The Computational Center for Fundamental and Applied Science and Education (CCFASE) unites investigators from five departments in the College of Science and Technology (CST) at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), leveraging established strengths in computational research and education across the departmental disciplines as Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST).
Our goal is to use computational science as a focus for developing strong interdisciplinary, integrative research activities and research based educational training that enhances the existing undergraduate and graduate programs at NCCU. Additionally, to establish an infrastructure and level of student participation suitable to justify, both in student quality and quantity, the future establishment of Ph.D. programs, thus expanding the University’s ability to increase minority representation in the sciences.
CCFASE occupies the same physical location as the CST in the Mary Townes Science Complex, and builds upon and enhances the scope of existing science research at the University that is both interdisciplinary and highly dependent on computational modeling methods.
The Center leverages the efforts and reputation of a core research group of 14 NCCU scientists and cultivates relationships with collaborating institutions including Cornell, the Center for Earthquake Research and Information, Duke, and the Jefferson National Laboratory.
The Center provides a centralized organizational, technical and financial infrastructure support in the interest of building both an increasingly strong reputation as a source of innovative and high-quality research and an ability to support itself through collaborations with national laboratories, industry, and an active portfolio of research grants.
The main objectives of the CCFASE and NCCU-CREST are as follows:
Establish a world-class computational research center in fundamental and applied physical science
Actively integrate independent research and computational science into undergraduate education
The primary educational goal of the CCFASE is to enhance education and training in the sciences and to provide impetus for students to both enter and continue career in research. Early exposure to research greatly increases the likelihood that the student will pursue graduate education in science or engineering.
Anecdotal evidence from the NCCU Department of Physics provides an ample demonstration of this; prior to including students in research, only 5 to 10 percent of physics graduates went on to graduate school. In the last few years where all students have been supported with research stipends, each one of the last 12 graduates have been successfully enrolled in graduate programs.
Key strategies for accomplishing this purpose include:
“It takes teams of skilled personnel representing many disciplines to manage computing system capabilities and apply them to complicated real-world challenges. Indeed, the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee believes that multidisciplinary teams required to address computational science challenges represent what will be the most common mode of science and engineering discovery throughout the 21st century.”
President's Information Technology Advisory Committee 2005
Enhance the quality of M.S. degree programs and establish Ph.D. programs in science at NCCU
CCFASE has two particular goals in respect to the existing graduate programs at NCCU:
A long-term goal of CCFASE is to establish a suitable basis of research and education activities to justify the creation of Ph.D. programs in the computational and physical sciences.
The university supports the initiative to expand research opportunities for minority students, thus adding more scientists with a Ph.D. in the physical sciences. The university's commitment to increasing the number of minority scientists in the physical sciences is undisputed.
Gradual increase of enrollment through CCFASE funding will eventually double the number of M.S. degrees awarded, a benchmark that, when met, will meet administrative stipulations for the creation of Ph.D. programs in the sciences at NCCU.
“Universities must implement new multidisciplinary structures and organizations that provide rigorous, multifaceted educational preparation for the growing ranks of computational scientists the Nation will need to remain on the forefront of scientific discovery.”
President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, 2005
Establish the HBCU Computational Science Network
A key element of CCFASE will be the creation of a Computational Science Network (CSN) that will connect scientists, faculty and students at Historically Black College and University (HBCU) institutions with their colleagues in national laboratories, research universities, and scientific industry.
The mission of the HBCU-CSN is to connect research and development efforts in HBCUs to the more 'mainstream' scientific endeavors in computational science and physical science. This will establish CCFASE as a centralized resource for NCCU as well as organize and provide resources for research to the extended HBCU community.
This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers HRD-0833184
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