The University of Texas - El Paso (UTEP) proposes an Extension to the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI). CAHSI is an alliance of some of the leading producers of Hispanic science and engineering graduates: California State University-Dominguez Hills, Florida International University, New Mexico State University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, University of Huston-Downtown, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, and UTEP. Its goal is to create a unified voice in order to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in computing. It uses a three-fold strategy that promotes interventions addressing recruitment, retention, and advancement, as well as social science research, and dialogue that leads to collaborations and consolidated efforts. In the initial phase of its funding, CAHSI built an effective organization with well-defined communication strategies. CHSI has transferred effective-practice interventions to adopting institutions, and established collaborations with key professional organizations. This Extension builds upon CAHSI?s field-tested interventions -- including curriculum development, introduction of undergraduates into research early in their career, and student activities that build leadership skills -- with a focus on mentoring across the academic pipeline from the undergraduate level to the professoriate, developing a resource infrastructure, and continuing establishment of partnerships with industry, professional organizations, and other entities.

Project Report

Hispanics have the highest growth rates among all groups in the United States, yet they remain considerably underrepresented in computing careers and in the numbers who obtain advanced degrees. Hispanics comprise only 13 percent of undergraduate students in all fields. Additionally, only seven percent of baccalaureates and less than one percent of doctorates in computer science in 2011 were granted to Hispanic U.S. citizens according to the 2011 National Center for Education Statistics. With computing careers growing at a faster than average rate in the United States and internationally, it’s important to increase the number of Hispanics who complete computing programs and who are qualified to obtain high-status, lucrative positions. The underrepresentation in computing, as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), can be attributed to the small number of Hispanic faculty, combined with the lack of Hispanic role models and mentors. In 2004, seven Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) formed the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) to consolidate their strengths, resources, and concerns with the aim of increasing the number of Hispanics who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in computing areas. CAHSI now works with over fifteen universities and colleges. CAHSI plays a critical role in evaluating, documenting, and disseminating effective practices that support students at the critical stages in the academic pipeline: the transition from high school to college, from college to graduate school, and from graduate school to the professoriate. CAHSI initiatives and practices actively engage students in learning experiences, prepare students to succeed in STEM courses and assume leadership roles, and develop skills required for research and cooperative team work. Above all, CAHSI mainstreams mentoring and the building of structured, academic networks for students that prepare them for success in coursework from entry level through graduate school and, thereafter, into the STEM workforce. CAHSI has built a pedagogical and intellectual community to support student success in its departments, and it has created human infrastructure to support its initiatives by training faculty in member departments in effective practices. CAHSI provides ongoing support, resources and materials through its website ( and interactions among CAHSI members. The merits of CAHSI can be demonstrated by the increase in the completion rate of Hispanic students by ten percent since the year that CAHSI was officially formed. In 2011, 70% of CAHSI computing bachelor’s degrees were awarded to Hispanics. In contrast, data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that only seven percent of bachelor’s degrees in computer science in the United States were granted to Hispanics. Through CAHSI initiatives, the completion of Hispanic undergraduates from CAHSI departments increased from 244 students in 2006 to 267 students in 2011. CAHSI graduates Hispanic students at nearly ten times the national rate of Hispanic baccalaureates in computing. CAHSI departments have consistently graduated high rates of female and Hispanic MS degree recipients. CAHSI has dramatically increased the number of women MS graduates from the time that it was first formed, demonstrating an increase of 62% since 2006 (an increase from 26 in 2006 to 42 in 2011). CAHSI has also graduated high numbers of Hispanic master’s degree recipients. For example, from 2006-2011, nine percent of all Hispanic master’s degrees in Computer Science/Engineering in the mainland United States were conferred by the six founding CAHSI mainland schools. CAHSI consistently produces large numbers of Hispanic doctorates in Computer Science and Computer Engineering—quite significant, given the overall low rate of Hispanic computing Ph.D. degree attainment each year in the nation. In fact, from 2006-2011, CAHSI mainland schools graduated 22% of the nation’s Hispanic Ph.D.s in Computer Science. CAHSI has been listed in the national Examples of Excelencia database as an effective national initiative that accelerates Hispanic student success at the baccalaureate level. As a member of the Excelencia in Action Network, CAHSI contributes to national efforts to advance the Hispanic national agenda. CAHSI has also developed a partnership with the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), a community of scientists dedicated to involving and advancing those underrepresented groups in computing and other sciences by way of their national conference, year-round programs, policy advocacy work, and strategic initiatives. SACNAS serves over 30,000 members and involves more than 1,000 institutions, agencies, and programs across the country and in Puerto Rico. With a focus of expanding to include computing and engineering, the CAHSI-SACNAS partnership is critical because of its focus on preparing and advancing students in research careers and providing opportunities through its Leadership Institute to develop the next-generation leadership. SACNAS has also been a partner with CAHSI on policy and advocacy. The SACNAS partnership has opened opportunities and is moving CAHSI toward sustaining and extending its impact.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS)
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
Program Officer
Jeffrey Forbes
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas at El Paso
United States
Zip Code