AIHEC Launches New Portal for Science

Feb 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 17-3: Heroes of Today, Tribal College News

The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) is moving its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) support services into the digital age. The consortium has launched a new, open access web portal, the STEM Resource Center.

The center relies upon Microsoft SharePoint Portal Services software received through a recent Microsoft grant that included software donations to AIHEC and the tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). The STEM Resource Center provides STEM-related news, announcements, documents, and links to important education, grant, and research resources.

The STEM Resource Center is currently supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA. A variety of new collaborative tools will support the primary goal of the resource center, which is to help create and sustain one virtual community of faculty members and students from all AIHEC member institutions, including TCU organizational, institutional, and agency partners.

There are both general topic and domain-specific sites within the portal. AIHEC is now seeking TCU faculty members to moderate these sites (e.g. environmental sciences, alternative energy, ethno-biology, and health). In this way each site will be kept current and focused on the needs of TCU STEM personnel.

The portal’s community-building tools support various types of online interaction, such as discussion forums. AIHEC hopes that by using these tools, TCU faculty will trade teaching and learning strategies, share experiences with specific projects and initiatives, and develop collaborative research and education projects.

The portal will also link to important resources such as the NASA Education Portal, National Science Digital Library, and professional organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

AIHEC plans to continually add new portal functions and services to support STEM-related activities, especially in response to recommendations from TCU faculty. For example, in the near future, the STEM Resource Center will provide an online training environment as part of the AIHEC STEM Institute, which will provide TCU faculty access to professional development opportunities in a cost-effective manner. The STEM Resource Center is located at http://stemrc.aihec.org/default.aspx.

For more information on the AIHEC STEM Portal, contact either Dan Burns (dburns@aihec.org) or Al Kuslikis (akuslikis@aihec.org).

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