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Engaging Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in Cyberinfrastructure (CI) through CI Days

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Engaging Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in Cyberinfrastructure (CI) through CI Days Alex Ramirez1, Geoffrey Fox2, Al Kuslikis3, Richard Alo4, Karl Barnes5, Diane Baxter6, and Julie Foertsch7 1) HACU:Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, 8415 Datapoint Drive, Suite 400, San Antonio, TX 78229 http://www.hacu.net 2) Computer Science Department, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 USA 3) AIHEC: The American Indian Higher Education Consortium http://www.aihec.org/ 4) University of Houston Downtown, Center for Computational Science, One main street, Suite 722 South, Houston, TX 77002 www.uhd.edu/ccsds 5) NAFEO: National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education http://www.nafeo.org 6) SDSC: San Diego Supercomputer Center, 9500 Gilman Drive, MC-0505, La Jolla, CA 92093-0505 7) Leading Edge Evaluation & Consulting, LLC ——————————  —————————— 1 INTRODUCTIONScience, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are undergoing a radical transformation based in large part on technological advances producing a qualitative shift in the STEM resources available through the commodity Internet and advanced networks. The TeraGrid is a key part of this qualitative shift in remote resources which is loosely termed cyberinfrastructure (CI). Other components include Open Science Grid, Internet2 and National LambdaRail, and community or virtual organization (VO) support tools, like wikis, Second Life and other Web 2.0 developments. Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) are colleges and universities that were created or evolved to provide post-secondary education to a specific underrepresented minority group, African Americans, American Indians or Hispanics. These institutions typically lack the resources that institutions must have to participate in CI. Unless purposeful efforts are made to engage MSIs, this can result in a widening of the “digital divide”. Part of the solution to this next generation digital divide may reside in CI itself which can intrinsically democratize science. One CI-focused effort is the use of “CI Days” to at a minimum raise awareness of CI at MSIs and other institutions. We will briefly discuss MSIs, CI, the Minority-Serving Institutions Cyberinfrastructure Empowerment Coalition (MSI-CIEC), and the CI Days approach. This will be followed by the presentation of two cases of CI Days for MSIs, CI education which is an area of keen interest to MSIs and other higher education institutions, and the lessons learned. 1.1 MSIs Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). As the term implies, HBCUs are institutions established prior to 1964 with the historical intent and mission of providing higher education to African Americans. They are both public and private, mostly four-year with some two-year colleges and universities. The National Association for Equal Opportunity in higher education (NAFEO) is a membership organization of HBCUs and predominately black institutions. Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) were established to address the higher education needs of American Indians, especially those living in geographically isolated areas like reservations without other higher education venues. They are predominately two-year institutions with some four-year institutions, including a few that offer a master’s degree. In 1972 the existing TCUs formed the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) which continues to serve as the primary vehicle for collaboration among TCUs and partners. Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs) are colleges and universities that have 25% or more Hispanic student enrollment. They are about evenly mixed between two-year and four-year institutions; most are public institutions. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) was formed in 1986 to confront the barriers to Hispanic higher education and continues to grow in membership. It is the only national association of HSIs. MSIs provide an efficient strategy to reach the minority communities underrepresented in STEM and higher education in general. Although they represent less than 10% of U.S. institutions, they enroll a much higher percentage of students from their respective communities; e.g. HSIs enroll about 50% of all Hispanic college students [10]. HBCUs and HSIs produce about 33% of African American and the same percentage Hispanic STEM baccalaureates, respectively [5, 6]. They are also well represented on the Top 50 baccalaureate institutions of Hispanic and African American doctorates [7]. MSIs are usually teaching institutions, both small and large, with a mostly regional service area, with some notable exceptions particularly among the HBCUs. MSI students can be extremely talented, and can help meet current and anticipated STEM workforce demands. 1.2 Cyberinfrastructure & MSI-CIEC The National Science Foundation (NSF) 2003 report of theENGAGING MSI IN CI BY CI DAYS 2 Blue Ribbon Panel on Cyberinfrastructure, the Atkins Report [1], coined the term cyberinfrastructure (CI) stating that in much the same way that power grids, roads, railroads, etc. are infrastructure for an industrial economy, CI is the infrastructure needed for a knowledge economy. The NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure’s (OCI) Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery defines (CI) as follows: “Thecomprehensiveinfrastructureneededtocapitalizeondramatic advances in information technology has beentermed cyberinfrastructure (CI). Cyberinfrastructureintegrates hardware for computing, data and networks,digitally‐enabled sensors, observatories and experimentalfacilities, and an interoperable suite of software andmiddleware services and tools. Investments ininterdisciplinary teams and cyberinfrastructureprofessionals with expertise in algorithm development,system operations, and applications development are alsoessential to exploit the full power of cyberinfrastructure tocreate, disseminate, and preserve scientific data,informationandknowledge[8, p.6).”The TeraGrid (TG) set of high


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