Computing is for Everyone
My, name is Osso, Ziegler I'm the head of MIT. S Department, of Electrical Engineering and computer science and. Also at co-chair, for today's. Event it's, my distinct, pleasure to introduce our, next speaker president, Maria Ave, Maria. Chloe is a renowned, computer, scientist, mathematician and, scholar she, became the fifth president of Harvey Mudd College in, 2006. And she's the first woman, to, lead the college previously. She served as, Dean of engineering and professor of computer science at Princeton University. She, joined Princeton, from University, of British Columbia where. She served in various roles from 88 to 2002. Earlier. She spent eight years with IBM research in California, and two years at University, of Toronto, she. Earned a bachelor's degree, and a PhD both, in mathematics, from. University, of Alberta she. Has made significant, research contributions in. Several areas of computer science and mathematics including. Functional. Analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical. Computer science and human and computer interaction. President. Klava is a renowned, lecturer, and has spoken widely about diversity, in science technology. Engineering and mathematics about. Gender in gaming, and about lessons, from her own career in stem industry, and education in, recent years she has devoted particular, attention to improving K through 12 science, and mathematics, education, President. Chloe is a board member of the non profit mat for America, chair, of the board of the non profit organization. IDI reports, org a fellow, of the American Academy of, Arts and Sciences a trustee. For the mathematical, sciences Research, Institute, at. Berkeley, and a member of the Canada, excellence research chairs selection. Board she, has won numerous awards, I'm. Just gonna say. A couple of them she's, the recipient of the 2014, women. Of vision a B award for. Leadership from the Anita Borg Institute and. Was ranked 17th. Unfortunates. 2014. List of the world's 50 greatest leaders. In. 2015. She was honored with the Lifetime Achievement, Award, from the Canadian, Association of computer science, and the achievement, award from the American Association of university, women and she, was inducted into the us new stem solutions, leadership Hall of Fame she, was honored by the CRS 2016. Distinguished, Service Award we're, delighted that President, Chloe is here to share her unique insights in this historic, symposium, in, fact the title of her talk beautifully. Sums up our overarching theme for the day computing, is for everyone so please join me in welcoming. So. First of all it's a thrill to be here I. Am. Incredibly, excited. About the fact that MIT is, starting, the, Schwartzman, college of computing I think there are huge opportunities for. Certainly. All educational. Institutions. In the, United States and, elsewhere. Around the world and. Particularly. As president, of Harvey Mudd College it's, really nice to be here to talk to you about, computing. Is for everyone so. The first thing I will say is. One. Of my I'm. Old I am, 67. At this point and so I'm of an age that, when I was growing up I. Anyone. Else my, age here, I know I have a bunch of friends here. Thank. You I'm of an age that you know when I was growing up people said to me all the time girls, aren't good at math, it. Was just like what. Everyone said and I, loved, math I loved. Other things as well art. English. All. Areas, of science but I particularly loved math and. When. I. Started. As an honors math major at, the University, of Alberta, my. Professors, would say to me Maria, we just don't understand, why you want to be a mathematician. There. Are no good female mathematicians. Now. They. Knew and I knew that, I was one of the top two students math students, they had had in a decade so they were not telling me that I wasn't good at math what. They were saying was you. Are good at so many other things as well, why would you pick math when, you're gonna face all of this bias throughout, your career. Now. I happen to be extraordinarily stubborn. Everyone. And my family knows that if you want to get Maria to do anything, you, tell her she shouldn't do it. My. Kids especially have used this against me many times. So. I think, one of the consequences, of, feeling. That way is that. From. Very early on I, was absolutely determined, that.
Women. Should. Be as welcome, and as supported, in math, and all the other areas of science, and engineering, where. They. Are not, well represented, and. Growing. Up in Canada I was much less, aware, of issues around race. Just. Because it's. A different country it has a different, culture, this, is not to say that we don't have racial discrimination. We certainly do particularly. Around. First, Nations Aboriginal, peoples, but. It's, just not the, same kind of issue that it is in the US and so when. When. I moved to Princeton as dean of engineering at, the beginning of 2003. All, of a sudden I was sort of like oh yeah gender is really important, but oh my goodness the question of under-representation. Is. Really. More. Important. For, black, people and a, lot of next people and Native. Americans, and so on so I. Have. Spent most of my life as. An. Adult. Yes, I love math and theoretical, computer science, I love doing research on up teaching but. My passion is to really change the culture of Science, and Engineering so. That we support, everybody, who brings ability, and passion, and hard work and, when. I moved from Princeton, to Harvey. Mudd College. I remember. Shirley, Tilghman who was the president princess, how can you do that, you're supposed to go be present at Yale or Michigan. Or MIT. Or something and, I, said well. Actually, for. What I care about I think how we influence at education. The, culture, that we. Demonstrate. In, how. We educate our, undergraduates. In particular, is one, of the best ways that we can shift the culture of STEM, fields to. Be more inclusive, and supportive of everyone, and. Shirley. Was not convinced, and in. Fact the, thing I have learned from going to Harvey Mudd College is, I. Get. An enormous amount of credit and I've won a lot of awards for. The stuff that our faculty and staff, and students have done Harvey Mudd. Let, me just tell you for real presidents. Do nothing. Well. Actually they ask for money. Sometimes. They get money, they. Make some choices in terms of you, know ku you appoint to positions, and so on but. The most important, thing a leader. Institution. Can do is, enable. The participants. In that institution. Which are really the faculty staff and students, alumni. Members. Of the board of the corporation, so and so forth can. Get them inspired about. Doing. Something, and then. Support. Them and enabling, to do that so that's what the College of Computing is all about and I. Am I feel very lucky to be here to. Talk about some things that I'm super passionate about which, is how, do we teach computer. Science data. Science, in a, way that, everybody can. Be engaged and supported so. Everyone. Needs to learn, everyone. Can learn. But. Our challenges, are and, I'm. Gonna say this at the end of my talk but I'll say it now we, hold the keys to the future I. Really. Mean that we, as the people who, are the leaders, both. In. Creating. The technology and. In teaching the technology. And in moving towards, interdisciplinary. Collaboration. Between. Computer. Science and data science, mathematics engineering, and, other, areas, where the, people who either make it possible for everyone to learn or not. So. What. Do we need to do we. Need to. Really. Think about the pedagogy, and I mean I both face-to-face as, well as hybrid. And online technologies. The. Curriculum, and the, culture, that, we, put forward to enable everyone, and.
As. Everybody. Who, is involved with any area, of computer science education right now knows, we. Have an exponentially. Growing demand, for. Access to, this, content and. We. Have to figure out to meet how to meet that so, I'm. Not going to solve these problems but. I'm gonna give you two hopefully, compelling. Examples. Of efforts. Towards. Addressing, a component of these problems so. I'm. Gonna tell you about the, braid project, which is a project for, computer, science departments, that we've been working, on for. The last four and a half years, and I'm gonna tell you about. Bridge. To DSCs. Which you can read as. Ether. Bridge to data science and computer science or bridge. Between two disciplines and, the. Idea, is to increase supply, of faculty, who, really can teach computer, science as both. Computer. Science for. Compute. Prospective. Computer science majors but also teach computer, computational. Techniques, within their home discipline, so. First of all braid. So. In. The, summer of 2014. I was giving a plenary at. Snowbird. Which is a, conference. Put on every two years by. The computing, Research Association and, the, primary, attendees, are. Department. Chairs or if you have a school. Or a college of computer science. Dean's and. My. Topic that I had been asked to talk about was. Increasing. Diversity in computer, science, now. I talk about this a lot. It's, because I care about it a lot but it's also because my home institution has. Been remarkably. Successful in, increasing. Participation. Of women in not. Just computer science but also physics, and engineering and, we. Have graduated, for the last two years our computer, science majors, that, we graduated, were more, than 50% female, and. We've. Done that physics, as well and we've done that in engineering, engineering, tends to go back and forwards a bit between about 45. Percent female, to 55, percent female, and. We're. Also our, computer, science faculty is, 50 percent female, and. Our faculty overall, is 40 percent female, so, we've done a lot for, women but, we also have, increasingly.
Diverse. Students. Majoring. In computer science so African. American, and Latin X students as well as Native Americans, and others so. I, was. Invited to give this talk and before. I started, the talk I. Realized. That it wasn't a good idea just to talk about what had happened to Harvey Mudd, because. People can look at Harvey Mudd just, as they can look at MIT and they could say oh you're a really, unique institution, in my, case they'll say well, you have a female, computer, scientist, who cares about diversity, as a president, or, they. Will say oh you. Were you're, recruiting. The top, students. Undergraduate, students, in the country I'm from around the world and of course you can do it there they would say that about MIT as well and so, on, so. Instead, of just talking about Mudd I chose. Six. Universities. And took, a look at what they had done to encourage, more. Women to major in their areas so. It. Will not surprise you that MIT and CMU or on that list as. Institutions. That had, very. Good numbers of women graduating. In, terms of the percentage of CS. Degrees. University. Of Washington the University of British Columbia and, large public universities, also, on that list. Harvey. Mudd but. The one that was probably most interesting, is. Cal. Poly San Luis Obispo, and the, reason Cal Poly's interesting, is that. They. Managed, to get from 12% female, in their CS major to 29%. In, five, years and they. Did that. Starting. In 2008. Now I, think everyone here is old enough to remember what happened in, 2008-2009. We. Had a recession and. The. Funds for public institutions. State universities, were cut dramatically. Including. In California, so, they did it at a time. When. So. They're ready they weren't a rich institution, in the first place but they did it at a time when, it was particularly difficult in, terms, of resources and I, looked at what those. Six. Universities, well. Six universities. Take. That back for universities, one Institute one college had done and. I. Pulled out the commonalities. And as. I'm giving my talk I. Realized. That, I had, a ton of. Department. Chairs. Including. Several new department, chairs because one of the things that happens at Snowbird. Is there's, a program for new department, chairs and so I said, towards. The end of the talk I said the, first ten department. Chairs that say they want to try these things within their departments, I will. Help you raise money. In. Order to do, some of the things like sending your students, to the hopper conference in the chappy a conference, and. When. I finished my talk there were eleven department, chairs who, had volunteered within. Two minutes of each other and. Then. A week later I found the other four within. That same period of time who are in my junk mail folder. But. In any case I ended up with 15 and those, are the universities, that you can see there and, the hugely, varying. Places. So UCI, UC Irvine and University. Of, Maryland. College Park those. Are highly. Regarded. CS, departments. NJIT. University. Of North, Texas, University. Of nebraska-lincoln, those. Are ones that are going to have University. Of illinois-chicago. Those, are going to be places with a lot less resources. But. Any any how. Mostly. Public a few privates. And. I. Then, set out to actually do something about raising, the money that I have promised, and, within, three days I had commitments, from Microsoft. Google and Facebook and then. I found the other four department, chairs in. My junk mail folder and, I, then was able to get Intel to join the group now.
One Of the things that happened. Early. On Brad, Smith who's the president of Microsoft at, the time I was on the Microsoft Board so. Brad. Did not want Microsoft, to be giving money to Harvey, Mudd College to distribute, because that. Would be a conflict of interest with my being, board. Member of a public company so. He said Maria why don't you partner with some other organizations so. We can give the money to the other organization. They, can distribute, it and then we won't have to put it. You. Know on our no conflict, list, and, the. Other thing he said is you, know since we're right at the beginning of this why, don't you find a researcher, who would like to study what happens in these departments over. You. Know the, period of this project, so. I got on the phone so I, got. On the phone to telle Whitney who was the CEO if they need to Borg. Institute and, asked, her she'd like to do this and she said yes so they're. Now have rebound. Rebranded. As Anita B dot org but they became the partner and. I. Reached, out to Jane Margolis who, many of you will know from, her. Work with Allen Fisher in studying. Why, so, few women were majoring computer science at CMU. In the mid-90s, I, reached, out to Jane, said, are. You interested in being the researcher, and she said no I've got way too much of my hands with Explorer CS, what she was leading she. Said but there's this other person. In my. Department at UCLA Linda, Sachs and I think she'd be great so, the next day I had a phone call with Linda now. I have, um. Fortunately. Had a lot of experience, working with, educational. Researchers, and the. Reason I say this is the first time I tried to do this. What's. The right thing sometimes, they are very suspect. Suspicious, of. Technologists. Who want to partner in research because technologists. Don't have a clue about their methods and. Unfortunately. Because I had 10 years of work doing this before when. I'm on was on the phone with Linda I was, you. Know I to, have a great conversation with her and she. It was clear when we started the phone call she didn't think this was gonna be something she wanted to do and by the end of the phone call she was going yeah, this is great, so. I. Claimed. Entire, success not just for Linda and for her entire research team who are leading the world in, really. Trying to understand, what attracts, and supports, people. Women. People of color and so on in computer, science. They have been phenomenal so. So. The actions, that I described, in which the, department. Chairs had to agree that they would take on were. One. Make, your introductory, course engaging. And supportive. For everyone, and I'll, save a little bit in a moment about what that means to, build confidence and community, among, the members of your underrepresented groups. Do. Outreach, to, high. School teachers and students, and, for. Those institution. For it makes sense ie, is feasible promote, joint majors, with disciplines, such as biology and psychology, in. Other words. Disciplines. Were though be a lot more women and people of color. Computer. Science now. Let, me talk about making, the intro course engaging and supportive so. One. Of the things we know from research is that both. Women and people of color are, much more likely to be attracted, to areas like computer, science and, engineering, if you.
Are Demonstrating, to. Them how what they are learning is actually. Important, in solving, the problems that face the world when. They see that, they can use the knowledge and. Work. On something that matters, it's. Just a lot more compelling. It's. Also the case that women. And, people. Of color are, much less likely to feel a lack of confidence, when. They start, an intro CS class and if. You have a couple of people in that course who. Like, I did when I was a young math major want, to answer every question and ask every, question and, dominate. The. Air time that's. Extremely. Discouraging. For, people, who, feel like they. Don't know nearly as much they, don't have as much to offer, so. They're all kinds, of ways that you can change your classroom, so that. That doesn't happen I mean. There's, separating. By section according to prior. Experience. Prior knowledge in, the discipline, because computer. Science is one of the areas where there's just a huge disparity. I mean there are people who are starting at MIT or at Harvey Mudd who have, almost. The equivalent of a computer science undergraduate degree, already in terms of just the amount of experience they've had and there are people who have never written on line of code and you put those two people in the same classroom, and it, just is not fair actually, to either of them. Another. Thing we do in the intro class is we, make it very modular because. One, of the things is suppose, I get the flu one week and I don't do well that, particular in that particular section of the course if that's, going to screw up my performance for the entire rest of the course that is not a good thing so trying. To make it possible, for. If you didn't particularly, understand. If-then-else, statements, or some other. Key. Idea. About, coding. It doesn't matter when you get to the next session. So. What. Happened well we, managed to raise enough money so that we're able to give every department, about well. We exactly. $30,000, per year. Now. I would say the amount of work that. Departments, actually did, was more like a couple of hundred thousand dollars worth of work but. The thing that that thirty thousand, made a difference, for were, the things that it was not easy for them to do so, for example departments. Routinely, work, on revising curriculum. Or. You. Know. Having. A club for, women in computer science or for people of color in computer science what, they don't have resources for, is to send 25 students, to the Tapia conference for, people, who. For. People, of color and people with disabilities, or to the Grace Hopper celebration or, to bring in perhaps. Speakers. So. They can have role, models for their students to see. So, they, get thirty thousand, dollars per year it's, pretty small I mean think about how far that would go at MIT and, remember, you know some of these departments, like ASU. Arizona State, University, they're humongous okay, and, in. Exchange, they. Participate. In qualitative. And quantitative, research and, that's, actually a pretty large, commitment. So for example we have been surveying, the, students in the intro course, and. Then doing follow-up, surveys. With those students as, they as they go on for. And we will continue probably, that until those students actually graduate, from. College. It's. A big commitment. They. Also and, I, think this is probably one of the most important, things in terms of the, effectiveness, of what has happened is. That, the. Chairs commit, to coming to a two-day workshop, it's, held Harvey Mudd College every summer and sharing, experiences.
We. Have had participation. From several of the. Six. Universities. Institutes and colleges that I mentioned at the beginning I. Being. They're as people. Who are helpful, we have also participants. From some, of our partner, organizations CRA. NCWIT. Command. It and so on. We. Have every, year about eight universities, that would love to be part of the project so their affiliates, so they don't actually get any money but they come to the summit, so. The. Big question of course is did. It make a difference so. One, thing I should mention is every, single department, has seen a significant. Growth in CS enrollments, that's happening everywhere, but. One of the things that we know in the past is that when we have had growth, in enrollment. Participation. By women has, declined. So. If. You see the growth in enrollment going up like this, then. What, happens is. The. Growth of women goes down like that so. One, of the things that I'm, totally thrilled about is that after. Four years and, remember, the first year of that floor was mostly, dedicated to getting things in place like, changing the intro class so. If we look at the growth 14. Out of 15 schools, are like this like they're. Really. Statistically. Significant. More growth in women than, overall. One. Is pretty much way right on the line if, we, look at people of color. About. Half or above. About. Half are at or slightly below, one. Of the reasons. Remember, these are very diverse, institutions. And so we have some institutions, that are in very white places, we have some institutions, like UNT, and UTEP, that are ready very significantly. Minority, and so it's. Less likely that would see growth there. So. We. Now have an absolutely, massive data, set to be analyzed from all the data that's being collected our. Current, initiative, and summer 2020. And. The. Goal is that we hope that will actually expand. To about 50, departments, after. We end this probably, a slightly small. Financial. Contribution. To. Each department maybe 20k. Because. That means we literally, need to have would, need to have on the order of million dollars a year to do this but. I think. The thing we have demonstrated is that we, have known for a very long time what, departments, needed to do to increase the. Participation of, women in people of color and hasn't, happened, and what we know now is if, we, engage the chairs if we give them a small amount of money and if we treat, them as a cohort, so they are, informing. Each other it works ok, very briefly. The. Postdoc program, so. I. Think, we all know that, industry, is hiring, recent. PhDs, in computer science as well as existing computer, science faculty members, at salaries. Two three four times what. Academia, can. Pay and while, some, places who. Are very affluent like perhaps MIT, and, Stanford, Princeton. Might. Have a hope at competing though, actually, I don't think it's really feasible given the whole structure of academic, salaries overall the. Vast majority of institutions, can't compete and. It. Takes too long to. Take. A student. Entering. As an undergraduate, to when they will get a PhD in computer science and, the demand from industry, is basically. Infinite. So, we're going to fix this somehow we need to find a way to provide people so. As. As. Sue said my PhDs, in mathematics. I've. Got. A tenure track job at a math department. After. I did, my PhD I, hated, it, because, I was teaching students, who couldn't add fractions. Advanced. Calculus, I. Went. Back after one year after my PhD to, start a second PhD in computer, science at the University of Toronto they, hired me as a faculty member at the end of nine months. I. Had. Never written a line of code or read, a computer science, but. Before I went there believe. Me I worked really hard. So. The, idea, is there. Are tons, of people who are getting PhDs. And, other areas of science and engineering who, really, want to be an academic who.
Are Gifted at research, and gifted at teaching. Let's. Give them that opportunity, let's. Give them an opportunity to, learn a little bit of computer, science but particularly, how, to teach, computer science, in inclusive, ways, so. We're gonna start a postdoc, at Mudd hopefully. In summer 2020, you might have seen summer 20/20, before so. This is, transitioning. Our. Energy. Towards this and. Our. Goal is to prove that it works at mud in particular, prove that, these. People get good, academic, jobs and then, we're gonna scale up to probably about 15 top, computer, science departments, around the country and. We currently have an external advisory committee. Which has people from MIT and, Stanford, or Northeastern and northwestern, and Princeton, and Georgia, Tech and, I could go on and on and so. This. Is our goal to do this and. Really. Prove. That. You. Don't have to take 7 or 9 or 10 years to generate somebody, who could be a huge, asset to. Not just computer, science but through their home discipline, as well so. Ok, call to action. We. Are the, people who are. Controlling the future of the world we. Are the people who, will. Figure. Out whether. Or not, learning. Approaches. Pedagogy, culture, curriculum, actually. Is accessible, to everyone and by, everyone I want to talk about people who are currently in, some. Non CS related, job right now and haven't had math since high school or. Maybe since the first year of college. We. Are the people who can take that on or not. We. Know that no single institution is going to solve this problem it's one of the reasons I'm so happy that MIT. Is launching the college of computing, because. I think they're, a very well-known flagship, Institute, and if, they work on these things with the rest of us that's going to be very helpful, we. Know that computer, science will not solve this problem by itself it's, something, that we actually have to do collectively, and we also know that academia, cannot, do it without help from industry, and government. Thank. You very much, do. We have time for questions. Okay. One question. Hi. Karen. So. The question is are we doing. Long, to traditional work so yes that's, what Linda, Sachs and her team is doing and yes, they are looking at that issue and. Explicitly. Whether. The approaches. Do affect the confidence, of whether that is correlated, what they're staying because, they're, studying students who chose to major in computer science and also those who didn't after, the intro course and so that's, one of the really key questions and. I, know there's, a lot more stuff to happen it's fantastic, to be here and MIT. You have my very very best wishes.