AIHEC Cyberinfrastructure Strategic Planning (CISP) Initiative

“Developing a technology roadmap at the TCUs to support their academic, research, business, and public service missions.”


The AIHEC Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Team seeks to engage their TCU members in a Cyberinfrastructure Strategic Planning (CISP) initiative through our NSF Cyberinfrastructure Research Alignment (CIRA) grant award. In an initial presentation of the CISP initiative to the AIHEC TCU members, half of the TCU Presidents expressed interest in their campus participating in the project. With the wealth of positive responses from the TCUs, the AIHEC CI Team needed to seek additional funding resources to recruit more consultants to provide timely inclusion of each interested TCU in the CISP initiative. With their current grant resources, the AIHEC CI Team has begun meeting with the Presidents and IT Directors from a small sampling of the interested TCUs to better understand their intent and commitment to the CISP initiative. The AIHEC CI Team has also met with a team of consultants to better understand their level of commitment to the project and the cost associated with their involvement in the initiative. With this document, the AIHEC CI Team wishes to develop a clear and concise blueprint for the stakeholders in the CISP initiative to better understand the goals, process, and commitment that will be required to develop a comprehensive CI strategic plan at a Tribal College or University.

CISP Resources

Current available resources for the CISP initiative are located below:


The AIHEC CI team is working with TCUs interested in submitting an unsolicited 5-page planning grant proposal to the NSF TCUP program to provide up to $50,000 in funds to offset staff time to develop a comprehensive campus-wide CI strategic plan. The NSF TCUP Director set aside up to $1 million for up to 20 TCUs to develop IT strategic plans.

The AIHEC CI team provides the sample cyberinfrastructure plan for South Carolina State University, an HBCU, and a planning template as references for TCUs interested in developing a CI Strategic Plan at their institutions.

CI Strategic Planning Process and Timeline

The AIHEC CI team and their team of consultants with years of leadership experience in the US Research and Education cyberinfrastructure space developed a staged train-the-trainers approach, described below, for developing a CI strategy plan (CISP) for each TCU.  This approach not only allows for the appropriate level of engagement with the AIHEC and TCU IT stakeholders, but also provides a long-term, sustainable, and cost-effective method for developing CI strategic planning for all TCUs.

The phases outlined below are intended to be executed serially.

Phase 1 – Introductory Discussions and Self-Assessment

    • Meet participating TCU leadership and staff to review templates and explain a self-assessment process, and discuss the “pay-forward/train-the-trainer” model
    • Participating TCU “response team” fills out template, and has periodic checkpoint meetings with AIHEC CI team and consultants
    • AIHEC CI Team and consultants and the TCU team engage with stakeholders (faculty and others) as needed to build rapport, get buy-in, and enlist their help to fill out self-assessment
    • As part of the pay-forward process, begin to train TCU staff to act as mentors for other TCUs
    • Time for this phase dependent on TCU response team and stakeholder schedule
    • Checkpoint to update subsequent phase planning and timeline, as needed

Phase 2 – Consultant Analysis:

    • AIHEC CI team and consultants meet to review TCU’s response to self-assessment template
    • AIHEC CI Team and consultants draft gap analysis, current state assessment and recommendations
    • Present above drafts to TCU response team
    • Refine and finalize drafts based on feedback
    • Checkpoint to update subsequent phase planning and timeline, as needed           

Phase 3 – Plan Development:

    • TCU response team, AIHEC CI team, and consultants draft CI strategic plan
    • Review draft with TCU stakeholders
    • Iterate based on feedback, as needed
    • Finalize plan and present to TCU leadership

Phase 4 – Next Steps:

    • Plan for development of proposals for subsequent funding
    • Finalize TCU peer team (from target TCU)
    • Assist with developing a plan for TCUs to implement strategic plan

AIHEC CISP Consultant Team

Along with Dale Smith and Jim Bottum, the AIHEC CI team’s strategic planning expert consultants include:

Gwendolyn (Wendy) Huntoon

Wendy has worked in the fields of high-performance networking and computing for over 30 years and is currently co-PI on the NSF funded Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) project aimed at addressing the prevalent gender gap that exists in Information Technology (IT). Throughout her career she has worked to enhance high performance networking infrastructure, technology, and services for the research community, including cyberinfrastructure deployment and network performance analysis and tuning.

From 2014 – 2019 she was the president and CEO of KINBER, the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research where she expanded KINBER’s PennREN network, increased the service offerings, and enhanced the support for campus and regional network infrastructure in support of science drivers and applications.  Prior to joining KINBER, she was the Director of Advanced Networking at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and also served in Intenet2’s CTO’s office as the Senior Director of Research and Science Engagement. Huntoon is currently a member of the DoE Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee. She has a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and History from Bowdoin College.

John H. Moore

John is currently volunteering as a member of the Eastern Regional Network Steering Committee ( He retired from Internet2 in 2019 where he was an Associate Vice President (for both Research & Infrastructure Strategy and Network Architecture & Planning) working to help build the infrastructure and multi-institutional collaborations that support large-scale science in the United States. Prior to joining Internet2, he spent nine years with MCNC, the regional Research and Education (R&E) network operator in North Carolina, where he held several technical and senior executive positions in the areas of service development, strategy, innovation and cybersecurity. John has been involved with the R&E networking community since 2000, starting with his position at North Carolina State University, where he focused on network technology testing as Director of the Centaur Lab and the NC Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center.

Prior to his work with the R&E community, John spent fifteen years working in the private sector as a networking consultant, development engineer, product planner and standards representative in organizations ranging in size from IBM to his own one man consulting company. John received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1985.

Paul Schopis

Paul served as the executive director of OARnet, from 2015 to 2019 and as the chief technology officer from 2009 through 2019. In the role of executive director he implemented a new business plan to more closely align with the needs and uses of the network as well as create greater equity amongst users. He also worked closely with chancellor’s and governor’s offices to expand high speed networking and resilient infrastructure to support research and real time critical applications such as drone flight control, first responders and NG911. As CTO, Schopis led the team that designed OARnet’s network, one of the nation’s leading statewide and multi-state, high-speed networks for research and education, and was involved in all phases of its creation, including RFP process, procurement, deployment and operation. Schopis also provided the budgetary network design for BDREN, the Bangladesh national R&E network that resulted in funding from the World Bank as well as participation in the final design and training of the network operators. He also acted as CTO for GOHi (Global One Health Initiative) and participated in programs in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.   Schopis previously served as senior engineer for Ohio’s Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC-Ohio).

Schopis served on The Quilt board and executive committee and served two and half terms as chair of the executive committee. Among his contributions to the community, Schopis founded Internet2’s NTAC and was a founding member of the Advanced Testing and Monitoring Team, in partnership with ITEC-Ohio, NC-ITEC, Spirent, British Columbia Institute of Technology and San Diego Supercomputing Center. He also was a founding member of the Big Ten OMNIpop’s Technical Advisory Committee. Schopis has also been a co-author for various technical and professional publications. Schopis holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physical science from The Ohio State University and graduated cum laude.