At the faculty level

We have seen success in recent years in hiring a more gender balanced cohort of faculty. For example, three of the six new faculty hired by our department for the 2020-21 academic year are women. During our faculty search process, we consider at least two questions: Will the individual help enhance the diversity of our own faculty, and does the individual appear to care about helping to find ways to enhance the overall diversity of the department? 

Once here, new faculty require community and mentoring to ensure success. Each new faculty member is assigned a senior member of the faculty as a mentor. Mentors meet regularly with mentees to discuss issues related to research, teaching, fundraising, and work-life balance to help new faculty navigate academic life successfully. At the university level, the Faculty Diversity and Excellence Group, along with the Organization of Women Faculty provide networking and professional development for groups that are historically underrepresented in academia.

There is also financial support available. The Underrepresented Minority Faculty Professional Development Grant Program is intended to supplement school support for underrepresented minority faculty members’ professional development opportunities as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

At the graduate student level

To recruit a diverse graduate student body, we are taking the following steps:

To support and provide community, we have supported the creation of a number of active student groups. Please see our student groups for more information.

Additionally, McCormick and the Northwestern Computer Science organize workshops for professional development, including help with CAREER proposals. We also hold workshops for faculty to discuss graduate level mentoring and share best practices in inclusiveness so that all members of each research lab are treated equitably and inclusively.  

At the undergraduate level

Northwestern Computer Science is an affiliate institution of the BRAID initiative (Building, Recruiting, And Inclusion for Diversity). As such, we have committed to implementing steps to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups such as racial/ethnic minorities and women in our undergraduate CS programs. These steps include:

  • Modifying introductory CS courses to ensure that they are appealing to students regardless of background
  • Leading outreach programs for high school teachers and students to build a diverse pipeline of students
  • Building confidence and community among underrepresented students
  • Developing and/or promoting joint majors in areas like CS and biology that are attractive to underrepresented students