BRAID: A Diversity Program

We are now accepting applications for new BRAID Affiliate schools. Apply now.

The BRAID (Building, Recruiting, And Inclusion for Diversity) initiative, co-led by and Harvey Mudd College, launched in September 2014 in partnership with 15 universities across the nation. BRAID provides support to computer science (CS) departments to help increase the percentage of women and underrepresented minority students in their undergraduate computing programs, which will subsequently improve diversity in the computing talent pipeline.

Each of the 15 BRAID schools are required to take action 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.

These schools also participate in a groundbreaking research study that documents the changes that take place within these departments over the life of the initiative.

Learn more about the results of BRAID.

BRAID is funded by Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Qualcomm, with additional research funds provided by the Computing Research Association (CRA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). 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.

BRAID Research

Dr. Linda J. Sax heads the BRAID Research Team at UCLA. Dr. Sax is leading a truly unprecedented, longitudinal, multi-institution study of diversity and inclusion best practices in computer science education. The BRAID 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. The BRAID research team has seen remarkable success and response rates in the data gathering process and is continuously producing and disseminating the fascinating findings of their research. For even more information on this incredible study, visit the BRAID research team’s website.

BRAID Beacons

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.

15 BRAID Institutions

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

BRAID Affiliates Program

Academics at the 2016 BRAID Summit

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.

The BRAID Affiliates program continues to gain popularity—we had a record number of Affiliate applications for 2017! The following eight schools were selected as our 2017 BRAID Affiliate Schools: California State University-Long Beach, Duke University, McGill University, San Francisco State University, University of St. Andrews, University of Florida, University of California-Los Angeles, and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Interested in becoming a BRAID Affiliate? Apply now.