Binghamton and HBCUs Unite for True Collaboration: A Game-Changing Alliance

It is noted that, a groundbreaking partnership has been formed between Binghamton University and six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This partnership, known as the New Research and Education Alliance (newERA), aims to foster closer ties and collaboration in the areas of education, research, and service.

The plans for newERA emerged from the Emerging Technologies and Broadening Participation Summit hosted by Binghamton’s Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Faculty and students from HBCUs visited Binghamton University to tour its laboratories and engage in discussions with Watson faculty. The goal was to establish holistic, equitable, and sustainable collaborations based on shared missions.

Through this partnership, universities will pool their resources, knowledge, and expertise to address pressing societal challenges. Joint initiatives will focus on research areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), data science, cybersecurity, materials science, biomedical engineering, smart energy, future manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture.

One of the key goals of newERA is to support faculty research collaborations. By providing access to shared laboratory resources, state-of-the-art equipment, and advanced facilities, participating universities will train researchers to conduct cutting-edge research. This collaboration aims to strengthen the research infrastructures of HBCUs while fostering a knowledge-sharing environment.

Furthermore to research-focused initiatives, newERA also aims to create opportunities for underrepresented graduate students interested in pursuing careers in engineering and computer science. The alliance will offer mentoring programs, co-course development opportunities, and summer internships to help diversify talent within these fields.

The partnership is not merely focused on short-term goals but aims for long-term sustainability. Karen A. Jones, Vice President for Diversity Equity & Inclusion at Binghamton University stated that they are developing a concrete action plan that ensures ongoing success rather than just checking boxes.

Since its inception earlier this year during springtime at Binghamton University through a summit led by Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Donald Hall, the partnership has already taken its first steps. Representatives from Binghamton University have visited Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M, with plans to visit the other universities soon. Discussions are underway for shared seminars on data science for medical imaging, as well as research initiatives in materials science, power grid security, and semiconductor manufacturing.

The core team of newERA, which includes Thurgood Marshall College Fund founder N. Joyce Payne, Mark Frohman of Frohman Consulting Corp., and Dean Dawit Haile of Virginia State University, is working together to develop a detailed plan that will ensure the growth and development of these partnerships.

As this partnership continues to evolve and mature, it holds great potential for innovative research opportunities and nurturing diverse talent within the engineering and computer science fields. By leveraging the strengths of each institution involved, there is an opportunity to achieve remarkable things through collaboration.

N. Joyce Payne believes that if this model proves successful between Binghamton University and these six HBCUs along with Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s 47 member colleges across different states, it can be replicated for the remaining 41 universities.

The decision, the partnership between Binghamton University and six Historically Black Colleges and Universities through newERA signifies a true collaboration aimed at addressing societal challenges through education, research, and service. This alliance not only fosters closer ties but also provides opportunities for faculty research collaborations and supports underrepresented graduate students in pursuing careers in engineering and computer science. As this partnership grows stronger over time, it has immense potential to pave the way for innovative research endeavors while fostering diversity within these fields.

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