The Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College, famous for boosting its numbers of women majoring in computer science to around 40 percent, are working with 15 colleges across the country to get more women and underrepresented minorities into their computer science programs.
Maria Klawe, Harvey Mudd’s first female president, knows a thing or two about championing this kind of change. That’s why she’s signed Harvey Mudd up to spearhead the Building Recruiting And Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) Initiative, along with ABI CEO Telle Whitney. And Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s got their backs.
Clinton, along with daughter Chelsea, unveiled the BRAID Initiative in September at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting as part of the Girl’s CHARGE, a CGI Commitment to Action to improve learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls. This multilateral 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.
Through BRAID, 15 academic institutions’ computer science departments will implement strategies, modeled on the success of Harvey Mudd and other institutions, to make CS more accessible to women and other underrepresented groups. Strategies like expanding outreach to high school teachers and students, making intro CS courses more appealing and less intimidating, developing interdisciplinary majors and community-building. Harvey Mudd faculty will visit these schools and serve as advisors.
“The BRAID initiative is the most exciting project I’ve been involved with to expand diversity in computer science,” says Klawe. “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.”
BRAID, which will also conduct a research study on program impact, is supported by three-year funding commitments from ABI partners Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft.