Talking Points

Institutional barriers (IBs) are policies, procedures, or situations that systematically disadvantage certain groups of people. IBs exist in any majority-minority group situation. When an initial population is fairly similar (e.g., in male-dominated professions), systems naturally emerge to meet the needs of this population. If these systems do not change with the times, they can inhibit the success of new members with different needs. IBs often seem natural or “just the way things are around here.”

Stereotype Threat Cover Image

This Talking Point Card explains stereotype threat and how it is triggered, shares examples of effects from stereotype threat, and suggests ways to create a stereotype threat-free environment for attracting able and diverse students to computing.

How Do Stereotype Threats Affect Retention? Better Approaches to Well-Intentioned, but Harmful Messages (Case Study 1)

Stereotype threat harms both performance and motivation by reducing our feelings of competence, belonging, and trust in our colleagues. However, careful thought, education, and regular assessment of diversity practices can help minimize incidents of stereotype threat. Examples show how instructors and advisors can minimize stereotype threat by creating an accepting environment where students feel at ease and are recognized for their achievements. In addition, student test scores improve and gender gaps are eliminated when students are taught that intelligence increases through effort.

How Can Unbiased Software Facilitate Girls' Interest in IT? A Checklist for Evaluating Software (Case Study 1)

Educational software can increase students’ motivation, interest, and academic achievement in science and math. To do so, it must be selected and utilized properly to avoid gender bias. A sample tool for guiding software selection is provided.

Supervising-in-a-Box Image

Employees report that the supervisory relationship is one of the most significant factors in their decision to leave or stay with an organization. Are you, as a supervisor, adequately prepared for this responsibility?

Even if your institution already has a formal training program for supervisors, use Supervising-in-a-Box to create highly productive teams that reduce employee turnover, capitalize on diverse innovative thinking, and ultimately strengthen their bottom lines.

Talking Points

In the popular press and in public debate, one often hears that U.S. students are performing poorly in math and science in comparison to other countries. What is the basis for these claims? What are students’ actual scores and rankings? How should we interpret and use these scores? A better understanding of the evidence is important for making effective policy decisions that affect computer science and other STEM fields.

Male Advocates and Allies (report cover)

This report, sponsored by NCWIT's Workforce Alliance, provides an inside look into how men think about  and advocate for diversity in the technical workplace. Drawing from interviews with 47 men in technical companies and departments, this study: 1) Identifies the factors that motivate or hinder men in advocating for gender diversity, 2) explores what diversity efforts men have experienced as successful or unsuccessful, and 3) identifies specific strategies to increase men's participation in advocacy.

Stereotype Threat Cover Slide

This slide deck is a companion piece to the NCWIT Talking Point Card Talk with Faculty Colleagues About Stereotype Threat ( You can hand out the card to your colleagues and then share these slides at a faculty meeting.