Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Co-PI, on a recently funded NSF grant for the Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education-Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (AIICE-PRF).
While computer science (CS) has transformed society, these groundbreaking technologies have proven extremely harmful for people from groups that are historically underrepresented in computing. This can be attributed to the lack of diversity in academic and professional computing environments. Successfully broadening participation in computing requires computing faculty and researchers who can create/implement identity-inclusive computing curricula, policies, and practices, as well as perform innovative research in computing education. The Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education-Postdoctoral Researcher Fellowship (AiiCE-PRF) is based on evidence that the lack of diversity in university CS departments is replicated in the CS and computing education research community in terms of researcher identities, research topics, and available postdoctoral researcher (postdoc) positions. This marginalization impacts postdocs’ sense of belonging, publication and citation counts, and thus future hiring and career advancement. Through a combined research and professional development program, three computing education postdocs will complete the AiiCE-PRF. In addition to developing best practices for identity-inclusive postdoc experiences that can be leveraged across STEM disciplines, this program will directly impact approximately 600 computing postdocs in the U.S., 2,000 postsecondary CS faculty/staff, 5,000 teaching assistants, and up to 35,000 undergraduate CS students at 500 ABET-accredited U.S. computing departments.
The goal of the AiiCE-PRF is to increase the number of postdocs from groups that are historically underrepresented in computing and the number of postdocs performing identity-inclusive computing education research. The three-year program includes a research initiative [as part of the NSF-funded Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AiiCE); pronounced “ace”] where Fellows perform mixed-methods research related to training, curricula & pedagogy, policy, and student/faculty perceptions of race in computing. Fellows also participate in a professional development program that focuses on the three key components of a faculty portfolio: research (CAREER proposal development), teaching (co-teaching identity-related computing courses), and service (mentoring undergraduate/graduate researchers and developing/leading a yearly webinar-based seminar on pursuing postdoctoral research experiences in computing education). Throughout this experience, Fellows will work with the PIs, members of the greater AiiCE alliance (who span disciplines, sectors, and identities), and each other to also develop independent research projects that will serve as the foundation for their future research programs and CAREER proposal submissions. Ultimately, the AiiCE-PRF will 1) increase Fellows’ understanding of and preparation for academic careers; 2) increase Fellows’ sense of belonging in the discipline (both as a postdocs and members of groups that are historically underrepresented in computing); and 3) contribute to best practices for supporting computing postdocs across the discipline.