ACE-IT! (Advancing Computer Education): This is an initiative to ensure that all faculty have the opportunity to learn how to develop their courses using innovative approaches to engaging students and ensuring that all students have the potential to succeed regardless of their preparation before arriving in their major in CCI. This initiative started with the Connected Learner Summer Institute and is now an initiative of the Center for Education Innovation.

ACE-IT! Director: Dr. Harini Ramaprasad

ACE-IT! Development: Dr. Mary Lou Maher, Dr. Tonya Frevert, Dr. Nadia Najjar, Dr. Celine Latulipe

Period: Started Summer 2020, ongoing

Summary: The goal of ACE-IT! Is to provide support for computer science course development that complements the training provided by CTL. The ACE-IT! Modules will represent best practice and innovation in CCI and will include specific course modules and complete Canvas course content from existing CCI courses.

  1. Growth Mindset

  2. Active Learning

  3. Adaptive Learning

  4. Online Learning


Bridges: Bringing Real-world Data and Visualizations to CS courses, Project Web Site

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Dr. Kalpathi Subramanian, Dr. Erik Saule, Dr. Paula Gookasian, Dr. Jamie Payton

Period: 8/15/2017 to 7/31/2021

Award Amount: $551,216

Summary: BRIDGES is an NSF TUES and NSF IUSE supported project which:

  1. provides easy-to-use interfaces to exciting, engaging real-world data (social networks, scientific data, etc), to make it possible for their use in freshmen/sophomore level CS courses

  2. makes it easy to visualize course assignments in a CS1, CS2, data structures, or algorithm courses

  3. is carefully designed to augment the student experience in routine introductory courses in Computer Science

Duke Energy STARS Scholarship Leadership Program

STARS Leadership Program: Duke Energy Scholarship

Funding Agency: Duke Energy

Contacts: Dr. William Tolone, Lijuan Cao, Kathleen Dunn

Award Amount: $750,000

Summary: Duke Energy STARS Scholars demonstrate a strong commitment to support diversity and to cultivate an environment of inclusion in computing. This commitment is demonstrated through academic or extra-curricular activities, school or community service, volunteer activities, or through independent thought and personal expression.

Student Application Portal

GAANN Fellowship

GAANN Fellowship Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Min Shin, Zbyszek Ras, Srinivas Akella, Heather Lipford, Mohamed Shehab

Period: 10/1/2018 to 8/31/2021

Award Amount: $248,750

Summary:This program provides fellowships, through academic departments and programs of IHEs, to assist graduate students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their course study at the institution in a field designated as an area of national need.

Website link and application portal:



Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Mohsen Dorodchi, Bojan Cukic, Roslyn Mickelson

Period: 10/16/2017 -010/15/2022

Award Amount: $999,999

Summary:The I-PASS Scholarship Improving the Persistence and Success of Students from Underrepresented Populations in Computer Science, is funded by NSF. The scholarship is part of a broader program designed to support the enrollment and graduation rates among student populations that are historically underrepresented within the computer science discipline.

REU Site: Making Future Communities

REU Site:

Making Future Communities: Infrastructure and Interaction Design for Cyber-Physical Systems

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: David Wilson, Heather Richter Lipford

Period: 2/1/2018 - 1/31/2022

Award Amount: $323,997

Summary: This Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site engages a diverse group of 10 undergraduate students each summer in an intensive 9-week research experience. The goals of the REU Site program experience are to increase interest in attending graduate school, to enhance preparation for careers in research and innovation, and to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in the field of computing. To achieve these goals, the REU participants work together with faculty, graduate students, and peers to gain experience and better understand how computing research can have societal impacts.

Website link and application portal:

RPP Collaborative Research

RPP Collaborative Research: Developing a Systemic, Scalable Model to Broaden Participation in Middle School Computer Science (STEM + C)

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Mary Lou Maher, Lijuan Cao, David Pugalee, Audrey Rorrer, Mohsen Dorodchi

Period: Period: 12/01/2018 - 11/30/2021

Award Amount: $502,822

Summary: This project will build on a long-standing Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) between NC State University's Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and a middle school in Wake County Public School System to deepen the RPP to further develop conceptual, theoretical, and applied frameworks for CS/CT. Additionally, the project will scale this RPP work to another newly-forming CS/CT focused magnet through a developing partnership with UNC Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to replicate the RPP for a new "Computer science and coding" magnet program. Since mathematics and science classes are taken by all middle school students, the project will use this academic context as the focus of the project's work.

NRMS Computational Thinking curriculum Website

STARS Computing Corps:

STARS: Building Capacity, Igniting Action, and Fostering Community for Broadening Participation in Computing at a National Scale

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Audrey Rorrer, Manuel Perez Quinones

Period: 11/1/2019 - 10/31/2024

Award Amount: $335,957

Summary: The goal of this project is to expand the reach and impact of the STARS Computing Corps to develop university leadership to broaden the participation of women, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities in computing, at a national scale.

The Connected Learner Project

IUSE/PFE:RED: The Connected Learner: Design Patterns for Transforming Computing and Informatics Education

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Mary Lou Maher, Bojan Cukic, Larry Mays, Celine Latulipe, Steven Rogelberg, Audrey Rorrer, Tonya Frevert

Period: 6/1/2015 - 9/30/2021

Award Amount: $2,250,648

Summary: The Connected Learner Project is a re-orientation of undergraduate computing education to focus on student learning that connects to peers, the profession, and the community. We envision to transform:

  1. A student entering an undergraduate computing and informatics program from a person with an interest in computing to a person with an identity as a computing professional.

  2. Faculty attitudes towards education, shifting their attitudes away from knowledge transmission toward a refreshed approach of developing educational activities that scaffold the computing knowledge and skills to build successful computing professionals.


Exclusion Response Workshops

Based on Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed” model for rehearsing social change.

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Celine Latulipe, Tonya Frevert, Sarah Provencal

Period: 8/1/2018 - 9/30/2021

Award Amount: $250,000

Summary: Augusto Boal created "Theatre of the Oppressed" for non-actors as a way to rehearse social change. His technique uses participatory methods to explore issues facing us as a community and brainstorm responses to difficult and/or oppressive scenarios. Exclusion response workshops, based on Boal's method, are workshops where we use theatre techniques to rehearse how to react to overt or covert instances of exclusion, particularly in STEM. ​The exclusion response workshops are a fun and active way to navigate difficult discussions around race/ethnicity, sex/gender, social class, LGTBQIA+, and religious discrimination. We have facilitated exclusion response workshops at national conferences and at universities for students, faculty, and employees.

Collaborative: Carolina Cyber Defender Scholarship

SFS Carolina Cyber Defense Scholarship CyberCorp(R) Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program

Funding Agency: NSF, OPM, and USDHS

PIs: Bei-Tseng (Bill) Chu, Heather Richter Lipford, Mohamed Shehab, Weichao Wang, Ehab Al-Shaer

Period: Period: 8/1/2017 - 7/31/2023

Award Amount: $ 1,180,213.00

Summary: The Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program is designed to recruit and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to meet the needs of Federal, State, local, and tribal government. This program provides scholarships for cybersecurity undergraduate and graduate (MS or PhD) education funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

EAGER: An Interactive Learning Analytics Framework

EAGER: An Interactive Learning Analytics Framework based on a Student Sequence Model for understanding students, retention, and time to graduation

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Mary Lou Maher, Mohsen Dorodchi, Wenwen Dou, Xi Niu

Period: 07/01/2018 - 7/31/2021

Award Amount: $ 298,486.00


E-SHIIELD: Enhancing Security education in Hybrid mobile and IoT firmware through Inclusive, Engaging Learning moDules

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Meera Sridhar and Harini Ramaprasad


Award Amount:


IUSE:EHR: The Effects of Course Structure and Sociality on the Success of Intersectional Groups of Students in Computing Education

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Mary Lou Maher, Tonya Frevert, Audrey Rorrer, Marlon Mejias, Jamie Payton, Andrew Rosen, Gene Kwatny, John Fiore, Celine Latulipe

Period: 07/01/2021 - 6/30/2024

Award Amount: $356,996

Summary: This collaborative project between UNC Charlotte and Temple University aims to serve the national interest by improving undergraduate student success in computer science courses. To do so, it will study relationships between student success and the course climate and teaching practices of their computer science courses. It will further analyze these relationships for students with intersecting identities, such as women who are first generation college students. This project will explore the relationship between active learning and cooperative course climate on students with intersecting identities, including race, gender, and social class. The knowledge generated by this research has the potential to improve student success in computer science and thus broaden participation of individuals from groups that are not yet equitably represented in computing.

Previous Projects

CISE REU Evaluation Toolkit Extension

CISE REU Evaluation Toolkit Extension

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: Audrey Rorrer, Heather Richter Lipford

Period: Period: 10/16/2016 to 09/30/2019

Award Amount: $ 192,555.00


EAGER: MAKER: Making Prosthetics for Kids

EAGER: MAKER: Making Prosthetics for Kids - Socially Relevant Making to Catalyze Diversity & Engagement in STEM Learning

Funding Agency: NSF

PIs: David Wilson, Richard Chi

Period: 07/17/2017 to 06/30/2019

Award Amount: $ 298,186.00


This exploratory research project is studying socially-relevant Making in the context of an on campus university Makerspace. Project studies are developing best practice models of how informal STEM learning through Making can be leveraged to improve the effectiveness of both informal and formal learning approaches, as well as to increase retention and broaden participation in STEM education for students and faculty. This is being studied across both secondary and post-secondary levels in partnership with a local engineering-focused high school. Project research is grounded in a specific socially-relevant challenge problem: designing and fabricating prosthetic hands for children who need them. Challenge problem activities are connected directly to real world context and outcomes in partnership with a nonprofit organization that specializes in facilitating and providing 3D printed recreational prosthetic hands free of charge for children with limb differences.