We’ll see you at SIGCSE 2020. #NCWITOntheRoad

Computer science educators, researchers, and other experts will gather on March 11-14 in Portland, Oregon for the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) Technical Symposium 2020. NCWIT will be among them to share new ideas to develop, implement, and/or evaluate computing programs, curricula, and courses for students in computing at all levels of instruction.

Follow NCWIT on Twitter for live updates and recommended resources, using #NCWITOnTheRoad. And, catch additional conversation by following @SIGCSE_TS and #SIGCSE2020.

Where Can You Find NCWIT?

(Note: All times and locations are subject to change. Please verify logistics at the conference.)



  • New Educators Wednesday Roundtable // Wednesday, March 11, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST // Location: Room B115

    A successful career as a college or university computer science (CS) educator involves more than a deep understanding of a research area. Yet, many new CS educators experience relatively little educator training — and face more questions than answers. For example: What career-path choices do CS educators pursue? How do I find an institution or career path that is right for me? How can I balance teaching, research, service, and a life beyond all those things? What are the balancing acts involved in working effectively with colleagues and managing the advancement and tenure process? What tips could help me organize a course, scaffold engaging experiences, and build lasting relationships with students?

    The New Educators Wednesday Roundtable is designed to assist aspiring and early-career educators in exploring the non-research facets of an academic career. Experienced faculty from a variety of career paths and institution types will share their experiences and best practices. Through small-group discussions, attendees will focus on questions and concerns relevant to their situations — and will widen their cohort of colleagues at similar stages of their career.

    Application and more details are available at: https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~zdodds/NEWR2020/.

    NCWIT Senior Research Scientist Lecia Barker will present as a part of this workshop, along with NCWIT Academic Alliance Member Representatives Cyntia Lee, Darakhshan Mir, Mia Minnes, Colleen Lewis, and Zachary Dodds. 

  • Developing Department Plans for Broadening Participation in Computing for NSF Grants // Wednesday, March 11, 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. PST // Location: Room B118

    In the U.S., the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) is rolling out a requirement that many NSF grants include a Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) plan (www.nsf.gov/cise/bpc/). This workshop will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about the new requirement, review example individual and department BPC plans, and develop a draft BPC plan for an individual grant proposal or for the department. Bringing the community together to work towards BPC has the potential to drive important institutional change across computing departments in the U.S. Faculty who attend this session will be a resource for their department.

    Registration and more information available at http://tinyurl.com/SIGCSE2020BPCplans.

    NCWIT Director of Extension Services Sherri Sanders will present as a part of this workshop, along with NCWIT Academic Alliance Member Representatives Colleen Lewis, Mary Hall, Nancy Amato, and Tracy Camp.



Leading Conversations about Microaggressions, Bias, and Other Difficult Topics // Wednesday, March 11, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. PST // Location: Room B115

Have you ever frozen — not knowing what to say — when you heard a comment or question about diversity? Do you want to learn to facilitate an activity that can help you and your colleagues practice responding to bias? Join us! We will play a research-based game to practice recognizing and responding to bias. The game invites players to respond to challenging scenarios related to subtle bias. Each scenario appears on a card, and players discuss how they would respond. You’ll get to play the game and learn about strategies for sharing the game with a few faculty, with your students, or in a larger workshop. Bringing these skills back to your colleagues is an important way to disseminate and scale strategies for creating more inclusive CS classrooms. There are no prerequisites for this workshop and attendees will receive copies of the game to continue to learn and share with others.

This workshop is presented by NCWIT Director of Evaluation and Senior Research Scientist Wendy DuBow and NCWIT Director of Research Catherine Ashcraft along with NCWIT Academic Alliance Member Representatives Colleen Lewis, Kyla McMullen, and Helen Hu.


Birds of a Feather (BOF)

Broadening Participation in Computing: The Critical Role of Community Colleges // Thursday, March 12, 5:30 to 6:20 p.m. PST // Location: Room D135

By 2026, the number of computing-related job openings in the U.S. are expected to reach 3.5 million. Yet, even with an enrollment booming in many four-year college computing programs, institutions of higher education have been unable to produce enough graduates to meet this growing demand. In addition, women and racial/ethnic minority students continue to be underrepresented in computing majors — further reducing the potential computing workforce. Community colleges, because of their mission to serve their local communities, tend to have more diverse student populations. Yet, to date, they have not been considered a critical partner in the conversation on broadening participation in computing (BPC). 

Universities and community colleges need to work more collaboratively to bridge the workforce and diversity gaps. In this BOF, participants will discuss strategies and resources for community colleges to participate more fully in the BPC community. Topics may include pathways from community colleges to four-year computing programs, improving institutional culture to support advancement, providing role models so that students are encouraged to see themselves in computing, and strategies to recruit, retain, and motivate diverse students.

NCWIT Senior Research Scientist and EngageCSEdu Director Beth Quinn will present as a part of this workshop, along with NCWIT Academic Alliance Member Representatives Amardeep Kahlon, Lynne Grewe, Lisa Sandoval, and Deborah Boisvert.



  • Faculty Adoption of CS Education Innovations: Exploring Continued Use // Friday, March 13, 10:45 to 11:10 a.m. PST // Location: Room C120

    Studies on faculty adoption typically focus on the awareness and trial stages: how instructors find out about a new teaching practice and why they decide to try it. While this knowledge is important, reform is unlikely to occur if innovations are only used experimentally; we need to understand why faculty sustain their use. To that end, this study draws on data from a two-phase project in the U.S. to examine why computer science (CS) faculty continue or discontinue use of a practice after the initial trial. In this paper, we briefly discuss qualitative results, and then use quantitative data to model what impact the following factors have on sustaining use: achieved benefits for students’ performance and their satisfaction in CS, the perception of usefulness to the instructor, student feedback, and ease of use. We also explore why faculty abandon a practice, finding that the decision often relates to not achieving desired outcomes and, in some cases, students not making a good faith effort to do their part. Implications for encouraging sustained usage of innovative teaching techniques are discussed.

    presented by NCWIT Social Scientists Lecia Barker and Christopher Hovey

  • Applying NCWIT Protocol to Broaden Participation in Computing: A Case Study of CS@Mines // Friday, March 13, 10:45 to 11:10 a.m. PST // Location: Room D135

    The Department of Computer Science (CS@Mines) at Colorado School of Mines (Mines) was founded in 2016 when the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (CS) split into separate departments. As a result, CS faculty, who had worked for years to broaden participation in computing without departmental lead- ership support, were able to become more strategic in their efforts. CS@Mines faculty, staff, and students now engage in well-defined recruitment, retention, and evaluation strategies, which includes K-12 outreach programs, flexible CS major and minor tracks, a near-peer mentoring program, scholarship programs, and continual evaluation.

    Ten years ago, the CS degree program at Mines had 157 majors, 17 women (10.8 percent), and 12 students from underrepresented groups in computing (7.6  percent). As of Fall 2019, CS@Mines has 679 majors, 146 women (21.5 percent), and 132 students from underrep- resented groups (20.2 percent). Although the concentrated effort focused on increasing the number of women majors, the data clearly shows an increase in students from underrepresented groups as well.  The changes achieved by CS@Mines are noteworthy, considering: only 30 percent of the students at Mines are women, only 17 percent of the students at Mines are from underrepresented groups in computing, and women and underrepresented groups enrolled in undergraduate CS programs are predominantly not at parity with their respective populations in the United States.

    CS@Mines achieved positive results by applying the Undergraduate Systemic Change Model, developed by tNCWIT. In this paper, we present CS@Mines as a case study for positive change and discuss the strategies CS@Mines has enacted (74 of the recommended 81).

    presented by NCWIT Extension Services Consultant Michelle Slattery and NCWIT Academic Alliance Member Representatives Tracy Camp and Christine Liebe

  • Linking Faculty Attitudes to Pedagogical Choices: Student-Centered Teaching in Introductory Computing Classes // Friday, March 13, 11:35 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PST // Location: Room C120

    Research suggests using student-centered practices in the classroom is a key component of attracting and retaining diverse students. To better understand the link between attitudes toward students and learning, and the usage of specific teaching strategies, we analyze survey responses from 54 faculty who teach introductory computer science (CS) courses from 15 U.S. colleges and universities participating in BRAID. We examine differences by certain faculty characteristics and discuss the ramifications of these results for promoting more widespread adoption of student-centered teaching.

    presented by NCWIT Social Scientist Christopher Hovey and colleagues



NCWIT Reception // Friday, March 13, 2020, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. PST // Location: Oregon Ballroom 201

The NCWIT Academic Alliance will host a reception sponsored by Microsoft Research at SIGCSE. NCWIT invites faculty members of higher education institutions to attend. Both current NCWIT Alliance member representatives and those interested in joining NCWIT are welcome. Drinks and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.



BPC Alliance: Booth Number 308

Be sure to stop by the BPC Alliance booth if you are interested in broadening participation in computing. In addition to NCWIT, representatives from AccessComputing, Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC), CRA-WP, Cyber Sleuth Science Lab, Early Research Scholars Program (ERSP), Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS), iAAMCS, Lighthouse, ScratchEncore, and STARS Computing Corps will all be in this triple booth and ready to strategize solutions to help you diversify computing. 


For more information about the SIGCSE 2020 Technical Symposium, visit the conference webpage.


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