News, Press Releases

The Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College Launch Initiative to Increase the Diversity in Computer Science Undergraduate Majors at 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

“BRAID” Will Work with Fifteen CS Departments to Increase the Percentage of Their Undergraduate Majors That Are Female and Students of Color

CLAREMONT, Calif. and PALO ALTO, Calif. — September 24, 2014 – The Anita Borg Institute, (ABI) a non-profit organization focused on advancing women in computing, and Harvey Mudd College announced today the Building Recruiting And Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) initiative to work with computer science departments at 15 universities across the United States to increase the percentage of their undergraduate majors that are female and students of color. The BRAID initiative was announced today by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her address at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, as part of the Girl’s CHARGE, a CGI Commitment to Action comprised of 30 companies, civil society organizations, multilaterals and governments to improve learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls. This collective effort, CHARGE – Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education – has raised over $600 million dollars to reach fourteen million girls over five years. BRAID is supported by three-year funding commitments from Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft. Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd, and Telle Whitney, president and CEO of ABI, will lead the BRAID initiative.

“Undergraduate computer science departments across the country are interested in attracting women and underrepresented minorities to their programs,” said Whitney. “Leveraging the experiences of successful programs like those at Harvey Mudd College provides an attractive path to redesigning their programs. BRAID is designed to jump start their efforts and document the results to identify best practices that consistently yield results.”

Under BRAID, the 15 academic institutions’ computer science departments have committed to implementing a number of approaches that have demonstrated success at Harvey Mudd and other institutions. These approaches include expanding outreach to high school teachers and students, modifying introductory CS courses to make them more appealing and less intimidating to students from underrepresented groups, building community among underrepresented students, and developing joint majors in areas like CS and biology to encourage interdisciplinary approaches. Participating universities will provide data for a research study documenting the progress made across departments. Professor Linda Sax, GSEIS, UCLA, will lead the research study on the program’s implementation. In addition, each of the departments will receive $30,000 per year for three years to help support their efforts.

The undergraduate computer science programs participating are:

Arizona State University

Missouri University of Science & Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology

University of California – Irvine

University of Illinois – Chicago

University of Maryland – Baltimore County

University of Maryland – College Park

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

University of North Texas

University of Rochester

University of South Carolina

University of Texas – El Paso

University of Vermont

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Villanova University

Over the past eight years, Harvey Mudd College’s computer science department worked diligently to increase enrollment of female and minority students in undergraduate courses. Today, Harvey Mudd’s computer science undergraduate majors are roughly 40 percent women. Computer Science faculty from Harvey Mudd will visit participating departments to give advice and feedback.

“The BRAID initiative is the most exciting project I’ve been involved with to expand diversity in computer science,” said Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College. “I’m thrilled by how enthusiastic department chairs have been about taking on this initiative to change their culture in a way that will make it more inclusive to underrepresented groups, including women and minorities. It’s also inspirational to see how quickly the four companies stepped up to fund the initiative and the research study on effective educational practices.”

Each participating university will be encouraged to send underrepresented students and computer science faculty to the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and to the biannual Tapia Conference.

BRAID is a joint initiative led by the Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College launched with the hope of extending it for a further three years if sufficient progress is made. Departments not already doing so will be encouraged to use the extension services offered by NCWIT and NCWIT also will receive funding from the project.

To facilitate and expand the work of CHARGE, No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project – a Clinton Foundation initiative led by Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton – will commit to convene the collaborative, track progress, and enable outreach to future partners. Last year at CGI, Secretary Clinton announced the launch of No Ceilings with a call to fulfill the unfinished business of the 21st century, and make an evidence-based case for the full participation of women and girls around the globe. As No Ceilings evaluates data on the status of women and girls over the last 20 years, it’s evident that ensuring equal and adequate education for girls, through secondary school and beyond, is essential for improving the health, stability, and prosperity of communities and countries around the world.

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About Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College is the premier liberal arts college specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The College’s mission is to prepare engineers, scientists and mathematicians to become leaders in their fields and understand the impact of their work on society. Students learn to problem-solve in a hands-on, collaborative environment; do research alongside outstanding faculty; and develop leadership skills to benefit an increasingly technological world. Located in Claremont, Calif., Harvey Mudd College is a member of The Claremont Colleges Consortium.

About the Anita Borg Institute (ABI)

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI) connects, inspires, and guides women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Founded in 1997 by computer scientist Anita Borg, our reach extends to more than 54 countries. We believe technology innovation powers the global economy, and that women are crucial to building technology the world needs. As a social enterprise, we recognize women making positive contributions, and advise organizations on how to improve performance by building more inclusive teams. ABI partners include: Cisco, Google, HP, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, CA Technologies, Dell, Dropbox, eBay, Facebook, First Republic Bank, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Juniper Networks, National Science Foundation, NetApp, SAP, Symantec, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Amazon, Bank of America, EMC, GoDaddy, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, Nationwide, Neustar, Rackspace, Salesforce.com, VentureLoop, Viacom, VMware, and Yahoo! The Anita Borg Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. For more information, visit anitaborg.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,100 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

For more Information, contact:

Kate Carey
New Venture Communications
kcarey@newventurecom.com
650-814-3088

Judy Augsburger

Harvey Mudd College

jaugsburger@hmc.edu

909-607-071