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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Computer Science and Society (Pilot)

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Note: This page describes the pilot of course #15-996, which is a shortened (3-session) version of the full proposed 12-session course. For more information about the full course, see About (Full Course).

Instructors: Zico Kolter (zkolter@andrew), Bailey Flanigan (bflaniga@andrew)
Discussion moderators: Judeth Oden Choi (jochoi@andrew), Anson Kahng (akahng@andrew), Tim Lee (tel1@andrew), Sara McAllister (sjmcalli@cs), Catalina Vaijac (cvaijac@cs)
Course sessions: US time-zones (Fridays, 4–5:20pm ET), Non-US time-zones (Mondays, 8–9:20am ET)
Office hours: By appointment
Useful links: Canvas, Syllabus, Discussion Guide
Prerequisites / supplementary materials: None required

Course Description

This is a brand new course, developed by PhD students, for PhD students, focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in computer science, academia, and society. It is required for first-year doctoral students in CSD. This pilot course consists of three 80-minute sessions (via Zoom), where each session is focused on a different topic. A single session consists of a ~20-minute lecture, followed by ~60 minutes of small-group discussion (3–4 students / group) guided by trained moderators (PhD-student TAs). Between sessions, students must complete an activity asynchronously to help them reflect on the previous session and prepare for the next.

Course Goals

This course was introduced with the goal of preparing PhD students for the complex challenges they may face in the PhD program, and to equip them with tools to be more inclusive members of the computer science community. In this course, we will explore concepts from the humanities and social justice literature (e.g., inclusivity, privilege, equity, and allyship) through the lenses of academic research and computer science. Our goal is to make this material accessible, thought-provoking, and actionable to students of a variety of backgrounds and levels of understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Course Topics

  • Session 1: Diversity, equity, and inclusion in computer science
    1. Inclusive discussion via community guidelines
    2. Impostor syndrome
    3. Connecting impostor syndrome to diversity, equity, and privilege
  • Session 2: Theoretical foundations of diversity, equity, and inclusion
    1. Privilege, systemic inequality, and intersectionality
    2. Bias, technology, and systemic inequality
  • Session 3: Taking action toward diversity, equity, and inclusion
    1. Stereotypes and microaggressions
    2. Allyship
    3. Reporting mechanisms