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Scoping Projects with Design Thinking and Root Cause Analysis to Inform Problem-Framing

Featuring: Gavin Luter

April 21, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CT

This webinar is part of the free #2020 EPIC-Network Webinar Series. As part of the transition from an in-person conference to a free, and online, event series, this webinar is open for anyone to attend. After the event ends, its recording will be posted to this page until June 30, 2020.

The “Scoping Projects with Design Thinking and Root Cause Analysis to Inform Problem-Framing” webinar was recorded on April 21, 2020 at 1:00 PM CT.

Webinar Description

This session covers the process of scoping projects once they are pitched to an EPIC program. Gavin teaches participants about tools they can use to “Drill down” into projects that sound too vague in the beginning. During the session, Gavin provides a(n):

  • Introduction to problem scoping
  • Brief overview of design thinking and root cause analysis
  • Showcase UW-Madison’s UniverCity Year program’s “Pre-Engagement Workbook” that takes these concepts and presents them in an easy-to-follow manual for our local partners
  • Discussion of different scenarios for how to use these tools based on our recent experience doing this process with several communities
  • Practice of these skills with an activity (meant to mimic a real scenario)
  • Discussion of ways to improve the process

This scoping process helps to clarify projects and get closer to higher-quality deliverables. It is also a practical tool for members (new and seasoned) to use in their programs.

Resources and Recording from the Webinar

The #2020EPICN Free Webinar Series ended June 30, 2020. Free access to the event’s recordings and resources is now available only to EPIC-N Members. Membership is now FREE to assist in the global response and recovery to COVID-19. Sign up today to gain access to the recordings and resources from this event and all of the other benefits associated with EPIC-N Membership*.

*Read about the benefits and non-financial terms of membership.

Presenter Bio

Gavin Luter received his Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Buffalo in 2015. He holds a Master’s of Science degree in the higher education administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in public and non-profit management. Most recently, Luter served as the Executive Director of Wisconsin Campus Compact where he worked with 32 colleges and universities across Wisconsin to advance community-based learning and community engagement on those campuses. He oversaw the launching of the WI Campus Compact Impact project, a public-private mapping partnership where engagement efforts of member campuses were displayed online. While pursuing his doctorate, he published several peer-reviewed articles and served as guest editor of a peer-reviewed academic journal on community-school-university partnerships and the intersection of school reform and neighborhood development. As part of his project work with the University at Buffalo Center for Urban Studies, Luter served as education planning director of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhood initiative where he worked to secure over $16 million in commitments from 45 different philanthropic and higher education partners to create a neighborhood-linked education system. Luter also oversaw the Center’s neighborhood development internship program where college students operated an in-school project-based learning enrichment program for middle school students centered on neighborhood-based problem solving. At the United Way of Greater Knoxville, Luter managed a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation regional teacher effectiveness advocacy and coalition-building grant project. At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s (UTK) Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, Luter developed and coordinated an undergraduate student living-learning community experience for students interested in public service and civic engagement.

More about the #2020 EPIC-Network Webinar Series

Usually only paying EPIC-N Members can attend live tapings and review recordings of the EPIC-N Webinars. This event is different. Until June 30, anyone can engage in this contact! After June 30, recordings are posted to the EPIC-N Member Commons, a password protected space for paying member programs to access the full range of resources EPIC-N provides. Details about membership can be found here. Email questions to

View the list of all of the #2020 EPIC-Network Webinar Series events here.


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