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CRA Launches BPCnet.org: A Resource Portal for Broadening Participation in Computing Efforts


By Mary Hall, University of Utah, and Shar Steed, CRA

In partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT), CRA announces an initial launch of BPCnet.org, a resource portal designed to amplify the NSF CISE Directorate’s efforts in broadening participation in computing (BPC). CRA anticipates that BPCnet.org will provide a much-needed clearinghouse for the community to learn about and engage with ongoing projects to diversify computing.

The portal can be used by CISE PIs, academic leaders, and faculty in two main ways:

To Learn About Partnering Activities
Individual PIs can search the portal for potential partners who offer established BPC activities that address the PI’s interests and specific needs of their institution. Partnering with an established BPC program can assist the PI in developing meaningful BPC components of their proposals. Also, they can benefit from best practices that have been honed by the experience of the partners.

To Develop Departmental BPC Plans
A departmental BPC plan is a valuable resource for departments to aid faculty in tailoring their plans to available programs at their institution. It also permits individual faculty to contribute to a shared strategic vision for broadening participation in computing at their institution and in their local community. For this purpose, BPCnet provides connections to activities that are suitable for engaging departments with established BPC programs. Once available, it will also provide guidelines for developing departmental BPC plans.

BPCnet also provides links to published articles and programs that share essential knowledge and research on best practices for broadening participation in computing.

The initial launch of BPCnet.org is an important step in engaging the CRA and NSF CISE communities in advancing the goal of broadening participation in our field. As the community gains experience with the portal and new BPC programs are developed, we envision that the portal will evolve to further meet the needs of the community.

CRA looks forward to working with CISE PIs, academic leaders, and faculty on this important work because, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, computing research needs diverse perspectives in order to foster innovation.