Revising the Computer Science Major program to increase the participation of underrepresented groups

Project Team

  • Patricia Lasserre, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science (Lead Applicant)
  • Bowen Hui, Associate Professor of Teaching and Associate Head Undergraduate, Computer Science, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science
  • Ifeoma Adaji, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science
  • Pourang Irani, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science
  • Gema Rodríguez-Pérez, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science


Themes

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Professional Skills and Competencies
  • Program Development and Transformation

Year

2022


About the Project

Despite efforts to change the trends, stereotypes reinforced by media and movies as well as western culture continue to affect women and underrepresented groups’ participation in computer science. We propose to increase their representation in the computer science major by redesigning the program to integrate diversity and inclusion strategies including focusing on core competencies. Focusing on core competencies would provide flexibility for integrating professional and cultural training in the curriculum, for addressing current societal issues and for displaying the breadth of the field through a wider selection of electives, removing the stereotypes associated with the discipline, such as, ‘computer science is only about programming’. Additionally, computer science is a constantly changing field that requires frequent adaptation of the curriculum to remain current with growing trends. To incorporate technical and professional skills in demand by industry and government, we will implement a framework that automates the process of identifying key trends (by mining job advertisement sites, outreach with alumni and through current industrial partnerships) and to keep in touch on the pulse of the ever-changing computing landscape.

Awarded in the 2022 Program Development and Redesign Stream