Tag Archive: CRA-WP

Articles relevant to the CRA Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP).

Persons With Disabilities: Broadening Participation and Accessibility Research

It is startling to learn that approximately 16% of the US population of working age have disabilities. Some of these individuals are so cognitively or emotionally disabled that they cannot work, but most are capable of working and contributing to society. Within information technology (IT) fields the numbers compiled by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from various sources are interesting:

Sexism—Toxic to Women’s Persistence in CSE Doctoral Programs

Preventing sexism in CSE doctoral programs can increase women’s retention. With funding from the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT), CRA has been studying women in the CRA_W Graduate Cohort program. This program welcomes women graduate students into the computing community and provides them with role models and a broad range of strategies for success. Analyses have produced some interesting findings about women’s retention in CSE doctoral programs.

Internships Enhance Student Research and Educational Experiences

Government and industrial internships can enhance the retention of students in the computer science pipeline by augmenting the educational and research experiences they receive in school. In academic programs with large numbers of students where personal attention from professors may be limited, an internship can provide one-on-one or small-group mentoring from a computer science researcher or professional. Internships can provide access to equipment, training, expertise or other resources that may not be readily available in the academic environment

African-American Researchers in Computing Sciences: A Model for Broadening Participation

According to the most recent Computing Research Association (CRA) Taulbee Survey, African-Americans represent 1.3 percent of all computing sciences faculty. Nationally, across all disciplines, African-Americans represent 5.2 percent of all academic faculty. The African-American Researchers in Computing Sciences (AARCS) program was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program in 2006. It aims to narrow the gap between computing science faculty and the national average by eliminating disbeliefs, concerns and misunderstandings about graduate school, research, and computing sciences faculty among African-American undergraduate computing sciences majors.

Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing: 2007 Event Strongest Ever; Next Event Planned

The Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, a biennial event sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) in cooperation with the Computing Research Association (CRA), had its most successful event to date on October 14-17, 2007 in Orlando, Florida. The conference is the premier event for the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC), a joint organization of the ACM, CRA, and IEEE-CS. The next celebration will take place April 1-4, 2009, on the West Coast of the United States.

2008 CRA Snowbird Session Focus: “Practical Solutions to a Continuing Problem: Sexual Harassment”

Many believe that the problems of sexual harassment and gender discrimination have largely vanished in our computer science community. While the prevalence of explicit discrimination and open harassment has diminished, it has not gone away entirely and implicit bias continues to exist. Discussions among female researchers on on-line forums and in professional groups indicate that graduate students and junior faculty in particular have concerns, and at times experience disturbing instances. There seems to be a consensus that departmental leadership plays a crucial role in creating a better environment. With this in mind, the 2008 CRA Conference at Snowbird for department chairs and labs/centers directors will include a panel session on sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Networking Networking Women (N²Women)

As we know, women are a minority in the computer science community. Several organizations, such as CRA-W, ACM-W, the Anita Borg Institute, and the National Center for Women in Technology, have diverse efforts underway to increase the number of women in all fields of computer science. In addition to these field-wide efforts, we should assist women in finding female role models, female mentors, and/or female peers within their particular research discipline in order to reduce the isolation that many women researchers feel. This can best be achieved through communities that connect women in the same discipline, and several recent efforts have been underway to stimulate such discipline-specific communities. For example, CRA-W and CDC have, with NSF support, sponsored workshops targeted at women and under-represented minorities in computer architecture (July 2006) and in programming languages (May 2007).

Fifteen Years Later, Caregivers Still an Issue for Conference Attendees

In January 1993, Elaine Weyuker wrote an article for this column in CRN titled “Childcare an Issue for Conference Attendees,” making a powerful case for support for childcare at conferences (see: 1993 Article). Almost fifteen years later, that article remains relevant. The original article focused on on-site childcare, but similar observations apply for caregiver support for other needs, such as those of the physically disabled.

Tapia Conference to Focus on Passion, Diversity, and Innovation

This October 14-17, more than 400 students, professors, and researchers will gather at the Disney Hilton in Orlando, Florida for the fourth Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. Held every two years, the Tapia Conference provides a welcoming and supportive setting for all participants and particularly for students from under-represented groups. This year’s theme is “Passion in Computing—Diversity in Innovation.”

Gender Differences: Recognizing and Developing Potential in Female Students

Last year, a colleague in my department approached me with the following quandary: Why did his female student have difficulty working independently on her senior project, despite her demonstrated ability in his class? When we delved further, we discovered it was merely fear of failure and the need for reassurance, not a lack of ability, that caused her to give this impression. This led me to two questions—had she not been in his class, how would he have recognized her potential? How can he develop in her the confidence and independence necessary to succeed at competitive levels in academia?

CRA-W Cohort of Associate Professors

National discussions on global competitiveness often overlook the role that diversity must play: we cannot expect our nation’s IT workforce to meet its goals if we fail to fully engage most of our population in that effort. By failing to attract women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to IT, we are ceding our global position in innovation. Women make up the largest of these groups, and they are underrepresented in the workforce as a whole and at the highest ranks in particular. Women hold just 27 percent of professional computing-related positions and only 15 percent of board and executive officer positions in the top IT-related companies.