The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) is committed to increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) across identity groups (including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, race, LGBTQ+ status, dis/ability) in such a way that all members of our community are safe, included, and equitably supported.
With the release of our five-year Strategic Plan in Fall 2021, the Allen School commits to a coordinated DEIA plan for the future. Prior to this Plan, existing activities were developed and implemented independently for the most part, with both duplication and gaps in coverage and no long-term plan for persistence. The Plan aims to knit together our existing DEIA efforts with new activities (where needed) into a cohesive, effective and sustainable whole.
Many members of the Allen School community – undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff – contributed to the creation of this Strategic Plan, which was also informed by the results of a school-wide climate survey, course evaluations, and participation in the national Data Buddies Survey. A smaller group of faculty and staff met over an eight-month period with an outside consultancy (led by Linda Callecod from Seraphim Consulting) to organize the amassed content into its current form as a well-structured, detailed, and actionable plan.
The Allen School’s five-year Strategic Plan for DEIA describes our Desired End State as a state in which we have significantly increased the diversity of the Allen School community while providing our community members with the opportunity to be their authentic selves in an environment that is safe, fair, equitable, accessible, and supportive. In addition, members of our community will understand the relationships between people, society, and technology, and students will be taught the skills necessary to create technologies designed for everyone. Rather than be conservative and target a desired state we knew was achievable in five years, our plan is visionary; we may not achieve this full end state in five years, but we expect to make significant progress towards it that will inform our DEIA activities and plans as we move forward.
To achieve the desired state, we adopt a three-part strategy aiming to:
- (1) increase the diversity of our community and each cross section,
- (2) improve the quality and equity of one’s experience at the Allen School, and
- (3) build the capacity of our community to produce technology that is just, equitable, and socially aware.
The Six Imperatives
In implementing our strategy, we utilize six imperatives. Each imperative is a vehicle for change, and together, these imperatives enable us to fulfill the strategy. Each imperative is further defined by a set of goals. Each goal is associated with a set of tactics or concrete activities that will be undertaken to achieve that goal, and a set of objective measurements that will enable us to assess our progress.
1. Curricula and Programs
This imperative has three elements: the first is to significantly revamp our introductory course sequence (currently CSE142/143) in order to make it more accessible and engaging to students with a range of interests and prior preparation, the second is to deploy a variety of academic supports reaching students at a number of different levels, and the third is to add education on DEIA, justice, and the societal implications of technology in a range of new and existing courses.
2. Professional Development
The first goal for this imperative is to increase awareness in all members of our community of the importance of DEIA and current mechanisms for addressing it within the Allen School, in the field of computing, and in the technology that we produce. The second goal is to raise awareness and adoption of best practices for inclusive teaching and presentations.
3. Policies and Procedures
This imperative aims to ensure that equitable, inclusive, and consistently used policies and procedures are in place for school-wide hiring, evaluation and promotion, admission, and allocation of resources and opportunities. In addition, it aims to improve procedures for reporting and responding to incidents that violate DEIA principles.
4. Internal Community Engagement & Support
This imperative will engage members of the Allen School in DEIA activities, including increased access to peer groups with a focus on better supporting diverse students/postdocs in the Allen School, mentorship programs for faculty, staff, and graduate students/postdocs, and mechanisms for participation in community celebrations and other DEIA events and activities.
This imperative will build effective pipelines for entering the Allen School as undergraduate, B.S./M.S., and Ph.D. students, faculty, and staff with a focus on increasing diversity. It will also include efforts to expand professional development opportunities for teachers in Washington who seek to bring computer science to K-12 schools across the state, and to strengthen the Allen School’s participation in and contributions to national consortia and alliances that work to improve DEIA in undergraduate and graduate programs.
6. Budget Management
This imperative aims to ensure a sufficient, persistent, and effectively managed budget that allows us to achieve our DEIA strategic goals.
Overall accountability will be ensured by the Allen School’s Associate Director for DEIA and Director for DEIA Strategy and Operations (currently Professor Yoshi Kohno and Dr. Jan Cuny, respectively). They will oversee supervisors for each goal, who will in turn ensure that the goals are being effectively implemented with appropriate measurements.