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 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

The Allen School embraces the National Science Foundation's goals for Broadening Participation in Computing to increase the number of people who obtain computing degrees, with an emphasis on attracting more students from underrepresented communities, including women, people with disabilities, and minorities.

Our K-12 outreach programs inspire interest in technology through summer camps, workshops for students and teachers, and events to engage K-12 students. Since 2012, our summer camps have serves more than 900 students; half of participants are girls. Our CS4HS workshop helps teachers incorporate CS to their curriculum. Allen School Ambassadors share their enthusiasm for technology through workshops, demos, and campus visits.

We are proud to partner with organizations to support diversity in computing, such as the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (supporting low- and moderate-income Washington residents in STEM), the College of Engineering STARS Program (for strong Engineering and CS students from low-income backgrounds), and Ignite! Worldwide (empowering K-12 girls in technology). 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. One-third of our CS bachelor’s degrees are now earned by women (twice the national average!) and twenty-five percent of our PhD students are women.

The Allen School is nationally recognized for our work increasing 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. They 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 CSE seminar provides students an opportunity to learn about the tech industry and explore the contributions of women in the field. Women’s Research Day celebrates the work of our faculty and student researchers, and connects students with women conducting research in industry. We also hosts women’s lunches and teas to foster community, and have an active student chapter of ACM-W.

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.

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

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.

Student with disability at computer
A commitment to accessibility

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 accomodations.

People and Resources Committed to Diversity & Inclusion

The Allen School’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 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, Faculty
  • Lauren Bricker, Faculty
  • Anat Caspi, Director of the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology
  • Chloe Dolese, Academic Adviser (undergraduate program)
  • Elise Dorough, Graduate Program Adviser (PhD program)
  • Emilia Gan, Graduate Student
  • Eunice Jun, Graduate Student
  • Richard Ladner, Faculty
  • Ed Lazowska, Faculty, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair
  • Jennifer Mankoff, Faculty
  • Katharina Reinecke, Faculty
  • Maarten Sap, Graduate Student