January 13-14, 2000
Strategic Plan Summary
prepared by James Harrington, Jr.
with assistance from Robert-Allen Baker
I. Purpose and Goals for MU-SPIN
This strategic plan's purpose is to optimize the MU-SPIN asset for its parent division, MURED, by building on accomplishments; and to make the asset more available to NASA's principal enterprise areas for effective achievement of agency-wide minority educational goals. Goals include:
To achieve strategic plan goals, the Project Manager and team will address a series of key issues by completing the tasks described below. These tasks result from identification of key MU-SPIN issues through consensual discussion at the management level. To ensure task completion, each is to be treated as an objective in a General Plan of Work, with a unique schedule of activities, deliverables and outcomes. (A summary General Plan of Work appears as an appendix to this document.)
1. Design a summative evaluation instrument for application to the seven MU-SPIN NRTS and collateral initiatives, to determine success in meeting stated objectives.
2. Conclude and apply a "best-practice" formative work plan, or model, for NRTS core activity and collateral initiative work, based on the summative evaluation.
3. Leverage NRTS performance through selective partnership with other science/technology service providers to minority institutions (including internal NASA resources and external resources), ensuring truly national outreach by the NRTS.
4. Promotion of the revitalized NRTS by MURED through NASA's enterprises as a broker of essential information about minority instiutions.
5. Devise a continuous project evaluation methodology(formative) for application to ensure completion or amendation of the proceeding project objectives. Note: This methodology will be designed at project onset, and continuously pursued during the strategic planning process.
A Schedule of Activities necessary and sufficient for the completion of each objective will likewise be designed at the onset of Phase One in the General Plan of Work. The schedule for each objective will describe a critical path of sequential activities, with start-stop dates, staff assignments, deliverables and key reporting timetables detailed to facilitate project management.
III. New Activity Platforms
Principal outcomes of the MU-SPIN strategic planning process -- clearly implied in "Key Issues" above, and the General Plan of Work, below -- include these new activity platforms:
Apart from massively-funded efforts to advance minority learners by a scattering of federal agencies (the Dept. of Education, National Science Foundation, et al.), less familiar but prolific projects are attributed to the Minority University Research and Education Division of NASA's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. Over a nine-year span, MURED has made at least three notable contributions:
As the new millennium opens, the national challege of diversity remains largely unmet, despite increased interest by persons of color. For NASA, MURED's MUSPIN is a critical key to creating opportunities responsive to heightened minority interst.
Three questions are preeminent, What are the best-practice lessons to be learned from a practical review of MU-SPIN's current scope of activity towards its mission? How does MU-SPIN actually perform its work, and what resources external to MURED may be mobilized to enhance this performance? Where may NASA best apply MU-SPIN's accrual of resoruces and information to cost-effecient advantage?
A realistic evaluation of MU-SPIN as a highly-evolved NASA asset, through the MU-SPIN 2000-2003 Strategic Plan process, could materially help the entire agency reach its goal for minority learners -- and do it faster, cheaper, better.
I. MU-SPIN Accomplishments
MU-SPIN was created in 1991 to help minority universities build and support campus local area networks connected to the Internet. That simple, focused mission it has forever changed the infrastructure -- and the opportunities -- of numerous minority institutions above K-12, and encouraged infrastructure change in K-12 schools primarily serving minority learners. A true appeciation of MU-SPIN's national achievement begins with its seven Network Resource and Training Sites -- each at a proven HBCU or OMU. NRTS' attention to spreading network access has fostered myriad new collaborations and interactions by minority schools beyond their old world of mainly intramural action. Special MU-SPIN initiatives -- workshops, colloquia, etc. -- are designed to enhance the NRTS effort, often in league with partnering Expert Institutes such as the National Indian Telecommunications Institute and carefully-chosen consultants in research, education/public outreach, technology transfer/commercialization, and change management.
II. Need Statement for New Activities
1. The NASA Office of Education has been tasked with developing coordination strategies across the agency's enterpise areas. Although each of the agency offices' education/public outreach programs have had stringent requirements for minority participation, evidence (e.g., from review process managers) indicates a consistent inability by majority institutions and Investigators to identify minority institutions for partnerning purposes. NASA needs to establish a cost-effective, "one-stop" brokerage to remedy this lack of effective access to minority educators and learners.
2. Performance pressures have inhibited MURED and MU-SPIN in design and implementation of an evaluation instrument to determine "best practice" for its key service provider to minority institutions: The Network Resources and Training Sites. To optimize NRTS' performance, a summative evaluation should be performed, resulting in a formative work plan, or model. This evaluation process must apply to the NRTS, as well as MU-SPIN collateral initiatives (Expert Institutes; consulting for change Management, Research/Ecuation Outreach, and Technology Transfer/Commercialization).
3. Presently, NASA lacks an evaluated inventory of science/technology service providers to minority institutions, which would include both internal NASA resources (e.g., the Office of Space Science's "Broker/Facilitator Network", etc.) and external resources (e.g., the national Space Grant Consortia, training and other outreach entities funded by prime science contractors like Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Others). To ensure "faster, cheaper, better" service to and inclusion of minority institutions -- with less redundant effort -- NASA needs to further enfranchise a proven program such as MU-SPIN.
In summary, a plethora of currently-funded programs need diversity; conversely, a plethora of minority institutions require intervention to ensure participation in 21st century science, engineering and technology.
||6:00pm ||Group Dinner|
||8:30am ||Continental Breakfast
|9:15-10:00am ||MU-SPIN/NRTS Issues|
James Harrington and Reginald Eason
|10:15-11:15am ||PI Reflections from NRTS Phase 1|
|11:15am-12:00pm ||NRTS Follow-On Description
|1:00-2:00pm ||ESSEA/OSS Videoconferences|
|2:00-2:30pm ||NOVA Spring Workshops
|2:45-3:45pm ||10th Annual conference Planning|
|3:45-4:45pm ||Open Discussion
Workshop Videoconference Review
Space Mission Workshop
Presented by Valerie L. Thomas
MU-SPIN Research and Education Outreach Coordinator
at the NRTS PI Meeting, Atlanta, GA
January 14, 2000