TAMIU, TAMU-K Receive DI5 Award From TIF Board for Wireless Network

A joint proposal by Texas A&M International University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMU-K) has been been funded by the Texas Telecommunication Infrastructure Board (TIF Board) in the amount of $500,000.

The Discovery 5 (DI5) Award will enable TAMIU to expand its wireless network to include Pearsall, Charlotte and San Isidro school districts and the Encino Charter School. It will also enable the completion of a telecommunication bridge between Hebbronville and Falfurrias while also connecting into TAMU-K's southern wireless network and its northern link in San Antonio at the Palo Alto Center.

The DI5 Award is a highly competitive program that promotes the delivery of "outside-the-box" solutions. Discovery grants are targeted to advance learning, improve public access, and build partnerships in the state of Texas through collaboration. Discovery grants foster ideas that promote the use of advanced telecommunications technologies.

Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president, said the grant represents a strong collaboration with lasting ramifications.

"Through merging our strengths with those of TAMU-K, we'll be able to provide quality content through an expanded area that previously was not possible. This TIF Board grant is helping us to bridge time and distance with technology and the ramifications for the people of South Texas are incredible," Dr. Keck said.

TAMIU will use the DI5 Grant to expand its wireless network initially funded by a Discovery 4 Grant awarded in 2000. The University plans to transmit college courses to 15 high schools in 10 counties surrounding the Laredo area.

The goal of the program is to offer quality University courses, alternative teacher certification classes, and eventually entire degrees to underserved populations.

In addition, the project will enable high school seniors to be dual- enrolled at the University during their last year of high school, promoting a seamless transition into higher education.

Other programming opportunities will enable teachers in communities served by the TAMIU Network to obtain state-mandated certification coursework to help retain their teaching privileges. A continuing education course schedule will also help students of all ages participate in life-long learning.

Discovery (DI5) grants represent a TIF Board effort to continue to support and explore telecommunications technology solutions to everyday problems that arise within TIF's four constituent areas: elementary and secondary public school districts and campuses; institutions of higher education; public libraries; and public and not-for-profit healthcare facilities and academic health science centers.

The TIF Board mission targets helping Texas deploy an advanced telecommunications infrastructure by stimulating universal and scaleable connectivity for its four constituent areas. The Board hopes to effect technology training programs and encourage quality content that strengthens education, healthcare, and libraries in Texas. Priority is given to rural and underserved populations.

For additional information, please contact the TAMIU Office of Distance Education at 326.2791, visit offices in the Western Hemispheric Trade Center 215B or email distance@tamiu.edu.

Information on the Texas Telecommunication Infrastructure Board is available at http://www.tifb.state.tx.us/

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu