The following list describes new activities and policies the Allen School has initiated within the past year or two to increase support for diversity and inclusion in our community. The list builds upon the many activities we were already doing and continue to do. We've heard from many members of the Allen School community about ways in which we can continue to improve our culture and practices. The work described below incorporates the priorities and best ideas of many committed students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to seek out ways to support our diverse community and build an inclusive program that others will be inspired to emulate. While it is difficult to describe some of these initiatives concisely, we want to keep our community informed of what we are working on.

Resources & Educational Opportunities

  • A new opt-in email list for undergraduates who identify as a member of an underrepresented group to share opportunities and resources available to students who identify with groups that are underrepresented in tech.
  • The Allen School Inclusive Community workshop will be offered to more of our community members, including teaching assistants (TAs) and staff. This workshop has been reviewed, revised, and reorganized, with input from multiple sources, including the Allen School Faculty Executive Committee, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and the Allen School Student Advisory Council. We will also evaluate the workshop, gathering input from our 200+ past attendees, and continue to make improvements based on this feedback and on current best practices.
  • Periodic anti-harassment trainings for faculty and academic student employees (ASEs), with participation strongly encouraged.
  • A list of best practices for inclusive courses, designed for Allen School faculty and TAs. This list is developed by faculty, our Diversity Committee, and our Student Advisory Council.
  • Extended our existing system for students to send instructors anonymous feedback in two directions: Enable students to copy members of the School leadership and/or student services staff, and extend access to the anonymous-feedback tool to TAs.
  • Significantly expanded support for the College of Engineering's STARS program. A STARS course on computational thinking, persistence, and much more doubled in size this year to include 30 students, the majority of whom are interested in pursuing a CSE degree. The class, taught by CSE faculty member Lauren Bricker, is in its third year.
  • A new speaker series aimed at undergraduates that will discuss life and career skills, covering topics such as communication, personal finance, and others not part of the conventional curriculum. The series launched in Winter Quarter, and is intended to provide students with “real-world” insights that will help them to succeed and advance long after graduation.
  • Expanded our annual Celebration of Diversity in Computing, previously an event focused on women in tech, to incorporate diversity more broadly. This event welcomes students, faculty, and alumni, and highlights our contributions to both the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.

Policies & Procedures

  • Revised protocols for the School’s mandatory email lists to ensure that these lists are used in a way that promotes a healthy, appropriate, and welcoming work environment for all members of those lists.
  • Allen School faculty searches now request a statement from all applicants about how they would contribute toward our mission with respect to diversity, in line with changes introduced across the College of Engineering.
  • A new working group of senior faculty to review our 100-level courses. Their charge is to look at our 100-level courses and where we might like them to be in the future given enormous changes in computing technology, in teaching methods, and in student demand over the last decade. This encompasses curriculum, organization, programming language and environment, teaching methods and techniques, new devices, etc., as well as ensuring that our gateway courses are attractive and welcoming to the broadest group of students.
  • Expanding our Direct Admission pathway to admit more computer science students earlier, and better support them throughout their full time at the UW. This includes developing student programming for Direct Admits in their first year, including a revamped and expanded Direct Admit seminar.
  • Evaluating our transfer admission process to make it more holistic, to enroll the best students from a variety of backgrounds.

Understanding Our Community & Fostering Ongoing Dialogue

  • Surveying our student populations on an ongoing basis to assess our current climate and to determine what inequities might exist among student experiences, which we will use to guide future policies and programming. [in progress]
  • A report from our Diversity Committee on diversity and inclusion in the Allen School, to internally communicate current data, identify areas for improvement, and establish a baseline for future evaluations. [in progress]
  • A weekly meeting of the Allen School Deputy Director with a group of graduate students to discuss specific efforts to cultivate an inclusive environment and to identify areas where we can improve.
  • Planning moderated discussions related to inclusion and culture, to allow for better communication of concerns and ideas across the School.
  • Hosted “Below the Waterline: A Presentation on the NASEM Report on Sexual Harassment” by Professor Sharona E. Gordon, with participation from Allen School faculty, staff, and students.

Supporting the Broader CS Community

  • Hosted a three-day OurCS workshop for CS undergraduate women with disabilities, to promote engagement in research.
  • Offering expanded opportunities for K-12 teachers to learn about computer science and effectively incorporate it into their classroom teaching, to ensure broader access to CS for K-12 students.
  • Our partnership with WA state high schools through the "UW in the High School" program continues to expand outside the Puget Sound region, particularly with several schools now interested in CSE 120, our CS Principles course, complementing continued interest in CSE 142.

Supporting Student-led Efforts:

  • Students established Q++, a new student organization supporting LGBTQ students in the Allen School.
  • Our ACM student organization introduced a Big/Little mentoring program to help new majors connect with more senior students.
  • Our K-12 Ambassadors are better incorporating volunteers into their work, broadening their impact.
  • We’ve increased student conference participation at the Tapia and Grace Hopper celebrations, and we’re sending students to oSTEM and Afrotech for the first time this year.

To learn more about our efforts to broaden participation in computing and build an inclusive community, visit our main Diversity & Inclusion page, and also see our comprehensive list of other ongoing activities.