Message from the Director

June 21, 2018

Allen School Inclusiveness Statement

Inclusion is important at the Allen School. The Allen School is a community that celebrates and values differences among its members. We strive to create an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds. Our department is diverse in race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ability/disability, age, socioeconomic background, academic experience, veteran status, and many more dimensions than we can list here. A commitment to diversity and inclusion is a fundamental part of our mission as a public educational institution. We have an obligation to uphold these values.

This commitment to inclusion is specifically important to our work in computer science and engineering. An inclusive community allows all our students, staff, and faculty to achieve their full potential. Our diversity makes us better educators, and makes us more effective at identifying and solving important problems. As we educate new generations of scholars and engineers, our inclusion of voices from many backgrounds and identities helps us ensure that computation equitably serves all members of our society.

How are we inclusive? As leading teachers and scholars of computer science and engineering, we set an example of inclusion. It is our responsibility to acknowledge and counteract the historical inequities in our field. Our community takes concrete actions, such as the following, to work towards an actively inclusive environment:

  • We reduce bias in admissions and hiring to build a diverse community of students, staff, researchers, and faculty;
  • We build inclusive pedagogy and policies to create an excellent and welcoming atmosphere in which all students can learn; 
  • We broaden participation in computing through outreach to underrepresented communities; 
  • We consider many perspectives and stakeholders in the research questions we ask and the methods we use to answer them; 
  • We insist on a robust and professional intellectual environment where debate and diverse views can be expressed vigorously and free of personal attacks; 
  • We value, support, and reward people who work for inclusiveness; and
  • We act together as citizens of our university, discipline, industry, and world to spread inclusiveness beyond our walls. 
The Inclusiveness Statement was written by the Allen School Diversity Committee, a coalition of faculty, staff, and students from across the school. To contact the Diversity Committee, email diversity@cs.uw.edu. 

Making Good on Our Commitment

The Allen School’s work to broaden participation and promote diversity and inclusion includes the investment of resources and the efforts of many individuals and groups. Faculty, staff, and students incorporate this mission into their teaching, research, and work. Collaboration with other UW offices and external organizations are crucial to our success. Investment from donors and industry partners support our efforts. Below, we highlight two areas where we have made significant investment over many years, and seen progress: supporting women and people with disabilities. For a comprehensive overview of our work in many other areas, see our Latest Initiatives and Ongoing Activities.

Engaging Women in the Field

We have made great strides in encouraging more women to pursue computer science and engineering. One-third of our CS bachelor’s degrees are now earned by women (twice the national average!) and twenty-five percent of our Ph.D. students are women. Our progress has earned national recognition for our work to increase gender diversity. In 2011, we became an NCWIT Pacesetter School, and in 2015 we earned the inaugural NCWIT NEXT Award grand prize for our success in recruiting and retaining women in undergraduate computer science by growing "an inclusive, welcoming community that spans beyond the walls of the university and has demonstrably advanced women’s meaningful participation in computing." We are also one of four Beacon schools in the Building Recruiting and Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) Program, co-led by AnitaB.org and Harvey Mudd College — model institutions that have been successful at increasing the diversity of their undergraduate computing programs.

We have made great strides in our effort to recruit and support women faculty members. Nearly half of tenure-track junior faculty and instructors hired since 2012 are women, including rising stars in computer vision, robotics, privacy and security, machine learning, natural language processing, human-computer interaction, and programming languages and software engineering.

Nonetheless, we know that women in computing continue to endure experiences that challenge their place and success in our field. We work actively to counter such experiences, both in the Allen School and more broadly, while acknowledging that we have more work to do. We are proud of the women in our community who give voice to these challenges and shine a light on where more progress is needed. This September 2018 Seattle Times feature is a particularly remarkable collection of perspectives from six members of our community. See also Allen School Director Hank Levy's statements reaffirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Empowering People with Disabilities

The Allen School actively works to increase access to CS education and careers for people with disabilities. The AccessComputing Alliance enables students with disabilities to pursue computer science degrees by providing guidance, resources, mentoring opportunities, and funding. The Alliance assists higher education institutions and employers to develop inclusive programs and follow best practices in recruiting and supporting students with disabilities. Alliance member and Allen School professor Richard Ladner has received numerous awards in recognition of his leadership on accessibility, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

We are proud to align our culture with the University of Washington's diversity statement and commitment to accessibility:

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities.

To request disability accommodation, contact us at 206.543.1695 or the UW Disability Services Office at 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or e-mail dso@u.washington.edu. Please reach out at least 10 days in advance of requested accommodations.