The computing alliance of hispanic-serving institutions: Supporting hispanics at critical transition points Article

Gates, AQ, Hug, S, Thiry, H et al. (2011). The computing alliance of hispanic-serving institutions: Supporting hispanics at critical transition points . 11(3), 10.1145/2037276.2037280

cited authors

  • Gates, AQ; Hug, S; Thiry, H; Aló, R; Beheshti, M; Fernandez, J; Rodriguez, N; Adjouadi, M



  • Hispanics have the highest growth rates among all groups in the U.S., yet they remain considerably underrepresented in computing careers and in the numbers who obtain advanced degrees. Hispanics constituted about 7% of undergraduate computer science and computer engineering graduates and 1% of doctoral graduates in 2007-2008. The small number of Hispanic faculty, combined with the lack of Hispanic role models and mentors, perpetuates a troublesome cycle of underrepresentation in STEM fields. In 2004, seven Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) formed the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) to consolidate their strengths, resources, and concerns with the aim of increasing the number of Hispanics who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in computing areas. To address barriers that hinder students from advancing, CAHSI defined a number of initiatives, based on programs that produced promising results at one or more institutions. These included the following: a CS-0 course that focuses on adoption of a three-unit pre-CS course that uses graphics and animation to engage and prepare students who have no prior experience in computing; a peer mentoring strategy that provides an active, collaborative learning experience for students while creating leadership roles for undergraduates; an undergraduate and graduate student research model that emphasizes the deliberate and intentional development of technical, team, and professional skills and knowledge required for research and cooperative work; and a mentoring framework for engaging undergraduates in experiences and activities that prepare them for graduate studies and onto the professoriate. CAHSI plays a critical role in evaluating, documenting, and disseminating effective practices that achieve its mission. This paper provides an overview of CAHSI initiatives and describes how each addresses causes of underrepresentation of Hispanics in computing. In addition, it describes the evaluation and assessment of the initiatives and presents the results that support CAHSI's claim of their effectiveness. © 2011 ACM.

publication date

  • October 1, 2011

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • 11


  • 3