At Khoury College of Computer Sciences, we believe in “computer science for everyone.” Through the Center for Inclusive Computing, we’re focused on diversifying the field specifically by partnering with higher education computing programs to implement initiatives that attract and retain undergraduate women in computer science. To do this, the Center engages in three key initiatives:
 

Grantmaking

We provide funding to nonprofit colleges and universities with large computing programs (200+ graduates per year) to design and implement evidence-based best practices that will substantially increase the representation of women graduates over the next five to ten years. Grants range from $500,000 to $2 million.

Technical Assistance

We collaborate with participating colleges and universities during the application process and throughout implementation. To do this, the Center deploys technical advisors who have firsthand experience implementing changes that have led to significant increases in the percentage of women in computing programs.

Data Analysis & Peer Learning

Partner institutions are asked to regularly submit key institutional and demographic data that allows us to track enrollment, completion, persistence, and faculty/TA support for the first three introductory computer science courses. Our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the experience of underrepresented groups in computing at each institution. The Center ensures that learning is shared among the college and university partners. Over time, the Center will conduct and publish research on the results achieved at the different institutions.

Implementing Best Practices

The Center supports the implementation of well-documented, evidence-based best practices that have been shown to increase representation of women in computing at the undergraduate level. The interventions we fund are captured in the National Science Foundation’s BPCnet Resource portal.

We prioritize applications that aim to create sustainable, long-term changes with a sense of urgency that is commensurate to the pressing problem. Although schools face a variety of structural and cultural impediments to making changes, all applicants must have faculty and leadership support and buy-in. Institutional leadership must commit to a sustained investment of resources to ensure the long-term success of interventions.

These examples derive from current or past initiatives funded by the Center. Please note these are samples and do not represent the full scope of the interventions. However, the Center prioritizes the following best practices:

1

Change the culture

Create a supportive, inclusive atmosphere. A student’s background shouldn’t be an impediment to taking computing courses. Work with the department to ensure faculty-student interactions are positive and encouraging. Consider expanding and improving diversity, inclusion, and implicit bias training for faculty, TAs, and advisors.

2

Redesign the intro sequence

Design introductory computer science courses that appeal to students without prior knowledge of computing and facilitate multiple pathways to a computing major. Under the direction of well-trained faculty and teaching assistants, computer science can be taught in a way that demonstrates the breadth of the field and creative ways computing can benefit society.

3

Collaborate across campus

Lean on the diversity and inclusion work done by other departments. Consider creating interdisciplinary opportunities such as joint/combined majors or double/dual major programs, which can broaden appeal and participation.