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New Initiatives Aim to Improve Diversity in Computer Science Department


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Women studying computer science.

Two Duke University professors and a graduate student formed the Identity in Computing Group, a group of researchers dedicated to studying the impact of identity on computing and identifying strategies for making computing more equitable and inclusive.

Credit: TechNepal

Despite now being a senior, Akshara Anand has never had a female computer science professor.

"At each level, computer science weeds people out. Even in my CS201 [Data Structures and Algorithms] class, I noticed that it was very heavily male-dominated and also Asian and white male dominated," said Anand, a co-president of the Duke Technology Scholars Program.

In the last 10 years, no students who enrolled in Duke's computer science doctorate program indicated that they are Black. While each matriculating class has had between 53 and 67 men, there have only been 9 to 16 women in each class. Of the 744 students who have gone through the program, 513 were international students and 231 were United States or Puerto Rican citizens. While 71% identified as white, 22.1% identified as Asian and only 2.6% identified as Hispanic or Latinx.

Students in Duke's undergraduate computer science department—the University's most popular undergraduate program—have noticed similar problems with diversity in their experiences.

 

From Duke Chronicle


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