The BRAID initiative (Building, Recruiting, And Inclusion for Diversity), co-led by AnitaB.org and Harvey Mudd College, launched in September 2014 in partnership with 15 universities across the nation.
Since 2014, 15 CS departments (“BRAID Schools”) under the leadership of their department chairs have committed to implementing a combination of four commitments in efforts to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups — racial/ethnic minorities and women — in their undergraduate CS programs.
As a part of this initiative, a UCLA Research team — led by Dr. Linda Sax — is conducting a mixed-methods longitudinal study of departmental changes with respect to these commitments across the 15 annual BRAID Schools. The research team is collecting data from students, faculty, staff, department chairs, and administrators in order to answer a variety of research questions related to attracting and retaining women and underrepresented minority students in computing majors. See the latest research updates, as presented at the 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration.
2019 will usher in the fifth year of this study, supported in part by the National Science Foundation. The four BRAID commitments are strategies that BRAID Beacon Schools — institutions leading the way in gender diversity within their CS departments — had implemented prior to the start of this initiative. Each BRAID School receives an annual stipend to support the implementation of their commitments, funded by leading technology companies and AnitaB.org.
BRAID Schools act to address a minimum of three of the following commitments:
- Modify introductory CS courses to make them more appealing and less intimidating to underrepresented students.
- Lead outreach programs for high school teachers and students to build a diverse pipeline of students.
- Build confidence and community among underrepresented students.
- Develop and/or promote joint majors in areas like CS and biology that are attractive to underrepresented students.
Read more on activities BRAID Schools are undertaking.
Learn more about the results of the BRAID initiative.
BRAID is funded by Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and IBM. The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) are nonprofit partners on the BRAID initiative.
Beacon Schools are model institutions that have been successful at increasing the diversity of their undergraduate computing programs. The BRAID program was designed, in part, around the successes seen at our Beacon Schools which include: California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, Harvey Mudd College, University of British Columbia, and University of Washington.
Beacon Schools Successfully Guide and Advise BRAID Schools
|School||Years||Change in Representation||Unit of Measurement|
|Cal Poly-SLO||2008-2016||8% to 27% (Computer Science)
9% to 29% (Software Engineering)
|Women admitted to programs|
|Harvey Mudd College||2006-2016||12% to 47.5%||Women majoring in computing|
|University of British Columbia||1997-2016||16% to 32%||Women majoring in computing|
|University of Washington||2007-2015||19% to 33%||Women majoring in computing|
Sources: BRAID Beacon school chairs, publicly reported data, and report on Beacon school rate of change by Kaitlin Splett, UCLA.
|Arizona State University||Missouri University of Science and Technology||New Jersey Institute of Technology|
|University of California, Irvine||University of Illinois at Chicago||University of Maryland, Baltimore County|
|University of Maryland, College Park||University of Nebraska-Lincoln||University of North Texas|
|University of Rochester||University of South Carolina||University of Texas at El Paso|
|University of Vermont||University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee||Villanova University|
Affiliates are institutions that have committed to increasing the diversity of their computing departments, but do not receive funding through the BRAID initiative. Affiliates participate in BRAID for one year, during which they learn best practices from our BRAID Schools. They also participate in the annual BRAID Summit in July which gathers together all the BRAID stakeholders for two and a half days of discussion, ideation, and inspiration.
Apply to become a BRAID Affiliate. Applications close April 10, 5 p.m. PT.
The BRAID Affiliates program continues to gain popularity! Check out our current and past affiliate institutions.