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University of Cincinnati Receives $1.2 Million to Promote Careers in Information Technology

With a grant from the National Science Foundation, UC will help stem the shortage of IT professionals in Greater Cincinnati.

Date: 9/4/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Pamela DeCoste
Phone: (513) 556-2021

UC ingot   With the help of a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant, the University of Cincinnati is getting ready to launch a program to attract students into information technology programs. "Design-based Information Technologies Learning Experiences" is a collaborative project involving UC, local high schools, community organizations and the regional IT industry. The project, due to launch in September, is expected to impact approximately 5,000 students during a period of three years.

“The project has three overarching goals,” said Chengcheng Li, assistant professor of information technology and the project’s principal investigator. “We will promote information technology with secondary-school students, prepare a cadre of STEM (science, technology, education and mathematics) educators to integrate IT skills and expand the regional infrastructure that supports IT education.”

Part of the National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers, the project will also develop layered programs for cohorts of 10th through 12th grade students, as well as in-service and pre-service secondary STEM teachers.

“This funding opportunity will allow us to develop, evaluate and research IT pathways to meet the diverse needs of students in Greater Cincinnati,” said Helen Meyer, associate professor of secondary education and director of the UC STEM Education Center. “We see the current collaboration as a building block that can be scaled up to include other Cincinnati area schools and be a model for IT preparation nationally.”

“Information Technology is interconnected with all domains of our society,” added Lawrence J. Johnson, dean of the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, home of the School of Information Technology. “An interdisciplinary approach will elevate our level of understanding of how students learn core information technology concepts and result in a more holistic approach to teaching these concepts to students.”

The project is a joint effort between the School of Information Technology and the School of Education at UC. Secondary-school partners include six high schools: Aiken, Hughes STEM, Withrow, Oak Hills, Taft Information Technology, and Walnut Hills. Community partners include the INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati, Black Data Processing Association and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Industry partners include Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions and Cardinal Solutions.