Message from the Director of BPC
A computing workforce from many backgrounds, cultures, and identities ensures that future computing products and services will reflect the needs and concerns of all members of our society. Fostering an inclusive climate to enable all students to be able to successfully earn a degree and enter the workforce is important to us. It is who we are. A major goal and focus of CSE is to increase the percentage of degrees awarded to women and underrepresented populations in computing, as articulated in our mission statement. We call this focus, following national guidelines, Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC).
To achieve our goal, we have undertaken a number of initiatives. These initiatives are described here in our BPC website. This effort has been ongoing for many years – in 2019 we formalized this effort by establishing a CSE BPC committee (with 10 faculty members) and developed a BPC plan. The BPC plan has been approved by the CSE faculty. Much of what you see on this website is the direct result of the work started by the BPC committee and continued by the CSE faculty, students, front office staff, and advisors. In 2020, our efforts were recognized with a designation as an AnitaB.org BRAID Affiliates institution.
For our four undergraduate degree programs, we are currently well above the national average in the percentage of degrees awarded to African-American and Hispanic students, we are below the national average for women students. Enrollment – and degrees awarded – to women student has steadily increased for the past five years, but we still have much more work to do. With the collective effort by the CSE faculty, students, front office staff, and advisors, I am confident that we will make even greater progress in the future.
I would like to emphasize the importance of our front office staff and advisors – they are typically the first point of contact for our students (and prospective students). Our advising staff is very focused on BPC in their daily interactions with students and with the development of special programs for populations underrepresented in computing (for example, specific computing-related events for both National Black Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month). Our front office staff have participated in our BPC meetings and have attended the Grace Hopper Event, along with faculty and students.
We are thankful to our corporate partners in the Computing Partners Program for supporting our BPC efforts by direct donations to student activities. We are also thankful to having been an NCWIT Learning Circle member for the past year – this helped us tremendously to learn best practices for BPC. If you want to be part of our BPC success story, please contact me directly.
Professor of Instruction and Director of Broadening Participation in Computing