Resources

The following resources may be helpful to you writing Individual and Departmental BPC Plans.

Resources for Selecting BPC Activities

Departments should aim to deepen, improve or expand their BPC activities and data collection each year. The following categories may serve as a resource for guiding that work.

Student and Faculty Retention: Retention is an important focus for BPC work. The following five categories can drive effective retention efforts.

  • Curriculum and Pedagogy: Monitor and improve curriculum and pedagogy. (Resources are available for Curriculum and Pedagogy.
  • Building Community: Provide funding for affinity groups to build community among students or faculty who are underrepresented in computing. (Resources are available for Building Community.)
  • Data: Track data related to student or faculty retention. (Resources are available for Data and Evaluation.)
  • Departmental Policy: Monitor and improve institution policies that may have a negative impact on students or faculty who are underrepresented in computing. (Resources are available for Improving Departmental Policies.)
  • BPC Education: Create opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to learn about BPC. (Resources are available for BPC Education.)

Outreach and Recruiting: Departments can contribute to the national goals for BPC through outreach to K-12 students or community members. Additionally, departments can recruit students and faculty to their department who are underrepresented in computing:

  • Outreach to K-12: Engage in activities that serve K-12 students who are underrepresented in computing regardless of whether or not the students will matriculate at your institution. (Resources are available for K-12 Outreach.)
  • Outreach to K-12 Teachers and Schools: Engage in activities that serve K-12 teachers that are teaching students who are underrepresented in computing regardless of whether or not the students will matriculate at your institution. Work with high-school counselors who play an important role in helping students select classes and opt into high-school CS classes when available (Resources are available for Outreach to K-12 Teachers and Schools.)
  • Outreach to K-12 Policy Makers: Engage with state-level stakeholders and policy makers to update teacher certification policies or other policies related to BPC at the K-12 level (Resources are available for Outreach to K-12 Policy Makers.)
  • Recruit underrepresented students: Recruit potential graduate students, high school students or community college students  to attend your institution or recruit undeclared majors from your institution to declare a computing major or take computing courses. (Resources are available for Recruiting Students.)
  • Expand opportunities for research: Recruit and/or mentor students who are underrepresented in computing. (Resources are available for Expanding Research Opportunities.)

 

Resources for Data and Evaluation

Data is essential for motivating your proposed activities and evaluating the impact of your activities at achieving desired outcomes. Data can be collected directly from BPC activity participants, from the institution, region, or field. This page has resources for compiling publicly available data, recommendations for compiling participation data from the department, and collecting data to guide improvements or expansion of BPC activities.

Publicly Available Data

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Students at your institution: BPCnet provides a tool that aggregates data for your institution from the US Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The tool includes your institution’s degree recipients and demographics of the institution, state, and national levels for easy comparison and inclusion in an Individual or Departmental BPC Plan. https://bpcnet.org/statistics
  • K-12 Students: The US Department of Education maintains the Common Core of Data (CCD), which provides demographic data for K-12 education. Individuals can download customized data tables (https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/elsi/), but a table is available that provides the demographic data for demographics of K-12 student enrollments by state.
  • Industry, Academia and K-12: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) provides an annual report “Scorecard: The Status of Women in Computing” (www.ncwit.org/scorecard), which has aggregated and visualized national datasets related to K-12, academia, and industry.

Additional data compilations: 

  • Graduate Students: The Computing Research Association (CRA.org) collects and reports data regarding computing PhD students and faculty in the annual Taulbee survey.
  • Undergraduate Students: The ACM collects and reports data from a Survey of Non-doctoral-granting Academic Departments in Computing (https://www.acm.org/education/ndc-study)

Institutional Data of Participation and Performance

Departments should aim to track changes in participation across groups at their institution. Departments may begin collecting these data without corresponding activities. Partnering with offices of Institutional Research may be both necessary and beneficial. The categories below may not be applicable to every institution and other categories may be relevant at some institutions. Departments may benefit by collecting, tracking, and reporting the following demographic data annually:

  • Faculty (by rank),
  • PhD students (enrolled, degree recipients),
  • MS students (enrolled, degree recipients),
  • BA/BS students in a computing major (enrolled, degree recipients),
  • Computing minors (enrolled, degree recipients),
  • Introductory students (CS1, CS2, CS3), and
  • Students earning a D or F, or withdrawing from particular computing courses (typically called DFW rates)

Consider focusing on identifying retention problems because points with low retention likely warrant additional data collection and intervention. Additionally, improving retention magnifies the impact of recruiting efforts.

Disaggregating data when possible can help identify specific opportunities for BPC activities. Departments may benefit from disaggregating data by:

  • race/ethnicity,
  • gender,
  • disability,
  • economically disadvantaged or first-generation college status (i.e, no parent/guardian with a 4-year college degree), and
  • intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, disability, economically disadvantaged, and/or first-generation college status.

Note: Only race/ethnicity, gender, and disability are included in the NSF definition of underrepresentation (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2020/nsf20011/nsf20011.jsp#q3) and all BPC activities need to focus on people who are underrepresented in computing because of these dimensions of their identity. The ACM has recommendations for designing survey questions related to sex/gender (https://interactions.acm.org/archive/view/july-august-2019/how-to-do-better-with-gender-on-surveys).

Evaluation Data: Data to Guide Improvements or Expansion of BPC Activities

Collecting feedback from department members (faculty, staff, and students) is a best practice that can help identify opportunities for BPC activities. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or providing specific processes for department members to provide feedback. Example surveys are available for various purposes as described below; inventing survey questions can be challenging because survey questions may be misinterpreted.

 

  • Surveying students in the department
    • Data Buddies Survey: The Computing Research Association (CRA.org) provides a free survey administered every fall, which provides departments a report of their student responses compared to the responses of students from similar institutions as well as breakdown of their data by gender and race/ethnicity.
    • Student Experience of the Major: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) provides a free survey that departments can customize and administer to their students.
  • Collecting basic data about ongoing activities
    • Tracing approximate participation data for BPC activities can help identify opportunities for improving or expanding BPC activities. For example, if an ACM-W chapter had two well attended events, it may be helpful to support the ACM-W chapter in hosting additional events. Similarly, if an ACM-W chapter had few attendees at their events, a departmental plan could focus on strategies to increase attendance at ACM-W events.
  • Evaluating ongoing activities
  • Evaluating the success of your recruiting activities
    • Pre-Post Survey for Outreach Programs: The National Center for Women and  Information Technology (NCWIT.org) provides a free set of surveys to use before and after students participate in an outreach program.
    • Entry Survey: The National Center for Women and  Information Technology (NCWIT.org) provides a free survey that departments can customize to identify the impact and reach of their recruiting activities among their current students.

Resources for Curriculum and Pedagogy

Research has shown that improving curriculum and pedagogy in CS courses can benefit all students and provide additional benefits to students who are underrepresented in CS.

Pedagogy: Pedagogy describes the teaching methods. Active learning, a general best practice, describes practices where students engage in discussion or problem solving in class rather than simply listening to lectures. A meta-analysis of 225 STEM education research studies compared active learning to lecture-only courses (Freeman, et al., 2014). This analysis discovered that the lecture-only sections had lower exam scores (6% or 0.47 SD) and students were 1.5 times more likely to fail. Follow-on work compared performance between minoritized groups (i.e., students underrepresented in STEM because of their race or ethnicity and low-income students) and non-minoritized groups on exams (15 studies; 9,238 total students) and pass-rates (26 studies; 44,606 total students). This comparison determined: “On average, active learning reduced achievement gaps in exam scores and passing rates. Active learning benefits all students but offers disproportionate benefits for individuals from underrepresented groups.” (Theobald, et al., 2020). Specific resources for improving pedagogy to adopt best practices include:

Curriculum: The following strategies do not change the learning outcomes or rigor within the curriculum. These strategies use best practices to make curriculum effective for all students and also specifically contribute to BPC. Small and large changes to curriculum can have a big impact on students’ experience and are an important strategy for addressing demographic differences in retention rates or rates of students receiving a D or F or withdrawing from a class (known as DFW rates).

  • Revise Homework Assignments: Strategies for small, impactful changes to homework assignments to highlight how and why students are learning course content, which have been show to most benefit students who are underrepresented on college campuses and first-generation college students (i.e., students without a parent or guardian who has completed a 4-year college degree).
  • Adopt peer-reviewed homework assignments: The Engage CS Edu project hosts peer-reviewed homework assignments for use in CS0, CS1, Data Structures, and Discrete Math. The posted assignments have been reviewed by experts in BPC to ensure they apply best practices for BPC.
  • Revise introductory sequence: If introductory courses assume prior CS knowledge, consider creating a path into the major for students who did not have an opportunity to learn CS. Students who are underrepresented in CS because of race or ethnicity are less likely to have access to a CS course at their high school (Scott, et al., 2017). In addition, more men than women have taken an AP CS class in high school (Lim & Lewis, 2020).

 

Resources for Building Community

Building community is important to give students a sense of belonging and promote persistence in computing.

Support Affinity Groups and Peer Mentoring

Groups such as a Women in Computing (WIC) group are frequently referred to as “affinity groups.” Activities could include supporting or creating affinity groups. 

  • Creating and Sustaining Affinity Groups: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) has a resource with advice and pitfalls to avoid to ensure the success of your affinity groups. 
  • Partnering with Existing Affinity Groups: PIs could identify affinity groups on their campus to identify ways in which the PIs could partner with the student group. Many of the conferences listed below also provide support for student chapters at colleges and universities.
  • Creating Peer-Mentor Programs: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) has a resource for creating a peer-mentoring program for graduate students.

Host a Regional Women in CS Conference

The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) has created a guide for hosting a regional Women in CS conference (www.ncwit.org/rcwicbox).  Additionally, there may be existing Regional Women In CS conferences that welcome participation from additional organizers (https://acmwnorthamerica.acm.org/).

Fund Travel to Diversity Focused Conferences

Conferences focused on diversity in computing can be an opportunity for students to create community both with other students from their own institution and the wider computing community. They can also provide the opportunity for students to connect with role models.

Some relevant national conferences are:

 

Resources for Improving Departmental Policies

Departmental policies and practices can sometimes have a disparate impact on students who are underrepresented in computing. The resources below augment other resources that are available for improving Curriculum and Pedagogy.

Policies for undergraduate students

  • Revise the introductory sequence: If introductory courses assume prior CS knowledge, consider creating a path into the major for students who did not have an opportunity to learn CS. Students who are underrepresented in CS because of the race or ethnicity are less likely to have access to a CS course at their high school (Scott, et al., 2017). In addition, more men than women have taken an AP CS class in high school (Lim & Lewis, 2020)
  • Recruit and hire TAs who are committed to inclusivity: Departments can improve policies for recruiting and hiring TAs, following the model at University of Michigan (Kamil, Juett, & DeOrio, 2019). For example, TA applicants can submit an essay about how they will apply inclusive teaching practices as a TA and a 5-minute teaching video.
  • Modify major admissions criteria to avoid competition and requirement of HS experience: Competitive major admissions policies in a department predict a lower sense of belonging among first year students (Nguyen & Lewis, 2020). Departments can follow the model at the University of California, San Diego (https://cse.ucsd.edu/undergraduate/cse-capped-admissions-program), which seeks to reduce competition and avoid using high school access to CS to select CS majors because high school experience in CS is unequally distributed by race, class, and gender (Scott, et al., 2017).

Policies for graduate students

Policies for faculty hiring and evaluation

 

Resources for BPC Education

To create an inclusive computing community, a BPC plan can prepare faculty, staff, and students to understand the importance of BPC and best practices for BPC. Proposed BPC activities could involve one of the following educational resources.

  • Institution resources: Many institutions offer resources for faculty, staff, and students to learn about diversity and inclusion. Such resources are likely applicable to BPC and therefore are an effective resource for BPC education. A BPC Plan might include intentions to attend existing events or host learning opportunities within the department.
  • NCWIT Explanation of BPC: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) provides an articulation of why BPC is important and an explanation of vocabulary relevant to BPC. The articulation of the importance of BPC can be helpful to include in a BPC Plan.
  • NCWIT Self-Paced Course: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) provides an online (~30 hour) course “Introduction to Diversifying Undergraduate Computing Programs” for faculty to learn about BPC.

Activities should also be explicit about who will participate in the BPC education. For example, BPC education could occur annually at

  • A faculty meeting,
  • Onboarding of new researchers to a research team, or
  • Training of teaching assistants.

 

Resources for K-12 Outreach

The following resources are relevant for serving K-12 students who are underrepresented in computing regardless of whether or not the students will matriculate at your institution. Related resources exist for Recruiting Students to your institution or working with Teachers and Schools or K-12 Policy Makers

  • Institution resources: Many institutions have existing K-12 outreach initiatives with which PI(s) could partner. It is important, however, to ensure that any proposed activity explicitly focuses on BPC. 
  • Local Non-Profits: PI(s) could  partner with a local nonprofit that serves K-12 students who are underrepresented in computing. The CSforAll Consortium (https://www.csforall.org/) has a member directory, which may help PI(s) identify additional local partners for K-12 outreach focused on BPC. The Connectory (https://theconnectory.org/),  a project of the National Girls Collaborative, provides a similar directory of volunteer opportunities. 
  • Advice, templates, and sample outreach materials:  The National Center for Women and Information Technology (http://NCWIT.org) provides a resource for colleges and universities interested in doing K-12 focused on BPC. 
  • Student-Led Outreach Network: The STARS Computing Corps is a program at dozens of institutions to broaden participation in computing through student-led outreach. 

Engaging in K-12 outreach is most impactful when PI(s) have experience working with K-12 students or are partnering with someone with K-12 expertise. Reminder: BPC activities, including K-12 outreach, do not need to relate to the content of the research proposal. 

 

Resources for Outreach to K-12 Teachers and Schools

The following resources are relevant for working with K-12 teachers and schools who serve students who are underrepresented in computing regardless of whether or not the students will matriculate at your institution. Related resources exist for Recruiting Students to your institution or working with K-12 Students or K-12 Policy Makers.

  • Encourage K-12 teachers to promote the Aspirations in Computing program: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) has a network of colleges and universities that host an award ceremony for high school women who are interested in computing (https://www.aspirations.org/).
  • Host a workshop about inclusive teaching for educators: The Tapestry Workshop Project  (http://www.cs.virginia.edu/tapestry/) offers workshops for K-12 CS teachers to share research-based best practices for inclusive teaching and recruiting.

Work with high school guidance counselors: The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT.org) has resources for helping high-school guidance counselors (Counselors for Computing; C4C) contribute to BPC at the high-school level.

 

Resources for Outreach to K-12 Policy Makers

While there are national resources with recommendations for K-12 CS education (k12cs.org), policy governing K-12 CS education occurs primarily at the state-level.  BPC plans may engage with state-level stakeholders and policy makers to update teacher certification policies or other policies related to BPC at the K-12 level.

 

Resources for Recruiting Students

The following resources focus on recruiting prospective undergraduate and graduate students. Related resources for Expanding Research Opportunities can also play an important role in recruiting prospective graduate students.

Prospective Undergraduate Students: 

Prospective Graduate Students: 

 

Resources for Expanding Research Opportunities

Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REUs) students who are underrepresented in computing are a long-term strategy for BPC among graduate students and faculty. Additionally, REU experiences can be a recruiting tool for graduate programs and help students gain important skills and mentorship that can be helpful to them in pursuing a computing degree. Research has shown that REU experiences can increase students’ confidence and their interest in pursuing a PhD (Russell et al., 2007).

 

Resources for Writing BPC Goals

BPC goals articulate the intended outcome of activities and provide a specific date by which that outcome will be reached. BPC goals identify the underrepresented group that is a focus of the activity. Resources are available for Selecting BPC Activities, which subdivides activities into the following hierarchy. An example BPC Goal is provided for each.

Example Goals – Student and Faculty Retention: 

  • Curriculum and Pedagogy: (Resources are available for Curriculum and Pedagogy.)
    • Faculty teaching CS1 will use active learning in half of the class sessions in the fall of YEAR and all of the class sessions in the spring of YEAR. The rate of students who are underrepresented in computing receiving a D or F or withdrawing from CS1 (known as DFW rates) will drop from X% to Y%.
    • Beginning in YEAR, all faculty will identify changes they have made in their teaching to improve student outcomes and/or expand the use of effective pedagogical strategies that have been shown to have a positive impact for students underrepresented in computing.
    • By YEAR, all 85% of faculty will have attended an inclusive pedagogy or transparent teaching training session offered by the teaching and learning center.
  • Community: (Resources are available for Building Community.)
    • By YEAR, at least 80% of all student subgroups (e.g. women and  students who are underrepresented in computing) will report being satisfied with the computing program on the annual Data Buddies survey.
    • By fall YEAR, leaders in our Black student group and ACM-W chapter will report having sufficient departmental funding for their activities. At least 80% of these chapter leaders will report that department leadership values their contributions to the department.
    • Beginning in YEAR, the department will offer a one week summer bridge program to serve 30 students who express interest in CS and who are from a group underrepresented in computing. The program will replicate the model at UC Berkeley (https://cs-kickstart.berkeley.edu/).
    • By YEAR, all affinity groups will select two faculty advisors who will provide annual reports to the department about the activities of the affinity group. At least 80% of affinity group members will report a favorable opinion of faculty participation
    • By YEAR, results on our annual climate survey will have improved by X% for students who identify as underrepresented in computing.
  • Data: (Resources are available for Data and Evaluation.)
    • By YEAR, we will analyze data from the previous 5 years to identify if there are 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.
    • Every semester, beginning in the fall of YEAR, the department chair or associate department chair will meet with leaders from our National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter, our ACM-W chapter, and our Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES) chapter. These meetings will serve as focus groups to help identify new opportunities for providing departmental support to students to BPC.
    • By YEAR, our annual Data Buddies survey participation will increase from 10% (~80 students) of undergraduate students to 30%.
  • Departmental Policy: (Resources are available for Improving Departmental Policies.)
    • Beginning in YEAR, new undergraduate 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 no longer require a faculty reference, but will be an open and well publicized application process (based upon Kamil, Juett, & DeOrio, 2019).
    • Beginning in YEAR, our process for selecting CS majors will adopt holistic admissions practices that value contributions to the department and overcoming adversity.
    • Beginning in YEAR, faculty applicants will be required to submit a statement describing their commitment to diversity and inclusion. A rubric will be used to evaluate these written statements.
    • Beginning in YEAR, faculty will be required to report their personal BPC plans and activities in their annual reports and their outcomes will be included in promotion and tenure evaluations.
    • Beginning in YEAR, all new undergraduate and graduate TAs will be required to complete inclusive tutoring training prior to beginning work.
    • Beginning in YEAR, the department will participate in an annual climate survey and devote one faculty meeting each year to discussing its results.
    • Beginning in YEAR, all hiring committees will include a designated member from outside the department who will help the committee ensure that all practices for inclusive faculty hiring are followed.
    • Beginning in YEAR, all P&T and hiring committees will include a designated member whose role is to help committee members consider the role of implicit bias for faculty of color and women faculty.
  • BPC Education: (Resources are available for BPC Education.)
    • By YEAR, 80% of our faculty will have completed the University’s ally training workshop and all our graduating PhD students pursuing faculty positions will have had their diversity and inclusion statement reviewed by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
    • By YEAR, all graduate and undergraduate TAs will have completed the required readings about inclusive teaching practices and share with the teaching team for their class (and the department TA coordinator)  the three most relevant practices that they will emphasize applying during the semester as TA.
    • Beginning YEAR, the Graduate Student Association will be given time at the department faculty meeting to present the results of their annual graduate student wellness survey with data disaggregated by demographics when sample sizes are sufficient.
    • Beginning in YEAR, three faculty meetings per term will include a 10 minute discussion of an important topic from the NCWIT description of BPC (https://www.ncwit.org/blog/why-does-broadening-participation-computing-matter-and-what-can-you-do-help).

Example Goals – Outreach and Recruiting: 

  • Outreach to K-12: (Resources are available for K-12 Outreach.)
    • The department will coordinate student volunteers to aid teachers in offering the Hour of Code in December of YEAR and at least 80% of the classrooms will be at schools with a majority of students who are underrepresented in computing because of their race.
    • The department will host two meetings to bring together state-level policy makers, nonprofits focused on BPC, district leaders, education policy faculty members, and a selection of K-12 CS teachers. The result of these meetings will be a set of recommendations for policy makers.
  • Outreach to K-12 Teachers and Schools: (Resources are available for Outreach to K-12 Teachers and Schools.)
    • The department will fund 10 teachers in the region who teach at Title 1 schools to attend a Bootstrap World teacher training www.bootstrapworld.org/
    • By YEAR, the department will establish a regular schedule of having students and faculty visit area schools to support computing each year. All participating students and faculty will be trained on using best practices for BPC.
  • Outreach to K-12 Policy Makers: (Resources are available for Outreach to K-12 Policy Makers.)
    • In the summer of YEAR, the department will host a state summit for K-12 education policy. This event will host at least 5 attendees from each group: K-12 teachers, school district officials, high school counselors, faculty from the department, and state-level education representatives.
    • Once a year, the department will host high school counselors or administrators for a Counselors for Computing workshop
      https://www.ncwit.org/project/counselors-computing-c4c and each workshop will serve at least 10 participants.
  • Recruit underrepresented students: (Resources are available for Recruiting Students.)
    • In the spring of YEAR, a faculty member or current student will attempt to contact all high school or community college transfer students who have been offered admission to the CS major and are underrepresented in computing.
    • Over the next year, the department will organize three meetings with CS faculty at two local community colleges to improve matriculation agreements. After two years, these matriculation agreements will be fully ratified.
    • After admission acceptances have been sent but before the acceptance deadline, the department will host and feed various student affinity groups in a call event calling accepted students in their demographic group, answering their questions, and encouraging them to matriculate to the department.
    • Beginning in YEAR, the department will establish a process and budget for ongoing undergraduate students visiting area high schools with high under-represented populations and encouraging them to attend college in computing.
  • Expand opportunities for research: (Resources are available for Expanding Research Opportunities.)
    • Each of the next three summers, at least four faculty in the department will host a student from the DREU program or AccessComputing REU program.
    • Over the next 2 years, the department will fund 15 to 20 trips for graduate and undergraduate researchers who are underrepresented in computing to present their work at a diversity focused conference, which may include our regional WiC conference, the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing conference, and Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
    • Over the next 3 years, two department faculty will visit the same area minority-serving institution each semester to make connections with faculty and students to encourage students to pursue opportunities within the department (e.g. REUs, graduate programs, speaker series).
    • Working with the development office, the department will run an alumni giving campaign to establish a scholarship for underrepresented students studying computing to engage in paid undergraduate research and/or to cover travel and registration expenses to attend research conferences.