2022: The Minority Serving – Cyberinfrastructure Consortium’s Year in Review

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By Teni Agbesanwa - MS-CC Program Coordinator

Minority Serving Cyberinfrastructure Consortium graphic

The Minority Serving – Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (MS-CC) had an incredible year in 2022 as we advanced cyberinfrastructure (IT for research) capabilities at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), and the broader community of minority-serving institutions (MSIs). MS-CC is a thriving and growing community, and we are glad to share some accomplishments from this past year.

MS-CC Leadership, Governance, and Charter 

 Early in 2022, the MS-CC hired its inaugural program director, helping us lead several programmatic activities through funding made possible by the National Science Foundation Award to MS-CC and Internet2 NSF OAC 2137123. We are grateful to Lawrence Williams for his dedication to the MS-CC this past year, and since his promotion with the U.S. Army Reserve, we are searching for an enthusiastic, collaborative, and results-driven individual to successfully lead program activities for the MS-CC. Learn more about the Program Director position and candidate qualifications.

In the fall of 2022, the Consortium Leadership Council (CLC) continued to advance MS-CC’s governance structure and, before the end of 2022, also elected several HBCU leaders to serve in the roles of Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary:

  • CLC Chair: Dr. Urban Wiggins, vice provost for decision science and visualization and interim chief information officer, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • CLC Vice-Chair: Dr. Deborah Dent, chief information officer, Jackson State University
  • CLC Secretary: Ms. Leah Kraus, chief information officer, North Carolina Central University

Along with governance establishment, the MS-CC CLC reviewed and updated the  MS-CC Charter to better reflect what we’ve learned through our community engagements in 2022.  We view the charter as a living document and expect additional revisions in the years to come as we continue to learn, grow, and evolve. Please share your questions and comments with us via mscc-charter@internet2.edu.

Cyberinfrastructure (‘IT for Research’) and Cybersecurity Workshops

Image of students working together

The MS-CC conducted three workshops on HBCU and TCU campuses, all funded by the NSF as part of our Cyberinfrastructure Center of Excellence Demonstration Pilot award (NSF OAC 2137123).

The cyberinfrastructure (IT for research) and cybersecurity workshops were hosted at North Carolina A&T State University in June 2022, Salish Kootenai College in August 2022, and Jackson State University in November 2022. We will continue to conduct these workshops in 2023, starting with Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC, on March 21 and 22. Stay up-to-date on MS-CC’s IT for research and cybersecurity workshops by visiting our workshop webpage

2022 Events and Engagements 

From participating at national conferences to presenting at workshops, the MS-CC leadership had a busy year engaging with stakeholders and colleagues. 

MS-CC conference participation included the HP HBCU Tech22 Conference, the 2022 National HBCU Week Conference, Internet2 Leadership EXchange, EDUCAUSE, TNC22, CENIC 2022, and Internet2 Technology Exchange. Additional MS-CC presentations were provided to the NSF Large Facilities Office (LFO) Research Infrastructure Workshop, NSF Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) PI Workshop by The Quilt, Open Science Grid All Hands Meeting, and the South Carolina Divine Nine Legislative Day.

A key highlight for us in 2022 was the opportunity to present during the 2022 National HBCU Week Conference in Washington, D.C., as well as convening a group of HBCU leaders for a special gathering ahead of the conference that was focused on advancing cyberinfrastructure for HBCUs. 

During HBCU Week, we delivered a presentation to HBCU presidents, faculty, staff and students, federal agency partners, stakeholder groups, and community advocates that focused on the importance of supporting HBCUs by enhancing campus technology, building communities, providing funding support, and providing professional development opportunities. 

During the special convening for HBCU leaders, HBCU presidents, chancellors, vice presidents of research, vice presidents of teaching and learning, and chief information officers joined MS-CC leadership and Internet2 Trustees to learn more about the Internet2 and MS-CC partnership. 

The MS-CC also held nine monthly All-Hands meetings for our community in 2022, with invited presenters from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Office of Minority and Broadband Initiatives, Internet2, The Quilt, CI Compass, The Cloud Forum, Research and Education Networks – Information and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC), Trusted CI at the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC), and Waymark Analytics. You can watch replays of all the meetings on our YouTube playlist

Second MS-CC NSF Grant

With the MS-CC’s progress in 2022, the NSF awarded us a nearly $15 million grant to support the expansion of IT for research capacity at HBCUs and TCUs. The focus of the NSF grant is to further mature the MS-CC organization and its community programs, and to develop a scalable model for significantly accelerating cyberinfrastructure (IT for research) advancement at several HBCU and TCU institutions. 

MS-CC at Internet2 TechEX

We closed out the year by participating in the 2022 Internet2 Technology Exchange Conference (TechEX) with an MS-CC lunch and learn session on Dec. 6. The purpose of this lunch and learn session was to discuss campuses’ perspectives and experiences with IT for research capabilities from institutions that are part of the MS-CC’s community. 

We also offered scholarships in support of MS-CC community participants at TechEX. We funded eight scholarship recipients who represented institutional participants from the MS-CC and got to network with peers while attending sessions focused on information security, advanced networking, research engagement, cloud computing, and identity and access management. We hope to continue this tradition of having our MS-CC community members attend and participate in professional development opportunities.

Moving Forward in 2023

As we move forward in 2023, we are excited about the future and looking forward to the numerous engagement opportunities we have planned in support of our community. From hosting our first MS-CC Annual Meeting in May 2023, to organizing more cyberinfrastructure (IT for research) workshops on HBCU and TCU campuses, to convening HBCU leaders and continuing our discussions about the importance of campus cyberinfrastructure, there is much to be excited for. 

We are also launching a new Cyberinfrastructure 101 webinar series to highlight the importance of cyberinfrastructure plans for our community, define what a cyberinfrastructure plan is, and why it is important. The series will culminate in a workshop where participants can create their own cyberinfrastructure plan and align their requirements with potential NSF funding sources.

Work is already underway to establish a model or set of models for facilitating cyberinfrastructure strategic planning and capability development at HBCUs and TCUs. This will be accomplished via MS-CC’s Proof-of-Concept Grant (PoCG) program, funded within the NSF grant (NSF OAC 2137123). Working with MS-CC’s founders and project co-Principal Investigators at identified candidate campuses, we launched a prototype process for their institutions to propose a year of initial funding to support planning that informs the development of cyberinfrastructure capabilities to advance their research and education missions. 

Work is also underway to form MS-CC’s Tiger Teams, who will partner with PoCG recipients in and beyond the first year of funding to achieve their IT for research development goals, as well as inform an MS-CC portfolio of Cyberinfrastructure Facilitation services to be made available to more campuses across our community. 

Stay Connected in 2023

By joining and participating in the MS-CC you will be added to a mailing list where we share updates, announcements, opportunities, and timely information with our community. Our next All-Hands meeting will be this month, on Jan. 26, as All-Hands meetings are every last Thursday of each month at 12 p.m. E.T. Please visit our YouTube playlist to find the published recording of the All-Hands meetings.

Your participation in the MS-CC helps us create a vibrant community of practice where peers can collaborate and support one another and build a coalition to advocate for their needs as a community. 

We look forward to seeing you at our All Hands meetings and future MS-CC events!