Minority Colleges Need IT Investment to Thrive

May 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 15-4: Ancient Cultures Modern Technology, Tribal College News

A new report from the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education urges increased investment in the information technology capacities of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The report, Serving the Nation, documents technological disenfranchisement among underserved groups and showcases the success of MSIs despite limited financial resources.

The national organizations that represent the nation’s MSIs asked the alliance staff to prepare the report, the first-ever national effort to study technology use at MSIs as a group. The alliance surveyed more than 300 of its member institutions and combined the results with in-depth profiles of six model colleges and universities.

The survey results indicate that most MSIs have built a solid information technology (IT) foundation on their campuses and are using IT to enhance a variety of administrative and student service functions.

However, improvement is needed. For example, it is critical that all MSIs have a strategic plan for information technology in order to maximize limited resources, and not all have prepared one, according to the report. In addition, MSIs lag behind other institutions in student computer ownership, online student services, and Internet access in residence halls. In addition, faculty use of email/Internet in teaching is low despite efforts by many schools to provide training and support.

“This report provides compelling evidence of the need to move our national dialogue about technology beyond basic concerns about hardware and software,” says Jamie P. Merisotis, coordinator of the alliance and president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Washington-based research organization that prepared the report.

Consequently, the alliance urges more investment by government and the private sector to give MSIs the ability to stay on the cutting edge of technology application. The investment is critical to their ability to produce minority leaders for IT-related fields and thereby ensure the economic success of their communities and the nation as a whole, according to the report.

The member organizations of the alliance include the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

A complete report is available free of charge on the alliance’s website: www.msi-alliance.org.

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