The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) was awarded the second annual CMD-IT University Award for Retention of Minorities and Students with Disabilities in Computer Science by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMID-IT). This honor highlights organizations that have exhibited commitment and success in accommodating students from underrepresented groups in undergraduate Computer Science programs.
Sponsored by Microsoft, the award comes with a $15,000 cash prize. CCI representatives accepted the award at the 2018 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing in Orlando, Florida.
According to the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT, CCI was recognized for its impressive record of high retention and graduation rates. A number of CCI programs and initiatives directly impact retention rates; they include:
- The Connected Learner program that focuses on connecting students to peers, the profession and the community
- The STARS program that reaches K-12 students interested in technology, academia, research and service
- A task force created by the CCI dean that uses strategies such as peer tutoring, mentoring and designated meeting spaces to assist women and underrepresented minority student organizations
- New scholarship programs that focus on promoting economic mobility and that seek to diversity student populations
- Implementation of workshops to address bias in classrooms and labs
In recognizing institutions like CCI, CMD-IT and Microsoft are leading a cultural shift in the industry that will result in a more diverse, advanced and innovative future. Receiving the award will fuel the perpetuation and expansion of programs that effectively retain underrepresented groups in Computer Science at CCI.
"I was honored to accept the CMD-IT University Award on behalf of UNC Charlotte's College of Computing and Informatics,” said Der Vang, director of mentoring for the college. “At CCI, we work every day to set a high standard for inclusivity and diversity across our entire community. This award, though it recognizes what we have done, also serves as a reminder that our journey is just beginning.”