NSF/AIHEC Partnership Provides Tech Services

Feb 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 16-3: Indigenizing Education, Tribal College News

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is partnering with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) to help assure that American Indian students get the best education possible in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The STEM Technical Assistance Project serves not only tribal colleges and universities but also institutions with Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students. Since NSF is providing the funding, there is no cost to the institution.

AIHEC sends specialists who typically have expertise in STEM program development, information technology (IT), workforce development, and strategic planning. The colleges request the type of help that they specifically need. AIHEC matchs experts with individual schools to assist in planning and implementation.

In the past the project has concentrated on information technology infrastructure, such as computer networking, IT faculty, distance learning, and IT integration. Recently, the project has expanded and provides services such as facilitating campus-wide strategic planning sessions in support of STEM, helping to implement STEM research programs, and assisting with project management.

In addition, the project has helped with assessment, STEM facility design, course/program development, team building, and conflict resolution. The project relies upon expertise from both within and outside of the tribal college system.

Information technology can create jobs in rural areas by making it possible for entrepreneurs, tribal enterprises, and other small businesses to provide goods and services to more densely populated regions.

Therefore, the STEM Technical Assistance Project is also focusing on economic development to improve prospects for graduates of IT programs both on and off the reservation. AIHEC is working with Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), an organization whose members include hundreds of IT companies.

In the future, AIHEC plans to develop an online STEM resource center portal and an AIHEC STEM Institute, which will provide workshops and training.

For more information regarding AIHEC’s STEM Technical Assistance Project, contact Dan Burns at dburns@aihec.org or call (360) 319-2010 (Pacific Time).

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