Example Activities to Use in BPC Plans
Ongoing, not one-time, BPC activities that are within the institution, not external outreach, tend to be most impactful and align with recommendations from the NSF CISE BPC initiative. BPC plans and activities do not need to be novel. The example activities below can be included in any BPC plan. They are presented in a form suitable for a Departmental BPC Plan. For a Project BPC Plan, additional details such as the specific role of each PI engaged in the activity will be needed.
When included in a Departmental BPC Plan, example activities will need to be edited in the following ways:
- Remove text and links in (parentheses). These contain information to help you understand the activity, and should not be included in a Departmental BPC Plan, which cannot contain links.
- Replace text in [brackets]. These are placeholders for information specific to your context. For example [COMMUNITIES] refers to any of the underrepresented populations in computing identified in the NSF CISE BPC initiative and [COMMUNITIES – RACE/ETHNICITY] for specifically the racial and ethnic groups identified in the NSF BPC initiative; these should be replaced following the guidance on our page on Referring to Communities Underrepresented in Computing.
- Remove icons. To facilitate plan writing for departments in states that prohibit some types of BPC wording, we mark activities that do not directly refer to gender, race, and/or ethnicity with a “⊚”. These icons are informative only and should not be included in a plan.
The Checklist for Departmental BPC Plans includes rubric items that activities in a Departmental BPC Plan must meet after completing the edits.
- Introductory Sequence: Faculty make changes to the introductory course sequence to better support students with less background in CS, which includes a disproportionately large number of [students from COMMUNITIES], [in the following ways (pick one or more): providing multiple paths, allowing skipping to avoid miscalibration instruction to students with experience, teaching basics instead of assuming prior exposure]. (See evidence of participation gaps: Kapor center, Lim & Lewis)
- Active Learning: Faculty adopt active learning in their courses, which has been shown to most benefit [students from COMMUNITIES]. (See evidence; Learn more about Engagement practices; Interactive lecture – Peer instruction; Structured collaboration – POGIL)
- Equitable Assignments: Faculty revise homework assignments to make them transparent, which has been shown to most benefit [students from COMMUNITIES – RACE/ETHNICITY] and first-generation college students. (Learn more)
- ⊚ Inclusive Assignments: Faculty adopt peer-reviewed homework assignments from Engage CS Edu, which are designed with best practices for BPC. (Learn more: Engage CS Edu, BPC Best practices)
- Teaching Audit: Faculty assess the equity of their own teaching using Wiseman & Gilbert’s Teaching Practices Inventory to identify changes that would better support [students from COMMUNITIES], and then implement those changes. (Learn More)
- ⊚ Accessibility Checklist: Faculty apply the Accessibility Checklist created by AccessComputing: “Equal Access: Universal Design of Computing Departments” and take action to address gaps in accessibility. (Learn more)
- ⊚ Content Accessibility: To improve course accessibility, faculty will ensure that all course materials (a) have alt text for figures, (b) are usable with a screen reader or tool to adjust font size, (c) use high-contrast and color-blind-accessible colors, (d) have accurate captions/transcripts (which are shown in class if relevant), (e) have multiple ways of requesting accommodations or report issues of access. (Learn more)
- ⊚ Access Computing Communities of Practice: Faculty join Access Computing Communities of Practice to learn about integrating accessibility into their courses and creating an inclusive computing community for people with disabilities. (Learn more)
- ⊚ Universal Design for Learning (UDL): To increase the accessibility of course materials, faculty will attend their university’s Universal Design for Learning (UDL) workshop and add ten UDL components to their course. (Learn more)
- TA Hiring: Faculty will revise TA hiring to use practices that have been shown to be more inclusive for [students from COMMUNITIES] in a 2019 SIGCSE paper by Kamil, Juett, and DeOrio. TA applicants will submit an essay about how they will apply inclusive teaching practices as a TA and a 5-minute teaching video. TA applications will be well-publicized and no longer require a faculty reference. (Learn more)
- ⊚ TA Training: All new undergraduate and graduate TAs are required to complete inclusive teaching training prior to beginning work. Faculty help organize and teach in these trainings using [curriculum known to be effective in training TAs in inclusive teaching, such as a curriculum from the university’s teaching center, a published inclusive TAing course, etc]. (Learn more about a climate-first approach, Mt Holyoke’s training, UVA’s training)
- ⊚ Inclusive Teaching Reading Group: Faculty will select a book about inclusive teaching practices that the teaching staff (faculty and TAs) will read and discuss. TAs and faculty will share with the teaching team for their class the three most relevant practices that they will emphasize applying during the semester in the course. (Example book: Inclusive Teaching)
- Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers: Faculty use best practices for inclusive mentoring when hosting [students from COMMUNITIES] through the CRA’s Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. (Learn more: CRA’s program, inclusive mentoring practices, research showing how REUs can help BPC, developing an REU program resource from CRA and NCWIT)
- ⊚ Faculty Mentoring: Faculty with responsibilities as mentors and peer evaluators of other faculty will adopt the University of Michigan’s Advance Project’s recommendations on inclusive faculty mentoring and evaluation. (Learn more)
- Undergraduate Research Workshop: Faculty host a [full day or multi-day] research workshop for [undergraduates from COMMUNITIES] to encourage their interest in pursuing a PhD. (Learn more: funding from Google, example programs: Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University, Bloomington, and University of Washington, Seattle)
- ⊚ Inclusive Mentoring Reading Group: Faculty will select a book about inclusive mentoring practices and will recruit interested students and faculty to read and discuss. Participants will share with the three most relevant practices that they will emphasize applying during the semester. (Example book: The Science of Effective Mentoring in STEMM, Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students)
- Faculty Affinity Group Mentors: Faculty advise affinity groups including [list groups, such as NSBE, SACNAS, SWE, ACM-W, NSBC, etc] and are responsible for ensuring the group has (a) sufficient funding and other administrative support, (b) a voice in department decisions, (c) mechanisms for providing feedback, and (d) mechanisms for visibility and member recruiting. (Learn more)
- Peer Mentoring: Faculty will create and provide ongoing support to sustain a peer-mentoring program for [undergraduate/graduate] students, which has been shown to help all students learn and engage, with particularly large benefits for [students from COMMUNITIES]. (Learn more)
- Summer Bridge Program: The department offers a one week summer bridge program to serve incoming undergraduate students who express interest in CS with the goal of creating an inclusive community for [students from COMMUNITIES]. Faculty meet with students, give guest lectures, and provide logistical support. (See example programs: UC Berkeley, UMich, Pitt, CUNY, ETH Zürich)
- Host Regional Affinity CS Conferences: Faculty will [host, or join a team that regularly hosts] a regional [COMMUNITY] in CS conference. (NCWIT’s regional Women in CS conferences; see also a list of ACM-W regional conferences)
- BPC-Focused Conferences: Faculty will secure funding for student attendance at a BPC-focussed conference and attend with the students. (Learn more; see also a list of conferences)
- ⊚ Faculty Review Student Demographics: Every year at a department meeting, faculty share data on the representation among undergraduate and graduate student graduates from the institution in comparison to peer institutions and regional K-12 schools. (Learn more: University-specific graduation data, annual compilation of comparison data from NCWIT, Taulbee, ACM NDC, K-12 demographic data, workforce data)
- External Climate Survey: Faculty coordinate student participation in the Data Buddies Survey and disseminate insights about the experiences of [students from COMMUNITIES] from the survey. (Learn more)
- Self-Run Climate Survey: Faculty collect survey data from students using the NCWIT Student Experience of the Major survey and disseminate insights about the experiences of [students from COMMUNITIES] from the survey. (Learn more)
- ⊚ Measure Impact of Other BPC Activities: Faculty collect and analyze data about BPC activities [list BPC activity identifiers from this plan] using best practices for evaluation to help measure and improve the effectiveness of department BPC activities. (Learn more: (a) The 2010 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation, (b) SRI Online Evaluation Resource Library, (c) NCWIT Catalog of Evaluation Tools, (d) NCWIT Learning about Evaluation, (e) gove Catalog of Evaluation Instruments)
- Analyze Student Performance: Faculty analyze data from the previous [N] years to identify if there are persistence gaps in the program by gender or race/ethnicity. This includes analyzing (1) rates for CS1 earning a D, F, or withdrawing from the course, (2) attrition rates after CS1, and (3) attrition rates after CS2.
- Departmental Data Analysis: To better monitor our BPC metrics, faculty will track department representation by race/ethnicity, gender, and intersections of these for [pick several of these: faculty (by rank), PhD students enrolled, PhD degree recipients, MS students enrolled, MS degree recipients, BA/BS students enrolled, BA/BS student degree recipients, computing minors enrolled, computing minor degree recipients, CS1 students, CS2 students, CS3 students, students earning a D or F, or withdrawing from a particular computing course].
- ⊚ Measure Rates of Accommodation: Faculty work with the institution’s office of accessibility to monitor representation of students with accommodations (as a proxy for the representation of students with disabilities)
- Student Advocacy and Feedback: [Student group] will be given time at the department faculty meeting to present the results of their annual wellness survey with data disaggregated by demographics when sample sizes are sufficient. A faculty member is responsible for developing and guiding the implementation of an action plan with the students and administrators.
- BPC Training of Instructors: Faculty [and TAs, if appropriate] will engage in training on BPC using one or more of the following: an NCWIT self-paced online course, [list additional events from your institution’s diversity/equity/inclusion office]. (Learn more)
- Join BPC Committee: Faculty serve on the standing departmental and campus diversity committees to help coordinate and evaluate departmental and campus BPC activities. Each faculty on the committees is assigned a specific role or activity.
- ⊚ BPC Speakers in Faculty Meetings: Faculty will organize a speaker series to address BPC in one faculty meeting each semester. (Learn more: og, Robertson, University of Michigan)
- ⊚ Faculty Meeting BPC Discussions: Three faculty meetings per term will include a 10-minute faculty-led discussion of a topic from the NCWIT description of BPC. (Learn more)
- Inclusive Terminology Learning: Faculty lead groups to work through the discussion questions and brief videos about gender, disability, race, ethnicity, and intersectionality in the NCWIT resource “Learning About Intersectionality: Videos That Spark Conversations.” (Learn more)
- BPC Fundraising: Faculty work with the development office to run an alumni giving campaign to establish [a fund with a clear BPC purpose; for example, a scholarship for [students from COMMUNITIES] studying computing to engage in paid undergraduate research or to cover travel and registration expenses to attend research conferences].
- Equitable Faculty Practices: Faculty on the appropriate committees will adopt best practices in equitable faculty recruiting, mentoring, evaluation, and promotion from the University of Michigan’s Advance Project. (Learn more: recruiting, retention, mentoring, annual evaluation, tenure evaluations)
- ⊚ Grad Policy Audit: Faculty will perform an assessment of graduate student policies from an inclusivity standpoint following NCWIT ES-Grad’s assessment model and implement any policy changes that assessment recommends. (Learn more)
- ⊚ Inclusive Hiring: Faculty on hiring committees will adopt practices for inclusive faculty hiring discussed in the “Tips for Conducting Inclusive Faculty Searches” from NCWIT. (Learn more)
- Major Selection Policy: Faculty will revise how students apply for and are accepted into computing majors to remove competition and be less dependent on pre-college experiences, both of which are known to suffer from implicit biases and thus disadvantage [students from COMMUNITIES]. (Learn more; See evidence of pre-college participation gaps: Kapor center, Lim & Lewis)
- Faculty Application DEI Statement: Faculty applicants are required to submit a statement describing their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Faculty use a rubric to evaluate these statements. A faculty is responsible for training faculty on hiring committees to apply a rubric to evaluate these statements. A faculty is responsible for ensuring that an applicant’s knowledge of and commitment to diversity and inclusion is included in all discussions of the candidate. (Example rubrics from UC Berkeley, Cornell, Vanderbilt)
- Require DEI for Promotion: Faculty will draft and seek adoption of new policies requiring all faculty to report their personal BPC plans and activities in their annual reports and requiring that activity outcomes are included in promotion and tenure evaluations. (Learn more)
- Inclusivity Consultant on Hiring/P&T Committees: Faculty will draft and seek adoption of new policies requiring all hiring and promotion/tenure committees to include a designated member from outside the department who will help the committee ensure that all practices for inclusive faculty hiring are followed as well as facilitate discussions about how implicit bias may shape the committee members’ evaluations. (Learn more)
- Inclusive Mentoring Training: Faculty will train all faculty mentors in the department on best practice in mentoring; studies of various workplaces suggest that [people from COMMUNITIES] often receive less informal mentoring than others and benefit particularly from formal mentoring. (Learn more: general advice, new faculty)
- External Faculty Mentors: Faculty will recruit external mentors for new [faculty from COMMUNITIES], which is designed to amplify faculty success through expanded opportunities and visibility for their work. (Learn more)
- Fund PD for Faculty: To ensure that faculty and graduate [students from COMMUNITIES] can participate in relevant professional development, faculty advertise these opportunities and work with department leadership to provide funding. (Learn more: CMD-IT workshops, CRA workshops, and bootcamp and coaching)
- ⊚ Mitigate Bias in Teaching Evaluation: Faculty will lead a discussion in a faculty meeting about biases in teaching evaluations and how the department will mitigate the impact of those biases on faculty annual evaluations and promotion. (Chávez & Mitchell; public annotated bibliography)
- ⊚ Reduce Bias in Service Burden: Faculty will collect data on differences in departmental service obligations based upon faculty members’ race, ethnicity, and gender. Faculty will work with department leadership to address disproportionate service burdens. (Learn more)
- Undergraduate Recruiting Workbook: Faculty work through the Undergraduate Recruiting Workbook from NCWIT to recruit women to the undergraduate major. (Learn more)
- ⊚ PhD Program NCWIT Extension Services: Faculty work with a consultant from the NCWIT Extension Services for Graduate Program to broaden participation in the PhD program[s]. (Learn more)
- Faculty Contact Admitted Students: Faculty work with current students to contact students who have been offered admission to the [computing program name] and are from [COMMUNITIES].
- Students Contact Admitted Students: After admission acceptances have been sent but before the acceptance deadline, faculty will host and feed students from [list BPC-related student affinity groups, such as NSBE, SACNAS, SWE, ACM-W, NSBC, etc] in a call event calling accepted students in their demographic group, answering their questions, and encouraging them to matriculate to the department.
- Community College Pipeline: Faculty meet to improve the pipeline for [students from COMMUNITIES] from community college by working through an applicable NCWIT workbook. (Learn more)
- Visit Minority Serving Institutions: Faculty will visit the same area minority-serving institution (MSI) each semester for multiple years to make connections with faculty and encourage students to pursue opportunities within the department (e.g. REUs, graduate programs, speaker series)
- Matriculation Agreements: The department will organize meetings with CS faculty at regional community colleges that serve a high percentage of [students from COMMUNITIES] to revise matriculation agreements. The faculty will track transfer rates for [students from COMMUNITIES] from these community colleges. (Learn more about Community College graduation data from IPEDS)
Outreach to K-12
- Partner with Nonprofit: Faculty will partner with [specific local nonprofit] that provides computing education and support for K-12 [students from COMMUNITIES]. (Find regional BPC-focused non-profits: CSforAll, The Connectory)
- ⊚ Students join STARS: Faculty will recruit students to participate in BPC-focused K-12 outreach through the STARS Computing Corps and will engage with those students throughout their activities. (Learn more)
- NCWIT Aspirations in Computing: Faculty will contribute to the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program to encourage girls and women to pursue CS through [reviewing applications in our existing Aspirations program OR volunteering in another Aspirations program with the goal of starting a program at [University]]. (Learn more)
- Host Hour of Code: Faculty will coordinate student volunteers to aid teachers in offering the Hour of Code in December each year and at least 80% of the classrooms will be at schools with a majority of [students from COMMUNITIES – RACE/ETHNICITY] and/or where disabled students are a majority.
- ⊚ NCWIT Counselors for Computing: The department hosts high school (HS) counselors or administrators for a NCWIT Counselors for Computing workshop to help HS counselors support BPC efforts at their school. (Learn more)
- Support for Outreach: Faculty will draft and seek adoption of a new process and budget for ongoing undergraduate students visiting area high schools serving primarily [students from COMMUNITIES] and encouraging them to pursue computing in college.
- Local K-12 Outreach: Faculty will actively participate in [specific K-12 outreach program at your institution], an outreach program that helps [students from COMMUNITIES] -or- students from school x, which has y% [students from COMMUNITIES – RACE/ETHNICITY]] to [learn computing -or- develop an interest in computing].
- ⊚ State Policy Advocacy: Faculty participate in an existing working group advocating for K-12 CS educational equity in the state. The department will host a state summit for K-12 education policy with the goal of broadening participation in K-12 computing. (See if your state has a working group as part of Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP))
- School Visits: Students and faculty visit area schools [that have X% [students from COMMUNITIES]] to support computing each year. All participating students and faculty will be trained on using best practices for BPC. (Learn more about best practices and K-12 demographics by state. Note: Most BPC-related outreach activities will focus on contexts where [students from COMMUNITIES] are overrepresented. In contexts where [students from COMMUNITIES] are proportionally represented, the activity should describe why the activity is likely to encourage participation and interest for [students from COMMUNITIES].)