2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

What Would You Do or Say? Interrupting Bias in Academic Settings

Presented at NEW SESSION Track : Learning Spaces, Pedagogy, & Curriculum Design Technical Session 8

Keywords: Computer Science, Information Technology, Gender

This session will introduce NCWIT's free “Interrupting Bias in Academic Settings” resource, a set of “real life” scenarios and supporting materials intended to help people become bias interrupters in their classrooms and academic departments. Although NCWIT focuses on gender and computing, the scenarios and recommendations are applicable to other fields and under-represented populations.

Intervening when we witness bias can be challenging; we may be reluctant to appear confrontational, or be afraid of saying the wrong thing. But unfortunately, even subtle instances of bias can discourage students and colleagues from under-represented groups from entering or persisting in computing and other fields. The good news is that we are more likely to act if we have had the opportunity to practice. This session will begin with a short primer on unconscious bias and its implications for women’s participation in computing. Then, we will use scenarios from the “Interrupting Bias in Academic Settings” resource to start a discussion about practical ways to intervene when we see bias occurring. In addition to reflecting on their own responses to bias, attendees will have been introduced to an activity they can bring back to their home institutions. Along with the scenarios, this easy-to-use resource includes suggested approaches for interrupting bias, tips for facilitating a discussion, and recommended readings. A supporting video and a slide deck can be downloaded from NCWIT’s website.

  1. Dr. Gretchen Achenbach University of Virginia [biography]
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