Computing CARES is a multi-faced program at Michigan that aims to eliminate the historical gender disparity that exists in the programs of study for computer science and computer engineering.
How Computing CARES works
Computing CARES works by changing the foundation for how courses are taught in addition to providing direct interventions and experiences for students.
Computing CARES targets six computing courses taken by CS and CE majors in the first through third semesters of their program: ENGR 101, ENGR 151, EECS 183, EECS 203, EECS 280, and EECS 281. Two or three interventions take place in each of these courses.
During the first lecture in a course, an activity is offered that promotes awareness of the diversity in the class population, or a video related to the class topic is shown that provides perspectives from a diverse set of individuals, including women.
Mid-semester, a homework activity is offered that helps students reflect on some inclusiveness aspect related to working in diverse teams.
Late-semester, an in-class discussion is held on a key inclusiveness challenge, such as the handling of non-crisis gender bias incidents at tech companies (through short interviews collected from alumni during our career-fairs), or a presentation and discussion on impostor syndrome, implicit bias, or a related topic.
These classroom activities differ in each semester course-group, since students progress through the entire sequence of courses.
Changing how classes are taught
Computing CARES provides specialized training on inclusive teaching to all Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) and Instructional Assistants (IAs) who will teach or provide other instructional support targeted courses in computing, emphasizing a number of factors that help instructors interact with students in an inclusive and equitable way.
In addition to classroom activities, Computing CARES hosts monthly panel discussions to support community-building among the female students in these courses. Panels are held on subjects such as career opportunities in CS and CE, how to work in a team, and how to become a teaching instructor assistant.
The Computing CARES program began in 2015.
Computing CARES is made possible by support from the U-M Third Century Initiative and the National Center for Women & Information Technology.