Promising Practices

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Scalable Game Design for Middle School (Case Study 6)

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Scalable Game Design for Middle School (Case Study 6)

Engage students not already drawn to computing by creating academic and social environments where these students feel like they belong. Students respond positively to solving real-life problems that draw on their existing knowledge and interests and that involve collaboration in hands-on projects. The middle school computing curriculum in Colorado’s Boulder Valley School District uses Scalable Game Design to introduce computer programming.

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Meet Them Where They Are (Case Study 3)

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Meet Them Where They Are (Case Study 3)

Engage students not already drawn to computing by creating academic and social environments where these students feel like they belong. Students respond positively to solving real-life problems that draw on their existing knowledge and interests and that involve collaboration in hands-on projects. The Girl Scouts’ “Technobile” is a mobile technology classroom with 12 workstations. It showcases technology and technology careers in ways that appeal to girls, while breaking down the access barriers to IT.

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

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 Do Admissions Criteria Affect Women's Representation in Graduate Computing? Attempts to Equalize a Subjective Process (Case Study 1)

How Do Admissions Criteria Affect Women's Representation in Graduate Computing? Attempts to Equalize a Subjective Process (Case Study 1)

When admission committee members minimize the biasing effects of stereotypes and consider applicants’ membership in an under-represented group as a positive characteristic, they promote diversity. By looking carefully at women and considering their life experiences, University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley admit more women students than their peer institutions.

How Can You Re-Engineer Your Undergraduate Program to Increase Women's Representation in Computing? Small Steps Toward Systemic Change (Case Study 1)

How Can You Re-Engineer Your Undergraduate Program to Increase Women's Representation in Computing? Small Steps Toward Systemic Change (Case Study 1)

The socio-educational system a student experiences shapes participation in the major. Altering one element of that system is often not enough to create enduring change. When faculty members are ready to implement organizational innovation, success is more likely if they receive support from institutional leaders, have access to adequate resources, and are able to participate in decision-making about the change.

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

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.

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Affinity Research Groups (Case Study 2)

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Affinity Research Groups (Case Study 2)

Undergraduates with positive research experiences feel more confident and motivated to enter graduate programs. To facilitate successful REUs, supportive faculty advisors or graduate mentors should clearly communicate goals to students and allow them to spend a large amount of time on research, increasing independence as the project progresses. The Affinity Research Group model (ARG) integrates student participation in research teams and a structured cooperative learning environment.

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Faculty Perspectives (Case Study 1)

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Faculty Perspectives (Case Study 1)

Undergraduates with positive research experiences feel more confident and motivated to enter graduate programs. To facilitate successful REUs, supportive faculty advisors or graduate mentors should clearly communicate goals to students and allow them to spend a large amount of time on research, increasing independence as the project progresses. Professors Scott McCrickard of Virginia Tech University and Margaret Burnett of Oregon State University treat their undergraduate researchers as members of their respective research teams.

How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Unintended Bias in Letters of Recommendation (Case Study 1)

How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Unintended Bias in Letters of Recommendation (Case Study 1)

Research shows that even individuals committed to equality harbor unconscious biases that impact everyday decisions and interactions. In the IT workplace, unconscious gender bias can mislead employers, both male and female, to make inaccurate judgments in hiring, performance reviews, and promotion. This case study highlights findings on the differences between letters of recommendation for women and men and gives practical ways to reduce bias when writing letters of recommendation.

How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Gender Bias in Recruitment/Selection Processes (Case Study 2)

How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Gender Bias in Recruitment/Selection Processes (Case Study 2)

Research shows that even individuals committed to equality harbor unconscious biases that impact everyday decisions and interactions. In the IT workplace, unconscious gender bias can mislead employers, both male and female, to make inaccurate judgments in hiring, performance reviews, and promotion. This case study focuses on the profound effect unconscious bias can have on the recruitment and selection process — from crafting and distribution of job postings to interviewing and hiring. Steps are offered for overcoming this bias.

How Can Organizations Recruit Diverse Talent in Ways that Promote Innovation and Productivity? Interview Strategies that Identify Functionally Diverse Perspectives (Case Study 1)

How Can Organizations Recruit Diverse Talent in Ways that Promote Innovation and Productivity? Interview Strategies that Identify Functionally Diverse Perspectives (Case Study 1)

Significant evidence suggests that diverse work teams produce tangible benefits, including improved innovation, problem-solving, and productivity. Some of this research also illustrates how teams of diverse agents produce better results than teams of “highest-ability” agents. Companies can implement interview strategies that identify candidates with functionally diverse perspectives likely to improve innovation and productivity.

How Can Organizations Reap the Benefits of a Diverse Workforce? Assessing the Organization's Diversity Paradigm Career

How Can Organizations Reap the Benefits of a Diverse Workforce? Assessing the Organization's Diversity Paradigm Career

Whether or not an organization will fully benefit from diversity depends on how its members answer the questions, “What do we do with this diversity? Why do we want a diversified workforce?” Organizations must explicitly address these questions if they are to prevent diversity efforts from backfiring and if they are to reap the oft-touted benefits of better performance and productivity. Three organizational diversity paradigms are presented along with the assumptions and practices, pros, and cons of each.

How Can Leader-Member Relationships Promote Women's Retention and Advancement? Taking Stock of Leader-Member Relationships (Case Study 1)

How Can Leader-Member Relationships Promote Women's Retention and Advancement? Taking Stock of Leader-Member Relationships (Case Study 1)

Positive leader-member relationships are characterized by exchanges of trust, respect, and low formality. They measurably improve performance, job satisfaction, and commitment. This practice sheet offers sample survey items to help with conducting "relationship audits" that can be used for benchmarking the quality of leader-member relationships in an organization.

How Can Companies Promote Innovation with Diverse Employees? Patenting Learning Communities (Case Study 1)

How Can Companies Promote Innovation with Diverse Employees? Patenting Learning Communities (Case Study 1)

Diverse work teams can improve innovation, problem-solving, and productivity. Patenting is one important measure of recognized and rewarded innovation efforts in IT, but female patenting rates are quite low. A few companies have started patenting or innovation communities to increase women’s participation. In order to reap the benefits of diverse innovation, two companies implement “inventor learning communities” to increase female participation in innovation and patenting.

How Can Companies Attract and Retain Mid-Career Female Employees? Military Spouse Reentry Programs (Case Study 2)

How Can Companies Attract and Retain Mid-Career Female Employees? Military Spouse Reentry Programs (Case Study 2)

Flexible work arrangements and career paths, along with re-entry training and support, can attract and retain mid-career female employees. Military spouses are a large and often overlooked population that could be well-served by IT training and could bring more diversity to IT. The Women in Technology (WIT) Military Spouse Certificate Program is one innovative program that attempts to meet this need.

How Can Companies Attract and Retain Mid-Career Female Employees? Constructing On-Ramps (Case Study 1)

How Can Companies Attract and Retain Mid-Career Female Employees? Constructing On-Ramps (Case Study 1)

Flexible work arrangements and career paths, along with re-entry training and support, can attract and retain mid-career female employees. In order to retain women in IT by attracting those who wish to return to work, Lehman Brothers Encore program seeks out non-traditional resumes, provides reentry training and support, and offers flexible work arrangements. In its first year, the program hired 20 new employees.

How Can Companies Achieve Organizational Diversity? Establishing Institutional Accountability (Case Study 1)

How Can Companies Achieve Organizational Diversity? Establishing Institutional Accountability (Case Study 1)

Companies that establish organizational accountability for diversity, whether in the form of full-time diversity staff or a diversity task force, are more likely to increase the representation of women and minorities in management than companies that use only mentoring or diversity training programs. Five years ago, Company ABC began the process of establishing formal accountability for diversity because company leaders saw diversity as necessary to retain employees, foster better business practices, compete nationally and internationally, and better respond to client needs.

What are the Important Components of Targeted Recruiting? Change the Gender Composition of High School Computing Courses (Case Study 2)

What Are the Important Components of Targeted Recruiting? Change the Gender Composition of High School Computing Courses (Case Study 2)

Targeted recruiting means planning strategically: set quantifiable goals; identify large, capable audiences; personalize the content of your message; deliver that message in media that are relevant to your audience; and pay attention to people who influence your audience’s decision-making. High school computer science teachers who actively recruit girls and minority students report more students overall and more female students in their courses.

How Does the Physical Environment Affect Women's Entry and Persistence in Computing? Design Physical Space that Has Broad Appeal (Case Study 1)

How Does the Physical Environment Affect Women's Entry and Persistence in Computing? Design Physical Space that Has Broad Appeal (Case Study 1)

The décor of physical spaces conveys messages about the kinds of people who belong there and the kinds of activities that should be done there. Understanding this influence allows us to actively craft an environment that makes a broad range of people feel welcome in computing. 

How Do You Recruit or Retain Women Through Inclusive Pedagogy? Equal Access: Inclusive Strategies for Teaching Students with Disabilities (Case Study 3)

How Do You Recruit or Retain Women Through Inclusive Pedagogy? Equal Access: Inclusive Strategies for Teaching Students with Disabilities (Case Study 3)

Women and minority students are not in computing courses under the same conditions as their white male classmates. Instructional practices offer opportunities to level the playing field and improve the retention of underrepresented students. More students with learning and physical disabilities are in the educational pipeline than ever before. Being aware of the issues, tools, and services for students with disabilities makes it easier for them to learn and for you to teach them.

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