San Marcos,
11:01 AM

HSI STEM grant will provide foundational funding for engineering program

By Eric Breier

Cal State San Marcos has been looking forward to starting an engineering program.

The University is one step closer to achieving that goal thanks to a recently awarded grant.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded CSUSM a nearly $6 million grant under the Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM Program, providing foundational funding for an engineering program.

The five-year grant will provide nearly $1.2 million each year beginning Oct. 1, 2016.

“This grant is a significant first step toward launching our engineering program,” CSUSM President Karen Haynes said. “Over the next several months we will be working to secure the necessary private sector funding that will allow us to bring the program to reality.”

Gerardo Dominguez, an associate professor of physics at CSUSM, is the project director for the grant, which is titled “Si Se Puede!” to Close the Equity Gap in Engineering Degree Completion.

“I’m thrilled that this proposal has been chosen and I am excited about the possibilities that this brings to the campus community,” Dominguez said. “It will increase the professional and education opportunities for the residents of North County and the broader area served by CSU San Marcos. I am particularly excited that the funding provided by this grant will allow CSU San Marcos to start offering engineering options for our students in the near future.”

The purpose of the grant is to develop and carry out activities to improve and expand CSUSM’s capacity to serve Hispanic and low-income students.

The project’s goals include developing innovative degree programs in software engineering and electrical engineering; developing the engineering curriculum and transfer pathway between community college partners and CSUSM; and building and supporting an educational ecosystem focused on equitable student success and completion through best practices.

By Sept. 30, 2021, CSUSM expects to increase the percentage of Hispanic and low-income students at community-college partner institutions who transfer successfully to a four-year institution in an engineering field; increase the percentage of Hispanic and low-income students who have completed a STEM degree or credential; and reduce any equity gaps between Hispanic and general population students that exist in the performance measures.

The grant proposal also includes four additional objectives:

• Approximately 240 Hispanic and low-income students will have participated in grant-funded student support programs or services;

• increase the percentage of Hispanic and low-income first-time, full-time degree-seeking students who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and remain enrolled in the engineering pathway the following year;

• increase the percentage of Hispanic and low-income students in the engineering pathway who successfully complete gateway courses within two years;

• increase the percentage of Hispanic and low-income students in the engineering pathway who complete 30 units within two years.

“I’m excited to be working with Ed Price in physics and Youwen Ouyang in computer science on this project, and I am confident that with humility, careful planning and support from the broader community we can achieve the goals set forth in the proposal,” Dominguez said.