EPEC is a program through which students, staff, alumni, and any other members of the Hampshire community may lead workshops, projects, classes, or any other activities or learning experiences. They add another dimension to the learning experience of Hampshire College. EPEC is a vessel through which things that are recognized as important to education but are not initially evident in the Hampshire system can be realized: interactions between new and veteran students, student-initiated group work, non-scholarly professional skill development, and student projects reaching into the greater community. Individualized education does not need to be and should not be isolating.
Yes and no. It's a question of philosophy and practice. Philosophy first: EPEC was created because there was, and still is, a perceived educational gap at Hampshire. Faculty-led learning experiences are just one of the many ways we can learn. EPEC provides a mechanism through which students can get learning experiences that currently do not have a specific place in the Hampshire curriculum. Things such as discussion groups, performance ensembles, group independent projects and explorations, and other courses of study not actively sponsored by any academic schools become readily available when students who are interested pursue them.
As with most activities for Division II and Division III students, what goes in your portfolio is between you and your committee. As many of us know it can be incredibly difficult to secure an independents study with a faculty member necessary for your concentration. For older students, EPEC is attempting to give credibility to studies not directly sponsored by a professor. Also, one faculty member could sponsor an EPEC activity, treating it as a group "independent" study, helping out a large number of students at once.
For Division I students, they can use participation in EPEC activities to count for Campus Engaged Learning (CEL-1) credit.
You can do anything! EPEC activities are generally small, flexible, and fun. Some are exploratory, whereas others are oriented around a particular project. Some produce a lot of written work, whereas others produce none. Some are seriously academic, some are more interested in social aspects of their environment. Most are collaborative and involve projects and interesting discussions and debates. Many times they include field trips, guest participants, and open interaction with the Hampshire Community, through presentation of some kind or another.
You could be involved in a full-blown course, meeting twice a week for the whole semester that culminates in a serious research document. You could go to a three-part workshop where someone teaches a skill she or he learned over the summer, just for fun. You could be a group of people all studying the same thing in the same room, but individually, because you don't want to study alone.
Complete an application on HampEngage! Applications are open for the first month of each semester on HampEngage under the Forms Section on the EPEC site. You can find guidelines on the Facilitating An Activity page.
Division III students may choose to facilitate an EPEC course as one of their advanced educational activities as long as it is planned with and evaluated by a Hampshire faculty member. The other advanced educational activity must be an advanced-level course or TA.