Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. Building on a rich history of women in computer science, the Department of Computer Science has worked for decades to promote gender diversity. Today, roughly 33% of the department’s undergraduate population is female, while nearly 25% of its faculty, graduate students, and technical staff are women, making it an international academic leader in promoting the participation of women in computer science.
To expand its diversification efforts, in 2016 the department established the Committee for Outreach, Diversity and Equity (CODE). Tasked with helping the department become inclusive of all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or creed, CODE works to (1) identify best practices with respect to equity and diversity and to communicate those practices to faculty, staff and students; (2) identify and respond to equity and diversity issues in the student body; and (3) engage in community events that simultaneously communicate the value of computer science education and lead to greater diversity in the student body. Future work by the committee may also synchronize with the BC Human Rights Code on representation irrespective of race, socioeconomic status, disability, political belief, religion, and status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit or Indigenous person.
The ultimate goal of the committee is to help ensure that the department’s composition represents that of society as a whole and that all students, staff, and faculty have the support they need to excel.