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Work In Progress: A Novel Approach to Understanding Perceptions of Race among Computing Undergraduates

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Conference

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Equity, Culture & Social Justice in Education Division (EQUITY) Technical Session 2

Tagged Divisions

Equity and Culture & Social Justice in Education Division (EQUITY)

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

DOI

10.18260/1-2--44148

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/44148

Download Count

188

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Paper Authors

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Fatima Glovena Fairfax Duke University

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Fatima G. Fairfax is currently a PhD student at Duke University in the Sociology department. Her research focuses on the intersection of measurement and equity, with special attention to the role of measurement in mitigating or perpetuating racialized harm in digitized, automated, and technological processes. She is interested in these processes within healthcare and in the education system. Prior to starting at Duke, she worked for New Profit, a venture philanthropy firm, as a manager on the Measurement and Evaluation team. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University in 2018.

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Elyse McFalls Duke University

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I am an undergraduate student at Duke University studying statistics and sociology. I am interested in applications of advanced statistics in social sciences.

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Alex Rogers Duke University

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I am currently a PhD student in the sociology department at Duke University. My research interests are based in the US and include racism, racial ideology, policing, and the carceral system. My current research focuses on developing the tools and theoretical frameworks for conceptualizing the interactions between policing and physical space. I received a B.A. in Sociology from Pacific University in 2021.

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Jabari Kwesi Duke University

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Alicia Nicki Washington Duke University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9180-6234

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Dr. Nicki Washington is a professor of the practice of computer science and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies at Duke University and the author of Unapologetically Dope: Lessons for Black Women and Girls on Surviving and Thriving in the Tech Field. She is currently the director of the Cultural Competence in Computing (3C) Fellows program and the NSF-funded Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AiiCE). She also serves as senior personnel for the NSF-funded Athena Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Her career in higher education began at Howard University as the first Black female faculty member in the Department of Computer Science. Her professional experience also includes Winthrop University, The Aerospace Corporation, and IBM. She is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University (B.S., ‘00) and North Carolina State University (M.S., ’02; Ph.D., ’05), becoming the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science at the university and 2019 Computer Science Hall of Fame Inductee.

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Shaundra Bryant Daily Duke University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6612-2049

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Shaundra B. Daily is a professor of practice in Electrical and Computer Engineering & Computer Science at Duke University and Levitan Faculty Fellow, Special Assistant to the Vice Provosts. Prior to joining Duke, she was an associate professor with tenure at the University of Florida in the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering. She also served as an associate professor and interim co-chair in the School of Computing at Clemson University. Her research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of technologies, programs, and curricula to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields. Currently, through this work, she is the Backbone Director for the Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education as well as Education and Workforce Director for the Athena AI Institute. Having garnered over $40M in funding from public and private sources to support her collaborative research activities, Daily’s work has been featured in USA Today, Forbes, National Public Radio, and the Chicago Tribune. Daily earned her B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – Florida State University College of Engineering, and an S.M. and Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab.

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Crystal E. Peoples Duke University

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I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AiiCE) at Duke University. My research interests include the areas of racial inequality, social networks, higher education, and knowledge creation. Currently, my research focuses on how racialized networks in computer science disproportionately advantage whites and leads to racialized knowledge production and legitimization. I received a B.S. in Mathematics from Longwood University in 2012, an M.S. in Sociology with graduate minors in Mathematics and Statistics from Iowa State University in 2015, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University in 2022.

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Helen Xiao Duke University

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I am a recent graduate of Duke University ('23) with majors in Computer Science and Visual & Media Studies from the Bay Area, CA. My research interest lies in race and computing.

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Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

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Abstract

This work-in-progress paper presents the design and testing of a quantitative and qualitative instrument for a mixed-methods approach that examines how undergraduate computing majors (i.e., computer science, engineering, and information systems) perceive and experience race. Computing is overwhelmingly dominated by white and Asian men. Racial “othering” is amplified through not only biased technologies, but also university courses, departments, and cultures that negatively impact non-dominant identities. While numerous efforts exist to broaden the participation of Black, Native American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Latinx students, these approaches fail to address the systemic inequities and inequalities they face from faculty, staff, peers, and academic cultures. They also fail to capture how students perceive the impacts of race, racism, and white supremacy on their and others’ academic experiences.

This work builds upon the Detroit Area Study as well as an extended study of physics faculty to develop a 36-item quantitative survey that is organized into six constructs (home environment; college environment; belonging/comfort in computing courses and departments; perceptions of race; diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and practices; and definitions of race). A qualitative instrument was developed using the same constructs to guide one-on-one, semi-structured interviews of a sample of respondents completing the quantitative survey. The instruments were distributed to computing undergraduates during the fall 2022/spring 2023 semester. Results from both instruments, including open-ended feedback, were used for final revisions.

To the best of our knowledge, this work is the first of its kind to examine how computing undergraduates think about topics related to race in general, as well as in departments. We anticipate that the research resulting from these instruments will better inform the greater computing (and ultimately, STEM) community of how students from different identities (including race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and socioeconomic status, and their intersections), institution types, and geographical locations perceive and experience race; what that can mean for students from historically excluded races in their programs; and how they can create more inclusive and equitable department cultures.

Fairfax, F. G., & McFalls, E., & Rogers, A., & Kwesi, J., & Washington, A. N., & Daily, S. B., & Peoples, C. E., & Xiao, H., & Bonilla-Silva, E. (2023, June), Work In Progress: A Novel Approach to Understanding Perceptions of Race among Computing Undergraduates Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--44148

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