Friday, October 10, 2008

CCSCE 2008; curb cuts

I am presently in the lobby of the hotel in Frederick, MD after a wonderful day of "computational discussing" at the CCSC Eastern Conference hosted by the beautiful Hood College campus (and I know beautiful, I get to work at Haverford) -- the opening keynote was provided by Catherine C. McGeoch of Amherst College (I was late, but I heard great things), and tomorrow I get to hear Thomas Murtagh of Williams College talk about CS1 with a networking theme -- I was honored to be sandwiched between two presentations and many wonderful presentations (and many students!) to provide an introduction to what I have named "computational singing" (tip of the hat to Jeannette Wing of CMU/NSF) after the banquet tonight. Tom Cortina played a great foil with a broken guitar :-). I am really happy to see good friends and make new connections.
The other news I received from Mark Guzdial's Amazon Blog (and the SIGCSE 2009 blog is great also, I get so much information about computing education and SIGCSE planning -- there a hotel with a train this year !) -- when I have been using the term "accessibility" I could have used "curb cut principle" which I have heard before from Blaise Liffick -- it involves using adaptive tech to help everyone (i.e., a diverse population!) -- I think the article supports the theme from SIGCSE 2008, and invite you to read about it as well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Making a Case for Diversity in STEM Fields

I know there is ongoing debate about where computing falls in the academy (science, engineering, business, math, other) ... I do think it is an easy case to make that computing falls across disciplines in the STEM fields.

So I am handing off to a recent article about the motivations to consider diversity in STEM fields (including computing), summarizing here:
  1. First, we must clearly articulate the educational case for diversity, showing how students and society benefit from it.
  2. Second, we need to think more holistically about diversity in STEM.
  3. Third, we must acknowledge that stereotypes still matter, and that they affect perceptions of quality and expectations for performance.
Be warned, there is some pretty contentious debate in the comments at the end (but we should all be open to debate :-).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

News from GHC via Mark ...

It's been a large break from blogging here, and I only have time for a quick report; basically, I refer you to a post by my friend Mark Guzdial about more challenges for mid-level professional in IT who are also women, and other news from Grace Hopper currently underway (so go here for more timely reports)


Also, a quick serious note -- and it does connect to SIGCSE 2008 -- my family is presently recovering from two major events, one planned, one not -- my daughter Eva is recovering from a spinal fusion procedure; you may have met her at SIGCSE 2008, she has red hair and severe CP (and depends on a wheelchair) -- she used to have a 110 degree curve in her spine from scoliosis, but now is adjusting to seeing the world from her (previously unused) headrest -- photo here.

But the other adjustment we are all making involves the sudden death of Eva's mom and my wife Ellen, also an attendee at SIGCSE 2008 -- Ellen was not only Eva's mom, but her primary caregiver, nurse and advocate -- we are receiving much support that I am working hard to make as effective as possible, but I will not be posting too much for awhile.

I know, we also lost Randy Pausch this summer, so it's been tough (and support from community even more important).