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NLU To Offer Computer Information Systems, STEM Programming Through HSI Grant

NLU and Morton College stakeholders discuss the Computer Information Systems program the HSI STEM grant will make possible.

In the future, National Louis University students will design and build software,  thwart hackers, use a mobile-first approach to web design, create virtual worlds and smash barriers in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

It’s all coming about as the HSI  STEM Program gears up to start its work at National Louis University. The U.S. Department of Education awarded HSI grant funds to NLU a few months ago, and NLU is hiring staff to direct the program. Its overall goal is to increase Latino students in STEM fields, and staff have begun creating a new undergraduate program in Computer Information Systems (CIS) at NLU.

Starting in Fall 2017, NLU will begin recruiting students for the program, which will officially launch in Fall 2018.  Students who enroll in this major will have the opportunity to learn about Information Security, Data Analysis, Coding and Software Development, Computer Forensics, Mobile Computing, Electronic Healthcare Systems, Social Media and Virtual Reality/Computing.

Stakeholders from NLU and Morton College, which both received grant money to develop and run the program, met recently to discuss the details of the new undergraduate major. They also talked about using the Appreciative Advising Model with students in order to provide them a strong base of support.  This model focuses on deep student-advisor relationships, and students discuss their personal goals in addition to their professional or academic goals. Both schools will focus on offering students resources to succeed in the workforce, and leaders expect  students will have an opportunity to learn and excel in this field.

Marisol Velazquez, Director of Student Development at Morton College, commented that financial considerations often prevent students from transferring out of community college and completing a bachelor’s degree.

“A lot of our students find college too expensive. They come from first generation, low- income families and some have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status,” Velasquez said.

To accommodate them, the HSI STEM team committed to providing trainings, workshops and tools to make attending and finishing college a realistic option for all of the STEM students.

A summer bridge program is also in the works for the summer of 2018. Graduating high school seniors and transfer students will have the chance to participate in Computer Information Systems programming over the summer that will better prepare them for the transition into a four-year degree.

In addition to developing the Computer Information Systems program, the HSI STEM team is working to create a cultural relevance training program for faculty and staff at NLU and Morton College to prepare them to help students succeed.

For more information regarding the NLU HSI STEM Programming contact Melanie Flores in the NLU Provost Office at mflores36@nl.edu.