The three organizations that comprise the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education -- the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) -- established the Minority Serving Institutions (MSI)-Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Empowerment Coalition (MSI-CIEC).
The Alliance provides a broadly systemic approach to reaching underrepresented minority students and engaging this nation’s American Indian Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), and Historically and Predominantly Black Institutions in the exploration, dissemination and adoption of CI tools, services and initiatives supporting research and education. The three organizations (AIHEC, HACU, and NAFEO) comprising the Alliance and leading this project represent the broadest coalition of MSIs in American higher education, at least 335.
Engaging MSIs is an efficient way of reaching the growing number of underrepresented minority college students, the next generation of scientists and engineers. Although only a relatively small percentage of colleges and universities in the country, MSIs serve a much greater proportion of underrepresented minority students, (e.g., HSIs are only about 6% of the higher education institutions in the country, but produce a third, 33%, of Hispanic science baccalaureates while Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) produce the same percentage for African Americans) (National Science Board, 2004). AIHEC and HACU are the only national associations representing TCUs and HSIs, respectively, and NAFEO has served as an advocate for historically and predominantly black colleges and universities since 1969. Also, the Alliance is able to attract notable national experts in CI and e-science to work with its membership to plan, design and implement an effective institute, and broaden participation and impact of CI on society and the next generation of scientists and engineers.