Texas A&M-San Antonio Receives First NSF Grant for STEM Project Designed to Bolster Student Pipeline, Increase Student Marketability

Thursday, 08 23 2018

SAN ANTONIO (August 21, 2018)—Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA) has been awarded its first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for support of the project, “New to NSF: Recruiting and Retaining Students into Computing. The $249,948 grant is for the three-year project period from Oct 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2021. The grant was awarded through the NSF’s inaugural Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE): Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) program, which aims to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at HSIs.

The objectives of the A&M-SA project are to broaden and strengthen the pipeline of students entering the field of computing and cyber security. To meet workforce demands, the project will develop an innovative computer science undergraduate curriculum with cyber security modules. The project will seek to increase the retention rates of the students and strengthen their marketability by providing a National Security Agency (NSA) Cyber Defense Education certificate upon graduation. To assist in the retention of students, Model-Eliciting Activities (MEA), a teaching and learning model, will be applied in teaching the cyber security modules.

The A&M-SA project will be led by Dr. Jeong Yang, assistant professor of computer science in the Department of Computing and Cyber Security. Dr. Akhtar Lodgher, professor and chair of the Department of Computing and Cyber Security, and Dr. Young Rae Kim, assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will serve as co-principal investigators for the project. Dr. D. Michelle Janysek, a field residency and clinical teaching specialist in the Educator Preparation Program (EPP), will be an independent evaluator to ensure the success of the project to meet its goals.

The project team also is partnering with computing departments of rural (Laredo Community College) and urban (San Antonio College) Hispanic-Serving community colleges to implement the project. This partnership will increase opportunities for student transfer, while the innovative curriculum and the inclusion of the learning model will increase the likelihood that students will persist and graduate with degrees in computing and be employed within this field. Through a design experiment methodology, the project will investigate the impact of MEAs and the incorporation of cyber security on instructor effectiveness and student attitudes and performance.

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About Texas A&M University-San Antonio

With a nearly 700-acre campus to grow into, the Military Embracing™ University welcomed its inaugural freshman class in August 2016 and is now a comprehensive four-year university. Currently enrolling approximately nearly 7,000 students, Texas A&M University-San Antonio is one of the fastest-growing universities in the state. To learn more, visit tamusa.edu.