Skip to main content

UW CSE featured in article on gender diversity efforts at the University of Maryland

Ada Lovelace“Maryland is one of 15 universities participating in the Building Recruiting And Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) initiative led by the Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College.

“Harvey Mudd College, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Washington have already seen success at increasing female participation in their computer science departments …

“At UW, Ed Lazowska is now the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering and once served as the computer science department chair. Lazowska agrees that connecting with women through introductory courses is essential to raising their computer science enrollment.

“‘We find that many women discover computer science late,’ he said. ‘If they don’t take our introductory course sequence until they’re juniors, it’s too late for them to switch into CS as a major – they’re almost done’ …

“‘A great deal of our effort goes into encouraging middle school and high school teachers and students, especially women, to pursue computer science,’ Lazowska said. ‘If we can change the perception of computer science in our region, we can shift the composition of our student body’ …

“Though UW had a banner year in 2014, hiring three new female faculty members for the computer science department, Lazowska said they have experienced similar difficulties recruiting female faculty.

“‘It’s hard. There’s a lot of competition for top women, and there are always a few faculty members who can invent reasons not to hire them. A key thing to remember is that ‘excellence’ has many dimensions,’ he said …

“‘These things pay off slowly, and they pay off at different time scales. You’ve got to be in it for the long haul,’ Lazowska said. ‘There’s no ‘silver bullet,’ no magic thing that will, in and of itself, throw things into balance.'”

Read more here.  Learn about UW CSE’s K-12 outreach programs hereMiddle school and high school students and families – attend our Open House on Saturday December 6!

November 19, 2014