NSF funds FLIP Alliance to diversify CS professoriate #CSEdWeek

December 7, 2017 at 7:00 am 5 comments

This is an exciting new project from Valerie Taylor (University of Chicago), Charles Isbell (Georgia Tech), and Jeffrey Forbes (Duke University). It’s based on an observation that Charles has made before, that we can diversify CS faculty by impacting just a handful of schools.

The goal of the NSF-funded FLIP (Diversifying Future Leadership in the Professoriate) Alliance is to address the broadening participation challenge of increasing the diversity of the future leadership in the professoriate in computing at research universities as a way to achieve diversity across the field.  In particular, the problem that we address is stark and straightforward: only 4.3% of the current tenure-track faculty in computing at these universities are from underrepresented groups.

The FLIP Alliance solution is equally stark and straightforward: we intentionally bring together the very small number of departments responsible for producing the majority of the professoriate with individuals and organizations that understand how to recruit, retain, and develop students from underrepresented groups in order to create a network that can quickly and radically change the demographic diversity of the professoriate across the entire field.

from CMD-IT FLIP Alliance

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US National Academics Report Investigates the Growth of CS Undergraduate Enrollments #CSEdWeek Advancing Computational Thinking Across K-12 Education, across Many Disciplines – Digital Promise #CSEdWeek

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bonnie  |  December 7, 2017 at 7:31 am

    I would suggest these schools also consider working with the undergrad institutions that have lots of undergrad CS majors from underrepresented groups (and not just the usual suspects – everyone works with Howard and Morehouse). At my school, we graduate a lot of black and Hispanic CS majors, and some of them clearly should be heading to graduate school. But they are unsure of their options, can’t tell the difference between research oriented and non-research oriented graduate programs, and are very concerned about finances. I hear similar things from colleagues at other less well known, minority serving institutions. Outreach from the major graduate programs would be very helpful.

    • 2. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  December 7, 2017 at 8:42 am

      Many of the University of California campuses are now Hispanic Serving Institutions (more than 25% Hispanic students) and are graduating a fair number of Hispanic CS and engineering students. It may be necessary to do more than outreach, though, as many of these students have accumulated debt just to get through undergrad education and accumulating more debt as MS students is not attractive (nor is delaying having enough income to repay debt for another 6 years to get a PhD).

      • 3. Mark Guzdial  |  December 7, 2017 at 8:45 am

        It’s worth noting that PhD students at the top 10 CS institutions don’t pay for their MS or PhD.

        • 4. Bonnie  |  December 7, 2017 at 1:51 pm

          Yes, but our students don’t know that! When I talk to them, they don’t really believe me. They don’t believe they can even aspire to that type of institution. Many of them have family obligations and don’t want to leave the NYC area. Many of them feel they need to start making money ASAP. Usually what happens is that they go into industry, and then 2 years later, I get an email requesting recommendations for grad programs – always the part-time evening programs that the employers will pay for. Going fulltime to a research institution is beyond their world view, even for the very top students. It will take outreach by the research oriented graduate programs, outreach to the schools where these students are actually at, rather than outreach to the tiny number at the mainly white elite undergrad schools, to make a dent in the problem.

          And of course, depending on which version of the tax cut bill passes, it may no longer be feasible for students to take the TA/RA route to fund their graduate education.

  • 5. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  December 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    MS students (even in CS) are treated as cash cows at most US universities, so telling students that MS students don’t pay at afew elite institutions is highly misleading. In fact, I don’t believe that UCB (one of the top 10 certainly) guarantees that MS students will be funded. Sure, most can get TAships, but that is a gamble that someone with a lot of debt relative to family income is not willing to take.


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