The Following FAQ is for NCWIT Academic Alliance’s 2024 Award Year
What is the Award?
The NCWIT Joanne McGrath Cohoon Service Award honors distinguished educators and staff who have effectively challenged and changed the systems that shape the experiences of women undergraduates in postsecondary computing programs. We seek nominees who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to and success in creating long-lasting systemic change that improves the environment for all postsecondary students who identify as women, with attention to practices or interventions that advance the diversity, equity, and inclusion of women from historically excluded groups. The nominee may be currently in the field or retired as we are looking at life-long work. The award is given in memory of Dr. Cohoon’s outstanding research and advocacy work to broaden and enrich women’s participation in computing. For more information about Dr. Cohoon see below. The award includes a certificate and a $10,000 gift to the recipient’s institution thanks to the generous sponsorship of AT&T.
Who Is Eligible to Be Nominated?
- Faculty members (any rank, tenure line, teaching, or professional) or staff members (of any gender identity) who have worked effectively to implement systemic change in postsecondary computing over the course of their career.
- Nominees must be employed at or retired from U.S. institutions that are current members of the NCWIT Higher Education Alliance. Verify organizational membership here. If the nominee’s institution is not yet a member, then a membership application must be completed here. Note that all institutions of higher education are eligible for Higher Education Alliance membership if they have or are developing a computing-related program(s); membership is free to non-profit public and private institutions.
- Individuals can be nominated for work they have done at their current or previous institutions, or both.
What Information Do I Need to Complete the Online Nomination Form?
Nomination: Nominations are due November 30, 2023, at 11:59 PM MT via this online form. Self-nominations are welcome. The nominator will be asked to provide the following information:
- Nominee’s name, email, and homepage or bio URL
- Nominator’s name and email
- Nominator’s statement statement (no more than 150 characters) explaining why the individual should be considered for the award
- Nominee’s statement describing how they have contributed to implementing systemic change in their postsecondary computing program. The nominee should describe how it has significantly improved the environment for students who identify as women, with attention to practices or interventions that advance the diversity, equity, and inclusion of women from historically excluded groups. Please see the NCWIT Systemic Change Model for Undergraduate Programs for examples of areas of potential impact. We encourage nominees to provide evidence of sustained impact across time. This can be within their institution(s) and external to their institution(s). The strongest applications will contain examples of impact beyond individual students and beyond the scope of a single program. The statement may include links to external documents, webpages, and graphics, but please include brief descriptions of the additional materials in the statement itself. (no more than 500 words, uploaded as pdf file)
- Two letters of recommendation from colleagues, peers, or institutional leaders that address how they know the nominee and how the nominee has contributed to systemic and culture change at their current (or previous) institution. (each 500 words or less, uploaded as pdf files)
I’ve Gathered Everything, Now What Do I Need to Do?
- Save all documents in PDF format.
- Submit the application materials no later than November 30,2023 at 11:59 p.m. MT.
- You and your nominee will be notified by March 2024 regarding the status of your nomination.
I’ve Been Asked to Write a Letter of Recommendation, What Should I Include? (Due November 30, 2023)
The NCWIT Awards Manager will invite recommenders to provide answers to the following questions.
- How do you know the nominee? (250 words or less)
- Describe how the nominee has contributed to systemic and culture change at their current (and/or previous) institution to create an environment that is welcoming to students who identify as women, with attention to practices or interventions that advance the diversity, equity, and inclusion of women from historically excluded groups. Strong recommendations will vividly describe how this work has been sustained across time and has wide ranging impacts in the postsecondary space both at their institutions(s) and external to their institution(s) (e.g., is larger than one time-bound program and impacts culture or policy, not just individual students). Please see the NCWIT Systemic Change Model for Undergraduate Programs for examples of areas of potential impact. (250 words or less)
Where can I find online information about this NCWIT award?
Find online information at www.ncwit.org/joannecohoon.
What if I still have questions?
Email [email protected]
Who was Joanne McGrath Cohoon?
Joanne McGrath Cohoon was a Professor of Science, Technology, and Society in the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. She was also a founding research scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). In both positions, she employed perspectives and methods from sociology to study gender, technology, and education. A core finding of Joanne’s research was that departmental factors affected the gender balance in computing. In the late 1990s, Joanne conducted the first large-scale study that identified departmental cultures as the source of women’s high attrition from undergraduate CS. Prior to this, gender characteristics of individual women dominated the empirical landscape of women in computing, focusing on deficiency characteristics like sex role socialization, mathematical ability, and others. Based on her first study, Joanne set out to understand whether the departmental factors were different for CS as compared to a major with many more women. She designed a mixed-methods study comparing CS and biology/life sciences faculty in 46 departments at the same institutions to compare their attrition rates, departmental settings, practices, and attitudes toward women. Joanne found that women are retained at similar rates to men in departments with less faculty turnover, when faculty had more positive attitudes toward women in their field, and where faculty believed they were important to student success and took action through mentoring and encouraging students. These findings were applied in NCWIT’s Extension Services program, in which departments undertake systemic change efforts. Joanne later focused on gendered experiences in computing graduate programs and designed the Tapestry program to leverage the reach and influence of high school teachers for diversifying computing. Joanne was persistent and immensely creative; and she deeply appreciated the people who influenced and supported her. Joanne cared deeply about her family. In a story of her career progression presented at the Grace Hopper Conference for her Abie Award, she insisted that it include photos of her grandparents, her wedding photo with husband Jim, and two photos of her children. She was a delightful colleague and we miss her.