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06 October 2021

CMD-IT Receives NSF Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance Grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT an NSF Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance grant. The grant totals $2.25 million over three years, awarded to the following institutions:  the University Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Georgia Institute and Technology.

According to the current CRA Taulbee Report, only 5.3 percent of the faculty at doctorate-granting universities are from the following underrepresented communities: Black or African-American, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaska Native. Diversifying the computing professoriate is critical for providing excellent role models, shaping departmental programs and policies, and bringing diverse perspectives into research projects and programs. 

The LEAP Alliance aims to increase the diversity of leadership in the computing professoriate by intentionally bringing together four cohorts of universities, each with common strengths and a common agenda. This work builds upon the lessons learned from an initial cohort of 11 research universities who were found to produce over 50 percent of the faculty at the top 55 research institutions, according to data from Jeff Huang at Brown University. The newly funded LEAP Alliance adds three additional cohorts to further strengthen the pipeline to the computing professoriate.

“We are very excited about the expansion from the original cohort of 11 institutions to four cohorts, each with unique strengths and common areas for growth,” said CMD-IT CEO and President Valerie Taylor and PI of the grant. “Together, the four cohorts have a common goal of increasing the diversity of the CS faculty.”

Ultimately, the Alliance aims to increase the diversity of doctoral graduates from the institutions that are the top producers of computing faculty, increase the exposure of academic careers at the institutions that already have good diversity in their doctoral graduates, and increase the retention of diverse undergraduate students at the institutions who send students to graduate school that go on to be faculty.  The LEAP Alliance is focused on the following communities:   African Americans, Native Americans/Indigenous Americans, Hispanics/Latinx, and People with Disabilities.  

Cohort 1:  Original cohort of 11 institutions, who are the top producers of CS faculty.  The goal of this cohort is to increase the diversity of their PhD graduates.

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cornell University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Texas
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • University of Washington

Cohort 2:  The next group of 11 institutions, who are producers of CS faculty.  The goal of this cohort is to increase the diversity of their PhD graduates.

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Columbia University
  • Purdue University
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • University of Maryland – College Park
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Yale University

Cohort 3:   A group of 8 institutions that have a history of PhD graduates from the target communities according to IPEDs data over the past 10 years.  This cohort is focused on increasing the encouragement to pursue academic careers.

  • Syracuse University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of California – Davis
  • University of California – Santa Cruz
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Maryland – Baltimore County
  • University of North Texas

Cohort 4:  A group of 9 institutions for which many CS faculty received their undergraduate degrees.  The goal of this cohort is to work with institutions to increase the retention of their undergraduate students from our target groups.

  • Cornell University
  • Carnegie Mellon University 
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

The LEAP Alliance includes partnerships with the following organization that have significant programs focused on LEAP’s target communities:  Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing), American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Computing Research Association’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP).   The LEAP Alliance has also established partnerships with Google and Microsoft.