DSC8155.jpgThe College of Engineering and Computer Science has been awarded a five-year, $5.5 million HSI STEM grant by the U.S. Department of Education. The largest grant the college has ever received, it will support efforts to increase the number of low-income, Hispanic and other underrepresented minority students who graduate with engineering and computer science majors.

The project, developed in collaboration with two community college partners, College of the Canyons and Glendale Community College, has been designed to address the academic needs of Hispanic and low-income students. Program components will include proactive academic advisement and tracking, organized tutoring, peer and faculty mentoring, hands-on research opportunities and career advising to facilitate students’ eventual transition to the workforce or advanced studies. Some of the funds will be used to underwrite classes at the community colleges to ensure students access to the prerequisites they need to transfer to CSUN in engineering and computer science. Participating students will receive stipends to motivate them and inspire them to succeed.

In addition, the grant will expedite the development of sustainable, seamless transfer agreements between the community colleges and CSUN. Working collaboratively, faculty from the three institutions will develop and team-teach courses and address gaps in the existing articulation agreements.

A unique aspect of the project is the integration of technology to enhance student learning. Through the grant, CSUN will create a mobile digital environment with tablet PCs and software to enhance communication, engagement, collaboration and creativity and provide instant learning assessment for the students in the cohort.

Altogether, the project is expected to facilitate the graduation of 120 Hispanic and low-income students during the grant period.

“It’s terrific to engage faculty and students in this exciting project, and we’re confident that this program will make a difference in the lives and careers of our students,” says CECS dean S. K. Ramesh.