Earlham College is expanding its signature program in fall 2022 that draws on Earlham’s historical strengths in the liberal arts, having secured new funding for internships and academic research.
The Epic Journey provides a personalized four-year education combining its best-in-class classroom experience with faculty mentorship and career-focused opportunities that inspire students to be catalysts for good in a changing world.
“The Epic Journey is something that could only happen at Earlham,” says Earlham President Anne Houtman. “It pairs our nationally ranked strength in classroom teaching and a 175-year tradition of excellence in the liberal arts with intentional professional development opportunities and leadership experiences. We give students the tools and support they need to chart a journey of their own design.”
That Journey begins the moment students arrive on campus for New Student Orientation. All first-year students are paired with an academic advisor as well as a career guide, whose goals are to welcome students into the Earlham community and usher them through the transition to college.
The academic journey is supported with First-Year Seminars that pair student interests with writing-intensive courses that promote discussion, analysis, and research, sharpening critical thinking skills.
From the first day on campus, students will work with their academic advisors and career guides. “We guide them all along their four years at Earlham, implementing and adapting their initial plan to help them reach their post-graduation goals,” said Mike Deibel, associate vice president of academic affairs.
A key feature of Epic Journey is the Epic Advantage, Earlham’s offer of up to $5,000 for every student to participate in an internship, research experience or community-based project. Earlham is one of the few institutions in the country with guaranteed funding for every student to participate in at least one of these high-impact experiences in locations virtually anywhere in the world.
“The Epic Advantage ensures that cost isn’t a barrier for students to participate in the kinds of intellectual and social experiences they need to maximize their post-graduate pursuits,” Deibel said. “Because of Earlham’s strong endowment and focus on career and global exploration, many of our students participate in more than one of these experiences, including studying abroad.”
After the first year, students can access specialized advising, mentorship, classes, and workshops offered through the College’s Epic Centers. Led by faculty experts, the six Epic Centers promote problem solving and leadership to solve global and local issues in healthcare, entrepreneurship, social justice, career education, global education, and environmental leadership.
Programs for student-athletes and first-generation students are also available as part of the Epic Journey. Epic for Athletes, a travel and service program that began as a pilot trip to South Africa, is now available to all student-athletes at times that don’t interfere with practice or competition. The LIFT Program offers first-generation college students an iPad and off-campus travel opportunities not open to the general student population. Librarians work closely with these students in their first year to make meaningful connections that prepare students for success at Earlham and beyond.
The Epic Journey is enhanced by the generosity of Alan and Peg Kral Scantland, Earlham alumni from the Class of 1974. The couple’s latest gift to the College of nearly $5.4 million bolsters funding for the Epic Advantage and Epic for Athletes programs through the 2025-26 academic year. The gift also contributes to annual funds that support future generations of Earlham and Earlham School of Religion students.
“I cannot thank the Scantlands enough for their longstanding generosity and support for the outstanding teaching and learning taking place on campus today,” Houtman said. “Like a lot of our alumni, the Scantlands believe that the world needs more Earlhamites. With this gift, we are poised to offer future generations of students a best-in-class experience full of discovery and reward.”