Bloomington. Changes will be made soon that will reflect the transition to an online format for the conference. See the most recent announcement about this transition here.


Monday, April 6

8:00 AM | Breakfast and Opening Remarks | Frangipani Room
Jane Rogan, Sustaining Hoosier Communities Director at Indiana University gives opening remarks while attendees enjoy a continental breakfast buffet.
9:30 AM | Breakout Sessions 1

EPIC Model 101 | Dogwood Room | EPIC Core Content
Presentation for new university and new local government/community audiences
Learn the nuts and bolts of operating an EPIC program, including benefits to university and community participants, funding models, internal program management, course selection, project-matching, and lessons learned.
Speakers: Jessica Barlow, Vice President, EPIC-N, San Diego State University; Courtney Griesel, Board Member, EPIC-N, City of Springfield, Oregon; Marc Schlossberg, President, EPIC-N, University of Oregon

Scoping Projects with Design Thinking and Root Cause Analysis to Inform Problem-Framing | Walnut Room | Technical Session
Workshop for new and existing university and local government/community audiences
This session will cover the process of scoping projects once they are pitched to an EPIC program. I hope to teach participants about tools they can use to “Drill down” into projects that sound too vague in the beginning.
1. Introduce problem scoping
2. Brief overview of design thinking and root cause analysis
3. Showcase UW-Madison’s “Pre-Engagement Workbook” that takes these concepts and presents them in an easy-to-follow manual for our local partners
4. Discuss different scenarios for how to use these tools based on our recent experience doing this process with several communities
5. Practice these skills with an activity (meant to mimic a real scenario)
6. Discuss ways to improve the process
This is in line with the theme “EPIC for All!” because the scoping process helps to clarify projects and get closer to higher-quality deliverables. This is also a practical tool for members (new and seasoned) to use in their programs. We will also be working on improving this process and will make the result available to everyone in the network.
Speakers: Gavin Luter, Managing Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kelly Rupp, Program Manager, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Running on a Small Budget: Benefits of Tiny EPIC-N Programs | Oak Room | Model Adaptation
Workshop for new and existing university audiences
If you feel limited by small city budgets and low availability of university financial support, should you give up on starting an EPIC-N program? Not at all! Where there is a will there is way. Depending on your level of interest, your connections and how you manage it, you can run a program with relatively small financial backing ($25 K). This session addresses the successes, perils and pitfalls of limited funding and it will invite audience participation throughout. In it we will discuss sources of funding (particularly small funding) and how it may be the only option for some programs. We will necessarily address the role that funding plays in various programs and both the advantages and disadvantages of different funding levels.
Speaker: Dan Fernandez, Program Director, CSU-Monterey Bay
10:45 AM | Break
11:00 AM | Breakout Sessions 2

Getting the Most Out of the Match: University Perspective | Dogwood Room | EPIC Core Content
Presentation for new and existing university and local government/community audiences
University leaders will discuss their experience implementing an EPIC program. Speakers will highlight how they translate needs and defined problems into a scope of work; best practices for facilitating work between local government staff, faculty and students during the program; and lessons learned from their partnerships.
Speakers: Jessica Barlow, Vice President, EPIC-N, San Diego State University; Courtney Griesel, Board Member, EPIC-N, City of Springfield, Oregon; Marc Schlossberg, President, EPIC-N, University of Oregon

How to Roll with a Transit Agency | Walnut Room | Technical Session
Presentation for existing university and local government/community partners
A challenge for today’s public sector is preparing for and responding to the rapidly changing landscape within which they are operating. In the transportation arena, this is particularly overwhelming due to the advent of new mobility (TNCs, bikeshare, e-scooters, AVs, etc.). Transit agencies are on the front line, which requires resources, innovation, and creative problem solving even though they do not control land use or street design, nor have access to the flexible capital making new mobility options the drivers of new community conversations about transportation and livability. Transit agencies are historically risk adverse and have been limited in their pursuit and implementation of creative solutions, making them an ideal EPIC partner. This session will share how the University of Oregon’s SCY program and the University of St. Thomas SCP program has worked with transit agency partners, including the lessons learned from the opportunities and challenges that emerged. In addition to being risk adverse organizations, transit agencies work across municipal boundaries and are often asked to provide base level service to entire populations while providing high frequency service that fills busses. We will explore how the complex worlds of transit and the EPIC Model align in practice.
Speakers: Megan Banks, Program Director, University of Oregon; Maria Dahmus, Director, University of St. Thomas; Bob Hastings, Agency Architect, TriMet

Collaborating with Extension: How We Did It | Oak Room | Model Adaptation
Presentation for new and existing university and local government/community audiences
Because Extension programs are community focused and collaborative in nature, they are a logical interface for implementation of the EPIC Model. How best then to tap into already robust and outwardly facing programs in a collaborative way? What are the mechanisms to develop and promote such engagement and cross-pollination of ideas and efforts for multi-dimensional community partner outreach and engagement? Presenters will discuss the work and process of aligning existing courses with existing extension projects to meet community needs.
Speakers: Tiffany Reiss, Program Developer, Washington State University; Christina Saunders, Director of the Division of Governmental Studies and Services, WSU Extension
12:30 PM | Lunch and Networking | Frangipani
Provost Lauren Robel from Indiana University will provide brief remarks welcoming guests to Bloomington. During lunch attendees will be encouraged to engage in discussions and conversations during this time.
2:00 PM | Breakout Sessions 3

Getting the Most Out of the Match: Local Gov/Community Perspective | Dogwood Room | EPIC Core Content
Presentation for new university and new local government/community audiences
With constrained budgets, ever-changing political landscapes, retirements in key leadership positions and increasing demands from our community’s, new partnerships and initiatives can be both necessary and daunting. In this panel discussion, community leaders will discuss the reality of the EPIC Model within their community, reflecting candidly on early concerns and skepticism, the reality of the process, and examples from their partnership year(s). Attendees will have an opportunity to ask candid questions and participate in open dialogue about the reality of serving a community today while exploring the applicability of the EPIC Model.
Speakers: Jessica Barlow, Vice President, EPIC-N, San Diego State University; Courtney Griesel, Board Member, EPIC-N, City of Springfield, Oregon; Marc Schlossberg, President, EPIC-N, University of Oregon

Engaging Students through External Grants and Internal Programs | Walnut Room | Technical Session
Workshop for existing university and existing local government/community audiences
This session is for established programs that are looking for ways to scale up their efforts. In this session, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Successful Communities Collaborative team will lead a discussion on how they have been able to use external grants and internal programming to do just that. We will begin with a discussion of how we have been able to leverage USDA, EPA, and NEH grants to enhance partnerships with municipalities and other community organizations. From there, we will review our efforts to engage with internal program opportunities, including working with interns, practicum students, and student organizations to enhance partnerships. Additionally, the team will discuss methods for recruiting students who are not enrolled in project-matched courses. Finally, the session will include time for participants to workshop strategies that they can pursue with their own programs.
Speakers: Lisa Hartlieb, Research Assistant, SIU-Edwardsville; Emily Skowron, Project Coodinator, SIU-Edwardsville; Connie Frey Spurlock, Director, SIU-Edwardsville

Adapting the EPIC Model to Institutional Context | Oak Room | Model Adaptation
Presentation for new and existing university audiences
This presentation will explore the question of how to adapt the EPIC Model to the needs of higher education institutions with various missions, sizes, and strengths. Maria will share a case study of adapting the EPIC Model to the University of St. Thomas, a mission-driven liberal arts institution, through the founding and development of the Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP). She will discuss adaptations of the model including a multi-year partnership structure and on-campus partnerships. Maria will also share an arts-based initiative, SCP Arts, that enriches the public’s engagement with partners’ sustainability goals through collaboration with local artists. Finally, strategies for adapting the EPIC Model to different contexts, while still achieving the overarching goals of an EPIC partnership will be discussed. The session will conclude with an interactive discussion of potential adaptations of the EPIC Model to session participants’ institutions.
Speaker: Maria Dahmus, Director, University of St. Thomas
3:15 PM | Break
3:30 PM | Breakout Sessions 4

Just Start | Dogwood Room | EPIC Core Content

Workshop for new university and new local government/community audiences
This is a special work session for newly forming partnerships to receive customized assistance to help move forward. We have found that new partnerships can develop substantially during this time, particularly because they can receive customized assistance from others who have already successfully adopted and adapted the EPIC framework for their community and university contexts. This is definitely a session to roll up your sleeves and figure out how to “just start” and we will be there to help you along the way.
Speakers: Jessica Barlow, Vice President, EPIC-N, San Diego State University; Courtney Griesel, Board Member, EPIC-N, City of Springfield, Oregon; Marc Schlossberg, President, EPIC-N, University of Oregon

Hope Wanted: From Rust to Sustainability: Exploration of the EPIC Model in a rust belt and rural communities | Walnut Room | Model Adaptation
The majority of municipalities and communities in the world are rural. Medium cities to large urban hubs are few in number in comparison. Facing rusting infrastructure, divestment, and out-migration, communities from Spain, to Pennsylvania, to Washington are looking for answers to sustain livability. This session provides a scenario workshop for participants to brainstorm effective strategies for working in communities with minimal resources. Representatives from Pennsylvania State University, Leon Spain, and the University of Washington will highlight three different cases in which they are poised to begin EPIC-N partnerships, but with questions about how to move forward in municipalities and communities faced with hardships. After the case stories are presented, and drawing on the experience of those in the room, participants will work as a team and reflect on how to assess community readiness for engagement (key indicators or hallmarks to look for), promising points of departure (where to begin), successful community strategies, partnering with other colleges and universities in the same community (sharing the work), and setting realistic expectations. Participants are encouraged to bring their own context to the table for advice from the room. The session goal is for participants to leave feeling better prepared to employ the EPIC Model with communities that have experienced significant economic decline.
Speakers: Ilona Ballreich, Program Manager, Pennsylvania State University; Branden Born, Co-Director, University of Washington; Erin Ewell, Director, Penn State Greater Allegheny; Aaron Martin, Manager, Penn State Greater Allegheny; Juan José Gutiérrez, CSU-Monterey Bay
4:45 PM | Break
5:00 PM | Pick and Choose Activities
To increase the amount of one-on-one advising available to attendees, conference organizers created three unique ‘drop-in’ opportunities to hear from experts. At the same time, we realize breaks and informal networking is crucial to a valuable conference experience. Attendees can choose and float between the various options below.

Q&A with Expert University Leaders | Oak Room
Meet with expert university leaders with EPIC program experience. They will be available to guide university audiences in their plans to improve, and/or start an EPIC program.

Q&A with Expert Local Government/Community Leaders | Walnut Room
Meet with expert local government leaders who recently participated as an EPIC partner. They will be able to help local government/community and university audiences answer questions about their goals for an EPIC partnership.

Open Advising with EPIC-N Staff | Dogwood Room
Learn more about resources provided by EPIC-N to support EPIC programs. Get advice on how to use these tools to make program management easier and higher quality.

Break On Your Own | Bloomington Campus
6:30 PM | Pecha Kucha Presentations and Dinner | Frangipani
Each year the EPIC-Network Conference hosts the Pecha Kucha session. Historically these are done by program managers highlighting exciting individual projects. Pecha Kucha presenters are to be announced shortly! Learn more about this presentation format here

Tuesday, April 7

8:00 AM | Breakfast and Opening Remarks | Frangipani Room
9:30 AM | Keynote | Frangipani Room
Emily Pilloton, Girls Garage, University of California Berkeley
11:00 AM | Choose one of the following | Trip to Orange County, Trip to Greene County, or Indiana University Sessions
Trip to Orange County
Enjoy lunch and a panel at Lost River Market and Deli, a rural food consumer cooperative. Panelists from the nonprofit and business sectors will talk about their EPIC-N projects, and how those projects were the start of continued relationships and collaborations.

Panelists include:
Dessica Albertson, HandUp OC
Donna Charles, Southern Indiana Community Health Care
Katarina Koch, Southern Indiana Community Health Care
Kara Schmidt, Black Vulture Project
Debbie Turner, Lost River Market and Deli

We will visit various project sites focusing on parks, recreation, and arts, before visiting the historic West Baden Springs Hotel. A discussion of asset-based community development will follow.

Returns to IU in time for 6:30 PM award dinner.
Trip to Greene County
Stop for lunch and panel discussion at the historic Yoho General Store. Speakers from the government and nonprofit sectors will share about their experiences launching an EPIC-N partnership and managing their EPIC-N projects.

Panelists include:
Brianne Jerrels, Greene County Economic Development Corporation
Richard Nichols, Greene County Veterans Affairs
Rita Sharr, Tulip Trestle Community Restoration Inc.
Mark Stacy, Linton Farmers’ Market
Mayor John Wilkes, City of Linton

After the panel, travel to the Tulip Trestle—a transportation engineering marvel tucked away in the forest, connected to two EPIC-N projects—on the way to the Shawnee Theatre, where community partner Jack Terrel will talk about his collaborations with Indiana University.

Lastly, visit Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area to hear from faculty member Bill Brown about his EPIC-N project preparing to connect the City of Linton to the tremendous natural asset.

Returns to IU in time for 6:30 PM award dinner.
Indiana University Sessions
11:00 AM | Project Tracking to Save Time | Oak
Workshop for new and existing university audiences
Speakers: Marshall Curry, Program Manager, EPIC-Network

12:30 PM | Lunch and Networking | Frangipani

2:00 PM | Report Writing Best Practices and Program Structure | Oak
Presentation for new and existing university, and new local government/community audiences
It’s the end of the semester and it’s time to start on that class summary report. You have ten student papers, zero extra hours in the day, and minimal resources to write it. Now… GO! Join this panel discussion to hear from different programs on their structure and approach to summary report production; what works, what doesn’t and what can we do better? How do you pull off high-quality, value-add reports in a timely manner?
Speakers: Gavin Luter, Managing Director, Gavin Luter, UniverCity Alliance, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kristofer Patron-Soberano, Program Administrator, San Diego State University; Steve Russell, Program Manager, Arizona State University

3:15 PM | Break

3:30 PM | Easy Policy Templates for High Road Development in our Communities | Oak
Presentation details to be published shortly.
Speaker: Joel Rogers, EPIC-Network
4:45 PM | Break
6:00 PM | Award Presentation and Dinner
The mission of EPIC-N is to unite universities and communities to improve quality of life. Every year, EPIC-N celebrates the outstanding university program and the outstanding community partner propelling that mission. Learn more about the 2020 awards.
8:00 PM | Closing Remarks, 2021 Conference Announcement, and Farewell

Reading the Schedule

Tracks are represented in columns. If only one item is listed in a row, all attendees will attend this session.

Session Format

Sessions will be 75 minutes in length. Conference organizers encouraged proposals to build highly engaging presentations. Please review the four types below:

Workshop – A session that focuses on learning by doing, allowing participants time to work individually or together.

Presentation – A session that has one presenter diving deeply into a certain subject. Audience engagement or activities are encouraged.

Panel – A session that highlights two or more individuals engage in an active dialogue about a specific subject with a moderator guiding the conversation. Those submitting a panel session can either participate as a panelist and/or moderate the session.

Pecha Kucha – A presentation format traditionally done at the EPIC-Network Conference. Historically these are done by program managers highlighting exciting individual projects. Learn more about this format here

SESSION TYPEPresentationWorkshopPecha KuchaPanel

Curated Tracks by Audience

Any attendee can attend any of the sessions offered at this conference. Organizers label sessions with the following code as suggestions. Review the linked abstracts once published to confirm which sessions are right for you!

TRACKNew University ProgramExisting University ProgramNew Community PartnerExisting Community Partner

Don’t see an audience track for you? Use the contact info below and EPIC-N staff will curate a personalized conference experience for you.

Curated Tracks by Session Content

On Monday, content is separated into three tracks to help attendees find the content most suited to their conference goals.

PURPOSEFor attendees considering adapting the model in a new way!For attendees wanting to get into the weeds! For newcomers to the model and partnership pairs

Questions about the Schedule?

Host and conference staff are ready to help. Email your questions to info@epicn.org or call 608-709-8644.