CSE Diversity & Inclusion

CSE Inclusiveness Statement

Inclusion is important at UW CSE. UW CSE 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 CSE Inclusiveness Statement was written by the CSE Diversity Committee, a coalition of faculty, staff, and students from across the department. To contact the Diversity Committee, email diversity@cs.uw.edu. 

Broadening Interest and Access to Computing

Rainier Scholars participants in the computer lab
Rainier Scholars at UW CSE

CSE embraces the National Science Foundation's goals for Broadening Participation in Computing to significantly increase the number of U.S. citizens and residents who obtain degrees in computing, with an emphasis on attracting more students from communities that are under-represented in the field, including women, people with disabilities, and minorities.

CSE inspires interest in computing through a variety of programs for K-12 students and teachers, including summer camps, campus visits and tours, and educational workshops. Since 2011, we’ve hosted more than 700 students at our DawgBytes summer camps -- and half of our participants are girls. Our CS4HS workshop helps teachers from around the country incorporate CS to their curriculum. Our CSE Ambassadors are undergraduate students trained to share their enthusiasm for technology through workshops, demos, and campus visits.

We are proud to partner with local organizations that support diversity in computing, such as the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (supporting low- and moderate-income Washington residents), the UW College of Engineering STARS Program (for strong Engineering and CS students from low-income backgrounds), and Ignite! Worldwide (empowering middle and high school girls interested in technology careers).

We provide professional development and networking opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students by sponsoring travel to national conferences focused on diversity in computing, such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. At these events, students connect with and learn from computing professionals representing diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, abilities, and gender.  

Teachers at CS4HS
Teachers at the Summer 2014 CS4HS

Engaging Women in the Field

We have made great strides in encouraging more women to pursue computer science and engineering degrees and attracting leading women in the field to teach and pursue their research at UW CSE. Thirty percent of our CS bachelor’s degrees are earned by women – twice the national average for Ph.D.-granting institutions. Twenty-five percent of our Ph.D. students are women.

CSE is nationally recognized for our efforts to increase gender diversity in computing. In 2011, CSE joined the National Center for Women in Technology as a Pacesetter School committeed to attracting and retaining more women. In 2015, NCWIT recognized UW CSE's efforts with its inaugural NCWIT Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Award grand prize based on our success in recruiting and retaining women in undergraduate computer science. In granting UW CSE the award, NCWIT noted that "the University of Washington has grown an inclusive, welcoming community that spans beyond the walls of the university and has demonstrably advanced women’s meaningful participation in computing."

Our Women in Computer Science & Engineering seminar provides pre-major students with an opportunity to learn more about the tech industry and explore the contributions of women in the field. Our Women’s Research Day celebrates the work of our faculty, graduate, and undergraduate researchers, while connecting students with women conducting research in industry. CSE also hosts women’s lunches and has a very active student chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM-W) provide networking, career, and social opportunities.

We have made great strides in our effort to recruit women to the CSE faculty and to support their professional growth. Nearly half of all tenure-track junior faculty and instructors hired by CSE since 2012 are women, including rising stars who are making important contributions in computer vision, robotics, privacy and security, machine learning, natural language processing, human-computer interaction, and programming languages and software engineering.

DawgBytes summer camp participants by Drumheller Fountain
DawgBytes summer day camp for girls

Empowering People with Disabilities

UW CSE actively works to increase access to computer science education and careers for people with disabilities. The AccessComputing Alliance enables students with disabilities to successfully pursue computer science degrees by providing guidance, resources, mentoring opportunities, and funding. The Alliance also assists higher education institutions and employers to develop inclusive programs and follow best practices in recruiting and supporting students with disabilities. Alliance member and UW CSE 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 for his efforts to promote inclusion of individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard-of-hearing, blind or vision-impaired in the computing field.

Student with disability at computer
A commitment to accessibility

At UW CSE, we are proud to be known as a people-focused department and we support and abide by 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 in the departmental application process contact UW CSE directly at 206.543.1695 or the UW Disability Services Office at least 10 days in advance at 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or e-mail dso@u.washington.edu.

People and Resources Committed to Diversity & Inclusion

CSE’s work to promote to 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.

The CSE Diversity Committee is a coalition of faculty, students, and staff working on a range of efforts across the department. You can email the full committee at diversity@cs.uw.edu. The Committee includes: 

  • Raven Alexander, Assistant Director for Diversity & Outreach
  • Adam Blank, Lecturer
  • Anat Caspi, Director of the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology
  • Chloe Dolese, Academic Advisor (undergraduate program)
  • Elise Dorough, Academic Advisor Senior (PhD program)
  • Emilia Gan, Graduate Student
  • Dan Grossman, Professor
  • Eunice Jun, Graduate Student
  • Richard Ladner, Professor
  • Ed Lazowska, Professor, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair
  • Ada Lerner, Graduate Student
  • Sophie Ostlund, Operations & Events Program Manager
  • Katharina Reinecke, Professor
  • Maarten Sap, Graduate Student