News: SIGCSE Board Endorses SIGBP Formation

SIGCSE Board Endorses SIGBP Formation
The Executive Board of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) supports the formation of a new ACM Special Interest Group on Broadening Participation (SIGBP).

SIGCSE provides a forum for educators to discuss issues related to the development,implementation, and/or evaluation of computing programs, curricula, and courses, as well as syllabi, laboratories, and other elements of teaching and pedagogy. SIGCSE is the premier organization for computing education. It serves computer science teaching and education research faculty at all levels, and several of its activities focus on making introductory computing effective. SIGCSE collaborates with the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and with other teaching-oriented organizations in working to shape and improve computing education at all levels worldwide...

SIGCSE is interested in extending the reach and influence of computing and promoting computing education. SIGCSE leaders serve on various ACM Education committees. SIGCSE collaborates with CSTA, and has worked with CSTA on an NSF grant. SIGCSE has held a conference (ITiCSE) outside of the US annually since 1996. Our ICER workshop is held outside of the US every other year; in 2010 it was held in Denmark; in 2012 it will be held in New Zealand. SIGCSE grants in-cooperation status to numerous conferences, including the CCSC conferences, Koli Calling, and AAAI. Broadening participation efforts are in line with our goals of promoting and improving computing education broadly.

We are happy to write this letter to support the formation of the ACM SIGBP. As an organization of computing educators, we realize that there is need for a broad population engaged and educated in computing. Our conferences, including the SIGCSE Symposium, ITiCSE, and ICER, often include papers on broadening participation in computing. Our members hold leadership roles in NCWIT, NSF BPC and CPATH projects.

Although we feel very connected and committed to broadening participation in education, there are important communities that we do not serve and issues that we do not consider. There are issues of broadening participation in the workforce, for example, changing cultures to make it more appealing for people of all backgrounds to work and stay in computing fields. Raising interest in computing for people of all ages, from children to retirees, is not just a computing education effort. Researching methods for broadening participation in computing requires an understanding of a broader base of social science and computing research that overlaps with computing education research but has a different focus.

Related to these issues, we believe that there will be great benefit in creating a community of computing researchers that can advance the field of broadening participation through research. There is a need to establish rigor in this research area. There is a need for a community within which those interested in broadening participation can collaborate. The existence of SIGBP will bring respect to this research area and encourage others to pursue this area of study. Its existence will add credibility to the field. We support the formation of an ACM SIGBP and look forward to working together in the future.

Renée McCauley