The Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI), since its founding in 2006, has significantly expanded and consolidated Hispanics’ participation in computer areas.

Written by Ann Q. Gates, and Elsa Villa

In 2004, the Computing Research Association (CRA) held its annual meeting in Snowbird, Utah, to update department chairs in computing on trend data and other computing-related issues. Attending the meeting that year were department chairs from seven Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): California State University-Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), Florida International University (FIU), New Mexico State University (NMSU), Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM), and The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). These chairs realized they had power in numbers and made a decision: “let’s take each of our homegrown best practices and come together as a unified alliance.” The Computing and Information Science Engineering (CISE) directorate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) had just launched its alliance program to broaden participation in computing, in an effort to meet one of NSF’s goals: accelerate the number of students who enter and complete STEM degrees. UTEP, under the direction of Ann Quiroz Gates, took the lead in writing the successful proposal, with the other six chairs as co-investigators. That funding officially launched the establishment of the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) in 2006 to establish a unified voice and consolidate their collective strengths and resources, while bringing in others committed to increasing the number of Hispanics in all computing areas.