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on the diversity of the field will benefit
greatly from engaging the entire academic
computing research community. Many
universities will respond by expanding
their broadening participation efforts
to include students from groups who
are underrepresented in computing, including women, underrepresented minorities, and students with disabilities
(URMD). Here we list 10 small steps departments can do toward this goal.
1. Organize departmental BPC efforts at your university: Create a sign-up list of diversity activities, and incen-tivize faculty to participate. Create a
departmental strategic plan for broadening participation that faculty can
support and amplify in their funded
NSF CISE proposals. Consider how to
leverage BPCnet providers as part of
your departmental plan.
2. Optics matter: Include pictures
of URMD students in websites and
printed materials. Artwork, examples
in class, etc., should appeal to all stu-
dents and not reinforce stereotypes.
The same goes for examples you pres-
ent in class. If you think they fail to be
inclusive, they probably are.
3. Make departmental infrastructure accessible, inclusive, internationalized: Provide accessible classrooms,
labs, offices, websites, videos, etc. Use
international alphabets for student
names. Ask students for their preferred pronouns.
4. Measure and track: Analyze your
enrollment, demographics, etc., regularly to identify problem areas and track
changes, on your own, or with the CRA
5. Create a community for URMD
students: Sponsor student organizations, and send students to Grace Hopper, Tapia, and other celebrations of
diversity in computing.
6. Recruit URMD teaching assistants, professors, advisors:
Representation matters. Students value seeing
someone who looks like them being
successful in their field.
7. Promote undergraduate research:
Work with women and URMD students
in undergraduate research projects,
such as through CRA’s CREU and DREU.
8. Create curriculum enhancements
that appeal to diverse students: Create
introductory courses that assume no
computing background, CS+X degree
programs, service-learning, and accessibility electives.
9. Develop the K– 12 pipeline: Work
with K– 12 teachers (CSTA) and improve state curricula (ECEP) to advance
K– 12 computing education.
10. Engage the community to stimulate computing interest and skills:
Organize rigorous and joyful outreach
Broadening Participation in
Computing Is Easier Than You Think
December 11, 2018
The U.S. National Science Foundation
(NSF) recently introduced new requirements for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)
Directorate programs, whereby some
funded projects must include a Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC)
Plan. To facilitate this transition, the
Computing Research Association (CRA)
is launching a resource portal called
BPCnet ( https://bpcnet.org), which is
being funded by NSF to connect organizations that provide BPC programs
with computing departments and NSF
grant proposers. These changes reflect a
recognition that any significant impact
Smoothing the Path to
Uses for Big Data
Members of the Computing Research Association suggest
ways to broaden participation in computer science,
while Saurabh Bagchi looks at use cases for big data.
DOI: 10.1145/3303708 http://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm