CLEMSON — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Clemson University a $5 million grant to launch the Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences.

The institute will serve as a national resource and emphasize mentoring as the primary strategy for increasing African-American participation in computing under the direction of Juan Gilbert, Presidential Endowed Professor and chairman of the Human-Centered Computing Division at Clemson, and Shaundra Daily, assistant professor in the School of Computing.

“African-Americans represent about 1 percent of the computer science faculty and researchers in the U.S.,” Gilbert said. “We formed this institute to increase the number of underrepresented groups earning computing science doctoral degrees and researchers in the academy, government and private sector.”

In collaboration with its partners, the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Carnegie Mellon University, Rice University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Winston-Salem State University, Clemson will extend the work of current NSF alliances and demonstration projects that utilize different strategies towards broadening the participation of African-Americans in computing sciences.

More specifically, the institute aims to increase the number of African-American doctoral graduates who enter the workforce with a research focus; retain and advance African-American doctoral students, faculty and researchers in computing; and develop future African-American leaders with computing expertise in the academy, government and industry.

“Computing enables almost every sector of our economy and is among the fastest-growing areas of projected job growth,” Daily said. “The institute will not only mentor future leaders with established computing expertise, but also encourage underrepresented groups to explore the field of computing.”

The institute will be evaluated by an advisory committee led by Richard Tapia, recipient of the National Medal of Science from President Obama, National Academy of Engineering member and professor in the computational and applied mathematics department at Rice University. An external peer evaluation will be conducted by the Computing Research Association’s Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline.


Clemson University
Ranked No. 25 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit, and a competitive drive to excel.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1303156. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.