Writing BPC Goals

Each BPC Plan must identify one or more goals that each activity is intended to help achieve. Refer to the Departmental BPC Plan Checklist and Standalone Project BPC Plan Checklist for more details. The advice on this page should help satisfy both checklists.

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Four Common Goal Patterns

Most goals in Verified Departmental BPC Plans use one of the following four patterns.

In our examples we use [students from COMMUNITIES] as a placeholder for the community names; Advice is available for Referring to Communities Underrepresented in Computing. For ongoing activities, “by [YEAR]” may be replaced with a frequency such as “every year.”


Pattern 1: By [YEAR] [NUMBER] will improve from [CURRENT VALUE] to [NEW VALUE].

  • Example 1a: The rate of [students from COMMUNITIES] receiving a D or F or withdrawing from CS1 (known as DFW rates) will drop from [X]% to [Y]%.
  • Example 1b: By [YEAR], our annual climate survey participation will increase from [X]% (~[Y] students) of [students from COMMUNITIES] to [Z]%.

Pattern 2: Measure and improve [NUMBER] by [YEAR].

  • Example 2a: By [YEAR], we will analyze data from the previous 5 years to identify any gaps between men and women’s persistence in the program, which will include (1) rates for CS1 earning a D, F, or withdrawing from the course, (2) attrition rates after CS1, and (3) attrition rates after CS2.
  • Example 2b: We will measure and improve the retention rate for [students from COMMUNITIES] in each of our required classes each year.

Pattern 3: [X]% of [COMMUNITY] will do [ACTIVITY] by [YEAR].

  • Example 3a: By [YEAR], [X]% of faculty will have attended an inclusive pedagogy training session offered by [the institution’s teaching and learning center].
  • Example 3b: Each year, faculty will host [NUMBER] lunches in partnership with affinity groups for students in [GROUPS].

Pattern 4: Do [ACTIVITY] by [YEAR].

  • Example 4a: By [YEAR], [List of BPC-focussed affinity groups] will select two faculty advisors who will provide annual reports to the department about the activities of their affinity group.
  • Example 4b: Beginning in [YEAR], all faculty will identify changes they have made in their teaching to improve outcomes of [students from COMMUNITIES] and/or expand the use of effective pedagogical strategies that have been shown to have a positive impact for [students from COMMUNITIES].

Common Goal Topics

Most goals align with one of the following common BPC goal topics. Goals often specify both a topic and an audience, such as faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, or an audience external to the department. Each goal should have one or more supporting activities, such as those listed in the Example Activities. 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.

  • Accessibility: Accessibility refers to removing barriers, particularly those related to disability and neurodivergence.
  • Awareness: BPC awareness refers to educating members of the department about BPC challenges, opportunities, and best practices. 
  • Bandwidth: BPC bandwidth refers to the resources and incentives to engage meaningfully in BPC work.
  • Belonging: A sense of belonging refers to individuals feeling part of the computing community and welcome and safe in computing spaces. For BPC, we are particularly interested in the sense of belonging of members of communities historically underrepresented in computing.
  • Influence: Equity of influence refers to improving the distribution of power, which otherwise tends to aggregate in the hands of the historical majority. 
  • Opportunity: Equity of opportunity refers to ensuring that systems that select duties, admissions, and awards distribute them fairly to all people. It combats both implicit bias, which tends to steer opportunities to members of the historical majority, and tokenism, which tends to place more responsibilities on members of historically underrepresented communities.
  • Performance: Equity of performance refers to grades, awards, and job performance evaluations. Inequities in performance can arise for many reasons, such as implicit bias, biased assessments, differential rates of application, and culturally-dependent instruction.
  • Representation: Equitable representation refers to having members of historically underrepresented communities in computing participate in ratios that match their proportion in the broader population. Supportive representation refers to having members of each historically underrepresented community in computing participate in large enough numbers that they are not alone and can support one another.

SMART Goal Requirement

As indicated in the Departmental BPC Plan Checklist, all goals in a Departmental BPC Plan must be worded as SMART goals: 

  • Specific in what you plan to do or change;
  • Measurable so you can tell if you achieved the goals;
  • Achievable given the resources available in your context;
  • Measurable so you can tell if you achieved the goals;
  • Time-bounded in its scope, indicating a frequency or deadline.