Tonight I attended a lecture by our new provost, Linda Bell, a successful economics professor whose current interests involve the gender gap in executive compensation. I do not want to share the salary and compensation numbers I saw in the talk, only that issues about diversity (part of the SIGCSE 2008 theme) is not limited to our field. What I found interesting was Linda's methodology, her use of rigorous statistics (thanks goodness for Statistics Bootcamp!) and deep exploration of the question, led to some interesting results (summarized here).
The SIGCSE conferences and community work to foster better education in computing. The community is composed mostly of computer scientists dedicated to improving teaching. Much of the conference consists of practical experiences in the classroom (even the non-traditional classroom), but I am becoming more motivated to explore issues in CS education with a similar approach, and hoping that can inform our community. Pie in the sky, but why not try?
I am pleased to explore diversity issues statistically, anecdotally, economically, computationally, ... you get the picture. As I listen to talks and read articles, I feel better knowing that our community does not struggle alone.
One interesting concept from Pf. Bell's lecture I learned -- in certain economic theory, discrimination may exist, but should not persist as it takes away from profits in the long run (I am certainly paraphrasing). There is some analogy to computing education and student performance, please help me fill in the gaps.
P.S.: I thought to find a cite for some of the economics I was describing above, so I started at Google and already found this post within five minutes after the initial post -- kinda freaked me out :-S