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UTSA receives $1 million grant to increase student success and diversity in computer science

UTSA receives $1 million grant to increase student success and diversity in computer science

(May 7, 2018) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has received a nearly $1 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to increase diversity and student success in computer science. Led by Turgay Korkmaz, UTSA associate professor of computer science, and Larry Clark, a computer science lecturer, the program will support high-achieving, low-income students and engage underrepresented female and minority students by offering 62 undergraduate scholarships. The new program, funded by the NSF S-STEM program, will be known as Increasing Financial Opportunities and Co-curricular Utilities for Success in Computer Science (I-FOCUS-CS).

“UTSA is one of the largest minority-serving institutions in South Texas, and increasing the diversity of perspectives in our nation’s pool of computer science professionals is vital to our country’s prosperity,” Korkmaz said. “With this new program, we’ll connect with underrepresented female, minority and financially disadvantaged students to remove the implicit bias in the STEM field.”

The I-FOCUS-CS project will offer scholarships for high-achieving, low-income undergraduate students. Each qualifying student will receive a scholarship of up to $10,000 per year. Furthermore, to increase the diversity of UTSA computer science majors, the faculty members will develop new methods and surveys to better identify the academic needs of individual students, monitor the academic progress of each participant and integrate multiple activities based upon the learning needs and progress of individual participants.

“We are aiming to increase the retention of students majoring in computer science by at least 20 percent and improve the student graduation rate in computer science by the same measure,” Korkmaz said.

To support student engagement and success, UTSA will implement an increase in faculty and peer mentoring, individual tutoring and a new, week-long orientation “jump start” program, biweekly group study meetings, opportunities to attend research conferences and involvement in faculty research projects.

Additionally, each student’s progress will be closely followed so that individualized, early interventions will be initiated, if needed, to keep all scholars on track to complete their degrees. Students will also be encouraged to participate in recruiting and outreach events to share their own stories as role models for younger students.

“This combination of activities has the potential to significantly improve the retention and graduation rate of high-achieving, low-income students, and provide sustainable solutions to advancing STEM education,” Korkmaz said. “This program will open our exceptional computer science program to a broader student body.”

Students interested in applying to the program may do so online. The first group of students will receive funding in the Fall of 2018.

Joanna Carver

Learn more about the UTSA Increasing Financial Opportunities and Co-curricular Utilities for Success in Computer Science program.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Computer Science.

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.