Current Program

LEAP Alliance (formerly FLIP Alliance)

Presenter from iCode teaching a coding session

ANNOUNCEMENT: From FLIP the Script to LEAPing Forward

The goal of the Diversifying LEAdership in the Professoriate (LEAP) Alliance, formerly Diversifying Future Leadership in the Professoriate (FLIP) Alliance, is to address the broadening participation challenge of increasing the diversity of the future leadership in the professoriate in computing at research universities as a way to achieve diversity across the field. The Alliance targets doctoral students from the following communities: African Americans, Latinx/Hispanics, Native Americans, and People with Disabilities. 

The problem that we address is stark and straightforward: less than 5% of current tenure-track faculty in computing at research universities are from underrepresented groups. The solution is equally stark and straightforward: we intentionally bring together a very small number of departments responsible for producing the majority of the professoriate with individuals and organizations that understand how to recruit, retain, and develop students from underrepresented groups in order to create a network that can quickly and radically change the demographic diversity of the professoriate across the entire field.

The challenge is important to address because diverse faculty contributes to academia in a number of critical ways:

  • Serve as excellent role models for a diverse student body.
  • Bring diverse backgrounds to the student programs and policies developed by the department. It is recognized that faculty generally set such policies and programs.
  • Bring diverse perspectives to the research projects and programs.

Further, key national leadership roles, such as serving on national committees that impact the field of computing, often come from research universities.

The LEAP Alliance consists of LEAP Advocates at the following institutions, which were found to be the largest producers of computer science faculty at research universities [based upon the analysis by Jeff Huang]:

  • 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

The LEAP Alliance was launched with funding from an NSF INCLUDES demonstration grant, HRD-1806229, 2017 through 2020.  This grant provided the funding to demonstrate the effectiveness of strategies focused on recruiting and admission of diverse doctoral students at LEAP institutions.  Currently, the LEAP Alliance is funded by a grant from the Sloan Foundation, awarded in 2019.  With this grant, the LEAP Alliance is focused on matriculation, retention to graduation, and professional development, in addition to recruiting and admission.  The principal investigators on the Sloan grant are Valerie Taylor (University of Chicago) and Charles Isbell (Georgia Tech); Stafford Hood and Denice Hood, at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, are senior personnel overseeing the evaluation of the alliance.  The LEAP Alliance also received funding from Google for Dissertation Fellowships in 2020, to fund the last year of the doctoral studies.

For questions regarding the LEAP Alliance, please send us a message by selecting “LEAP Alliance” for the subject on our contact us page.