By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU
The Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) Summit is a landmark, first-ever series of events being held in Montgomery on January 25 - 26.
Many of the inaugural events will be held on the campus of Alabama State University and will center on the issues of digital equity and broadband connectivity, student workforce opportunities, minority and women-owned business growth, research development grants, and rural-urban telehealth and telemedicine access. The Summit is positioned to address critical issues both in education and technology.
SUMMIT AT ASU
On January 25, ASU will host various Google-led sessions (see the link below for details) on campus at the John Garrick Hardy Student Center. The MSI Summit has as its goal to bring together a diverse and influential group of leaders, experts, and advocates who are deeply committed to advancing diversity, equity, and innovation in higher education and beyond. Those attending the event will include presidents and administrators from minority serving institutions of higher education; government officials; corporate partners; philanthropic organizations; technology experts; community leaders and many more. The Summit’s purpose is to collaborate, share best practices, and drive positive change for minority-serving institutions and the communities they serve, which ASU President Quinton T. Ross, Jr. calls "CommUniversity."
SIGNING OF HISTORIC AGREEMENT WITH ASU & OTHER HBCUs
A highlight of the Summit will be the signing of a joint cooperation agreement among all of Alabama’s MSIs, including Alabama State University. This historic accord symbolizes a unified commitment to leveraging broadband and digital resources to address the focal areas effectively. The agreement is a tangible expression of a collective vow by ASU and others to utilize digital technology as a force multiplier in the schools’ educational and community-centric missions.
GOALS OF THE EVENT
The goals of the MSI Summit are to foster innovative solutions, enhance the quality of education, develop skilled workforces, and promote inclusive growth. The Summit aims to provide a forum for sharing best practices, exploring new ideas, and forming collaborative partnerships that drive positive change. It represents a monumental step towards addressing the unique challenges faced by minority communities in the state. Central to this initiative is the recognition of digital equity and broadband connectivity as essential pillars for empowering MSI's and enabling them to become catalysts of change and progress across diverse societal sectors.
At the epicenter of the MSI Summit is its mission to establish digital equity and enhance broadband connectivity. This focus acknowledges that in today's increasingly digital world, equitable access by all citizens and institutions to high-speed internet is not just a utility, but is also a necessity for educational and economic advancement. The Summit has as its goal to transform MSIs into well-connected hubs that can leverage technology to unlock their full potential.
SPECIFIC AREAS TO BE ADDRESSED
Among the specific areas to be addressed at the MSI Summit include:
- Student Workforce Opportunities: Enhanced connectivity enables MSIs to offer students a broader range of online internships, e-learning courses, and digital skill training, directly linking them to emerging job markets and remote work opportunities.
- Minority and Women Business Growth: Broadband access opens avenues for minority and women entrepreneurs to explore e-commerce, digital marketing, and global networking, fostering business growth and innovation.
- Research Development Grants: That concern high-speed internet facilitates and cutting-edge research, allowing MSIs like Alabama State University to participate in global collaborations, access extensive databases, and utilize advanced research technologies.
- Rural-Urban Telehealth Access: Promote telehealth services, powered by reliable broadband to bridge the healthcare gap, offering rural and urban communities alike more accessible and efficient healthcare solutions.