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«Gloria Childress Townsend Professor of Computer Science Stephanie Ball Laura Kuh Computer Science Majors DePauw University SIGCSE Original 2005 ...»

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One Hundred One

Ideas for ACM-W



Gloria Childress Townsend

Professor of Computer Science

Stephanie Ball

Laura Kuh

Computer Science Majors

DePauw University


Original 2005 version revised in 2013 by Gloria Childress Townsend

Top ten hints for applying the 101 ideas:

10 The easiest way to begin: Brown bag lunch

9 Begin simply; increase complexity, as helpers are found 8 Aggressively seek internal and external funding 7 Fully engage students in the organization's operation 6 Solicit feedback 5 Brainstorm ways to conserve time/energy 4 Don't be discouraged: recruit "one woman at a time" 3 Remember that your efforts will be appreciated forever 2 Expect mentoring to be reciprocal and fulfilling 1 Start now!

We appreciate Microsoft for supplying two generous grants that enabled the first three printings (a total of 750 books, so far). Our special thanks go to Dr. Revi Sterling, who encouraged us, supported us and believed in the project from start to finish. We also gratefully acknowledge the Association for Computing Machinery Women's Council (ACM-W) for providing Stephanie's funding; and DePauw University, for Laura's.

Special thanks to:

Bettina Bair (bbair@cse.ohio-state.edu) Paula Gabbert (paula.gabbert@furman.edu) SIGCSE Committee on Expanding the Women-in-Computing Community This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.5/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Gloria Childress Townsend (gct@depauw.edu) June 30, 2005 July 26, 2013 (second edition) Table of Contents Academic

1. Start an ACM-W Chapter 7

2. High School Students Shadowing College Students 8

3. College Students Shadowing Professionals 9

4. Departmental Posters 9

5. Poster Session 9

6. Interdisciplinary Posters 10

7. Banquet/Award Ceremonies 10

8. Advisory Board 10

9. Newsletter 11

10. One-on-One Mentoring 11

11. Group Mentoring 12

12. Tri-mentoring 12

13. Peer Tutoring 12

14. High School Tutoring 13 15

–  –  –

1. Start an ACM-W Chapter Academic Description: If a "women in computing" organization already exists at your school, please think seriously about transforming it to an ACM-W chapter. If no organization exists, consider chartering an ACM-W chapter; just two student officers can launch a chapter.

Benefits: Starting an ACM-W chapter immediately connects students throughout the world to students in schools that already have ACM and ACM-W chapters. ACM is recognized internationally as the premier professional organization for computing professionals, so an ACM-W chapter and its members have instantaneous recognition and respect. An ACM-W chapter also builds a support network for students who are underrepresented and allows wonderful leadership opportunities (in a nurturing atmosphere) for many women.

Having an ACM-W chapter allows the organization to compete with all ACM and ACM-W chapters to win annual $500 awards in five Chapter Excellence categories. Students in ACM-W chapters are also eligible for UPE/ACM student chapter scholarships. Chapter members may access the Digital Library (plus additional publications) and use the free ACM Distinguished Speakers Series.

–  –  –

Texas A&M: "Becoming an ACM-W chapter 'legitimized' our Women in CS group. For example, in the past, the annual Departmental Awards Banquet excluded our organization, but this year AWICS was included for the first time, because it was a recognized chapter of a national organization."

-Nancy Amato Furman University: Allows both men and women to join ACM-W.

-Paula Gabbert DePauw University: Creates an alliance between ACM and ACM-W to end divisiveness and to strengthen each organization through joint activities, sharing officers, and sponsor coordination.

-Gloria Childress Townsend Central Indiana Regional ACM-W Chapter (Butler, Indiana and DePauw Universities; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology): Forms a regional consortium for the purpose of creating "critical mass" by connecting several small organizations, where each school maintains its own identity and many separate activities, but the schools also plan joint activities on a grander scale.

The Ohio State University ACM-W chapter officers spell out ACM-W!


2. High School and College Students Academic & Social Description: Pair high school students with college students. The undergraduate should invite the high school student to spend the day with her, attending classes and eating meals together. (High school vacation days work well.) Benefits: High school students will learn more about a college computer science major, since many high schools hide computing courses within business departments.

Shadowing may help girls with their future plans after high school. The college student also provides a positive image of a “scientist” for the high school girl.

Group Size: Unlimited groups of two

3. College Students and Professionals Social & Professional Description: Pair female college students with female professionals in the students’ desired career field. A student can spend the day with the professional at her place of work.

Benefits: Shadowing a computing professional allows a student to receive an insider's view of a career field she is considering, while revealing to her the necessary skills she needs to acquire, in order to thrive in the environment. Additionally, alumnae maintain closer ties with their former major department.

Group Size: Unlimited groups of two Posters

4. Departmental posters Academic and social Description: Gather a group of students to make posters advertising all of the departmental events. Alternately, students may create posters advertising course offerings for the upcoming semester, focusing on the fact that just one computer science course can be beneficial regardless of the person’s major.

Benefits: Poster making provides an opportunity for socialization among the women in the computer science department, while also providing the rest of the campus with information about the department.

Group Size: Large

–  –  –

Description: Organize a small poster session for students who have conducted summer research and participated in internships. (Consider a cooperative effort with the local ACM student


Benefits: Invite friends, computer science majors, members of introductory computing classes, faculty members, etc.

Group Size: Small

6. Interdisciplinary Posters Academic Description: Ask for volunteers who are double majors and who would like to be profiled in a poster display destined for the computer science lounge/laboratory area. Create highquality posters, explaining how the individuals combine computer science with another major. The interdisciplinary areas of research between biology and computer science seem particularly attractive to women and should be emphasized as much as possible.

Benefits: These posters will help students see that computer science is compatible with almost any field and that pursuing a degree in computer science does not limit one to programming.

Group Size: Small

7. Banquet/Award Ceremonies Academic Description: Reward academically outstanding students by recognizing them at an end-ofsemester banquet. Rewards can include gift cards for local restaurants or stores, plaques, or certificates. Be sure to include at least one "most improved" award.

Benefits: An award ceremony makes an already rewarding experience that much more enjoyable, while role models encourage all students to strive for excellence.

Group Size: Large

8. Advisory Board Academic Description: Students in the computer science department are elected by their peers (or appointed by faculty members) to form a committee that meets periodically with faculty members in the department. Students and faculty discuss issues such as curriculum, department activities, and any problems that arise during the school year.

Benefits: The creation of an advisory board allows students to deal with problems in a professional manner, helping to prepare them for life outside of school and to build a resume that balances technical skills with leadership skills. An advisory board also improves communication (maintaining a healthy department) and helps deflect problems for future students.

Group Size: Small

9. Newsletter Academic Description: Form a group of students who are responsible for writing a monthly newsletter.

Topics for the newsletter may include articles from the alumnae or faculty, senior profiles, advice from students, lists of upcoming events, etc. The newsletter can be a hardcopy or e-form. Print a large copy for the bulletin board.

Benefits: A newsletter keeps all women in the computer science department informed and connected to each other while giving the students in charge an experience that can be useful when looking for a job.

–  –  –

Mentoring The Benefits of Mentoring Previous research [1, 2, 3, 5, 11, 13, 15, 16, 20] points to the benefits of mentoring for women in computing. Mentors pass on valuable help and advice in a field where male students thrive and seem to be members of a computing 'fraternity'.

Mentoring can alleviate women's sense of being 'left out' and provide more tangible benefits as well: graduate school or career planning, for example.

10. One-on-One Mentoring Academic & Social Description: Pair younger female students with older female students based on similar interests;

use an application form, asking students to record campus activities, other interests, career goals and comments in an open-ended "anything else you would like to tell us in order to match mentors and mentees". Make sure that someone in the organization is made explicitly responsible for driving group activities and sending emails at regular intervals with conversation suggestions, so momentum begins early and continues to build.

Benefits: One-on-one mentoring provides much more quality time and promotes a closer relationship between mentor and mentee.

Group size: Unlimited groups of twos

11. Group Mentoring Academic & Social Description: Randomly assign one older female student to a group of younger female students.

Benefits: Group mentoring provides the younger students with a support group full of valuable knowledge and resources. Random assignment allows for diversity within the group.

Group size: Unlimited

12. Tri-Mentoring Academic, Social, & Professional Description: Forming groups consisting of a female first-year or sophomore, a junior or senior and a member of the computer science faculty. Different groups can consist of a high school student, undergraduate student, and faculty member; undergraduate, graduate, and faculty member; or undergraduate, graduate, and professional. Again, make sure that someone in the group is made explicitly responsible for driving group activities so momentum begins early and keeps going.

Benefits: Provides all three members with a support network, where each person supplies a different point-of-view of the computing discipline.

Group size: Unlimited groups of three Tutoring

13. Peer Academic Description: If at all possible, find funding for departmental tutors. (In extreme cases, where no funding can be secured, ask student volunteers to tutor their peers in specific classes.) Tutors can sign up for time slots; the information can be emailed to majors; and students can meet the tutors in the computer labs or in special reserved rooms. Strive to create the ideal balance of men-to-women, international-to-US, etc. The tutors have good contacts with new students; they are ideally positioned to recruit new majors.

Benefits: In most cases, both the tutor and the student can learn and benefit from each other.

The tutor will be able to brush up on her skills from the lower-level classes and practice interpersonal, communication and teaching skills, while the student can learn many helpful tips from the tutor. If student tutor pro bono, remember to include the impressive detail in future letters of recommendation.

Group Size: Small

14. High School Academic & Service Description: Ask for volunteers to tutor local high school students, using a location on the high school campus.

Benefits: The tutor mentors a younger student, while making an important service contribution to the community. High school tutoring also exposes younger students to the field of computer science at a crucial time, when students are beginning to form ideas of what they would like to do after high school.

Group Size: Small

15. Class Report Academic Description: Ask a sponsor from the computer science faculty members to assist in organizing a task force that will publish a report, which describes the female computer science perspective regarding classes, laboratories, etc., and lists a set of recommendations.

Allow a representative group to attend a department meeting in order to make a formal presentation and to distribute copies of the report.

Benefits: Reports carry the potential to initiate departmental conversations, which lead to institutional change. The climate of the process encourages untenured female faculty members to address issues that might be difficult to discuss in more traditional meetings within the department.

Group Size: Small

16. Make a Website; Create a Facebook Group Academic & Professional Description: Make a "women in computing" website for your school. Include upcoming activities for the women in the department, pictures and descriptions of recent events, and biographies of successful women in a wide variety of interesting computing-related careers.

Benefits: Making a website is a very effective and persuasive way to advertise the benefits of the computer science major and joining the local organization, while preparing for a career in computing. The skills used to make a website will be useful for the author(s) in almost any future venture.

Group Size: Small Study Sessions

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