Georgia Tech to help expand research at HBCUs August 22, 2022

Georgia Tech’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) was recently awarded a $995,550 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enable network and research enhancements for nearby historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The NSF grant will fund at 100 percent a two-year project titled Promoting Research and Education at Small Colleges in the Atlanta University Center and at Tuskegee University Through Network Architecture Enhancements. Through this project, Georgia Tech, in collaboration with Southern Crossroads (SoX), will extend advanced networking services and cyberinfrastructure access to Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, and Tuskegee University. The project includes a robust training and support program to ensure proper adoption and success for researchers and educators at participating institutions. The Atlanta University Consortium (AUC) Woodruff Library will benefit from network upgrades through the grant as well.

Cas D’Angelo, OIT associate vice president and chief operating officer, serves as principal investigator for the project. He also serves as president of SoX, a Georgia Tech affiliate organization that serves nonprofit education, research, and government entities with cyberinfrastructure and global high-performance connectivity.

“We started preparing a compelling proposal package that would demonstrate the need and value to the research community in early 2021,” said D’Angelo. “For years, we have been working to get institutions within the AUC — the oldest and largest contiguous consortium of African American higher education institutions in the U.S. — connected to the SoX regional network, given their proximity. This project provides us with that opportunity.”

This project will also lay the groundwork for expansion to other HBCUs.

The NSF has solicited proposals to support traditionally underserved institutions of higher education through partnerships with regional entities that have experience in high-performance research and education networking like Georgia Tech. Special emphasis has been placed on HBCUs, tribal colleges and universities, and other traditionally minority-serving institutions.

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$10.5MM Federal Grant Awarded to MSU and Merit Network to Deliver Statewide Broadband Infrastructure June 27, 2022

Project to create Michigan Open Optical Network – Leveraging Innovation to Get High-Speed Technology (MOON-Light)

East Lansing, Mich., June 27, 2022 – Merit Network and Michigan State University are joint recipients of a $10.5 million National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Infrastructure Program Grant that will connect Michigan’s many disparate Internet pathways.

This program, named the Michigan Open Optical Network – Leveraging Innovation to Get High-Speed Technology (MOON-Light), will help address critical infrastructure gaps by enabling technologically advanced, middle-mile fiber optic infrastructure across the state. It will allow interconnecting local Internet service providers (ISPs) to bring affordable, robust, high-speed broadband Internet to homes and businesses in Michigan’s underserved/unserved population areas.

“The MOON-Light initiative will have a transformational impact across the state in providing Internet access and is a true force-multiplier for upcoming ISP last-mile projects,” said Joseph Sawasky, president and CEO, Merit Network. “We are privileged to partner with Michigan State University and the MSU Quello Center on this initiative that is one of the first-of-its-kind in the nation. With non-profit and cooperative organizations working together with commercial ISPs, we are uniquely positioned to reduce costs and accelerate broadband projects for Michigan in model public-private partnerships. This project sets a strategic digital foundation for Michigan and will create a statewide ‘digital autobahn’. Our goal is to actually #FixTheDamnInternet for citizens and learners. We are incredibly thankful for the continuing trust that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has placed in our vision.”

“Closing the digital divide is essential to the future success of our state and our young people,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “When we partner together to solve our state’s most pressing challenges, we create a place that is full of opportunity – for all people and businesses. This partnership is a prime example of that and MSU is proud to play a role in this effort to connect Michigan.”

Letters of intent from several ISPs including Highline, Barger Creek and Northern Michigan University have already been signed to further the public-private collaboration of MOON-Light.

This project leverages funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP), one of the earliest of the recent infrastructure programs. BIP was a precursor to theInfrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021.

As the State of Michigan continues to prepare for federally funded broadband investments, MSU and Merit proactively and independently applied for the NTIA grant to move things ahead faster. [Read the full announcement at Merit | News]

UETN Board Appoints Spencer Jenkins as the new UETN CEO and Executive Director June 21, 2022

The governing board of the Utah Education and Telehealth Network appointed Spencer Jenkins as the new UETN CEO and Executive Director.

(SALT LAKE CITY) – Jenkins, who is Associate Commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education, succeeds Dr. Ray Timothy who is retiring July 1. Timothy has served as UETN’s CEO for the past decade.

Jenkins holds an MBA in Technology Management from Westminster College. He also earned two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Utah, one in political science and a second in economics. He also holds a PMP Certification in project management.

“We are delighted to congratulate Spencer Jenkins,” said UETN Board Chair Robert Wagner. “We have enjoyed interviewing a diverse group of candidates and are assured that he is eminently qualified to lead UETN forward. Jenkins stood out above other candidates because of his exceptional experience in working with the Utah State Legislature, other state agencies, and the state’s broad educational community.”

Jenkins has overseen government affairs, student affairs, COVID-19 response and planning, operations, project management, public affairs and communication, student engagement, community and business engagement for the Utah System of Higher Education. His is a former executive director of the Utah Geographic Reference Center. [Read the full announcement on UEN | News]