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ESCALATE Program Information

Engineers, mathematicians and scientists with an entrepreneurial flair are ideally suited to identify technical opportunities in the marketplace and then develop products and businesses to address them. The entrepreneurial mindset is valuable whether your goal is starting a new business or developing new solutions in an existing business. ESCALATE introduces students to the essential principles of entrepreneurial and business success including identifying market opportunities, developing creative and innovative solutions, and developing approaches to capture value in the marketplace. The core approach of the program integrates technical disciplines with the application of entrepreneurship principles across both academic study and campus life.


The cornerstone of the program is a living-learning community focused on entrepreneurship. From this base, the program ensures that you will:

  • Enjoy a unique educational and residential environment focused on entrepreneurship.
  • Work with faculty from engineering, sciences and humanities with expertise in entrepreneurship in addition to their core disciplines.
  • Build the foundation to become an entrepreneur. Learn current best practices in courses, engage in related co-curricular activities and network with classmates and mentors. All of this develops the entrepreneurial mindset that is of value in any business setting.
  • Explore and develop your own entrepreneurial interests on the Rose-Hulman campus, courtesy of a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

How to Apply

What Makes ESCALATE Unique

  • It’s an entrepreneurial living-learning community for approximately 50 freshmen that live together in a common residence hall.
  • Automatic enrollment in the on-campus peer mentoring program, where students are paired up with an ESCALATE upperclassmen for one-on-one mentoring.
  • Access to external peer mentors, which are typically Rose-Hulman alumni that have founded a company.
  • A three-course series focused on design, communication and entrepreneurship.
  • You can apply ESCALATE coursework towards completing a Minor in Entrepreneurial Studies.
  • Automatic enrollment in the RISE student entrepreneurship club, which includes the opportunity to pitch your business ideas, attend workshops and compete in startup business competitions.
  • Access to the Launch Terra Haute co-working space so you have a business address to register your company and an off-campus meeting place to interact with local entrepreneurs.
  • Internship opportunities at startup companies in Indiana or at Rose-Hulman Ventures.
  • Personal attention from faculty/staff to inspire you to pursue your entrepreneurial interests and to guide you through the steps to start your own venture or join an entrepreneurial firm.

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

- Steve Jobs

Co-founder, Apple Computer


Students of all majors should be able to complete the course requirements without overloading. For many majors, ESCALATE courses count for and replace required courses. For all majors, the courses count toward graduation as required, or as free electives.

EMGT 100 - Introduction to Entrepreneurship

This course provides students with a fundamental overview of entrepreneurship and becoming an entrepreneur in today's society.

RH 131 - Rhetoric & Composition (The Culture of Entrepreneurism)

Emphasizes rhetorical analysis of texts and images, research methods and the conventions of academic writing, and includes argumentation. The analysis, research and argumentation will focus on the social and cultural implications of entrepreneurialism, from local to global issues.

EM 103 - Introduction to Design (with an entrepreneurial flair)

This course helps students to learn the design process and stresses the importance of teamwork.

CLSK 100 - College & Life Skills

This course will assist Rose-Hulman students in acquiring life skills to assist in the transition from high school to college, as well as introduce students to the resources available on campus.


Students in the ESCALATE cohort are enrolled in this 0 credit pass/fail section. To receive a passing grade and remain in good standing in the program, students must complete the scheduled ESCALATE courses and professional development activities each quarter.

Application Process

Applications for the 2017-18 session closed on July 2, 2017. 

If you have questions about the ESCALATE program, please contact Professor Thomas James james3@rose-hulman.edu or Professor Craig Downing downing@rose-hulman.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to ESCALATE?

Applications for the 2017-18 session closed on July 2, 2017. 

Can I apply to both ESCALATE and HERE

Yes. Students may apply to both programs. However, as these programs are designed as living-learning communities (you live in the same residence hall as the other members of your program), a student can be a member of only one cohort. If you intend to apply to both programs, you will need to submit both applications.

What if I am accepted to both ESCALATE and HERE?

If you are granted a spot in both programs, you will have to choose in which program you intend to participate.

Are there any additional fees associated with the ESCALATE program?

No. There are no additional fees if you are accepted into the ESCALATE program.

What if I am NOT majoring in engineering?

ESCALATE is designed to accommodate students pursuing any major at Rose-Hulman. All interested students are encouraged to apply, and your intended major will not be considered as a factor in determining your admission to the program.

Do I still need to do the Housing Survey?

Yes. It is very important, even if you apply to become a member of ESCALATE, that you log in to Banner Web and complete the Housing Survey. Not all students who apply to ESCALATE are guaranteed to be selected as participants, so it is important that your housing preferences be noted as requested in the Housing Survey.

What if I’ve already done the Housing Survey and didn’t list a specific residence hall for ESCALATE? Do I need to redo my housing survey?

No. There is no need to adjust your Housing Survey on the basis of your intention to apply to be part of ESCALATE. Students who are granted a spot in ESCALATE will automatically be placed into housing in either Scharpenberg Hall or Baur-Sames-Bogart (BSB) Hall.

Can I still live in Scharpenberg Hall or BSB Hall if I’m not in ESCALATE?

Yes. The ESCALATE program will not occupy all floors of the residence halls. As such, there are rooms available on other floors for students who do not wish to participate in the living-learning program.

What if I am accepted into ESCALATE, but my roommate is not accepted, can we still live together?

No. You will be part of a living-learning community so all roommates will also be in ESCALATE.

Dr. Craig Downing

Dr. Craig Downing

Dr. Craig Downing is the Director of Graduate Studies, Interim Dean of Lifelong Learning, and Head of the Department of Engineering Management. He holds degrees in mechanical engineering, mathematics and statistics, manufacturing systems and workforce education and development.