2020 EDSIG Proceedings: Abstract Presentation

Preparing Information System and Computing Professionals in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Li-Jen Lester
Sam Houston State University

Yaprak Dalat Ward
Fort Hays State University


While many universities have sound policies and practices on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in place, most often, these practices do not go beyond Diversity, the full spectrum of demographic differences. The aspects, Equity, and Inclusion, described as treating individuals fairly and respectfully with equal access to opportunities and resources, creating a culture of belonging, are frequently neglected. It comes as no surprise that SHRM's 2020 Conference (SHRM, 2020) is entitled INCLUSION 2020 and in capital letters. This title clearly demonstrates the paramount work that awaits organizations and universities alike. Integrating the DEI culture in the purpose, function and delivery of universities can better equip today's leaders and in turn, transform students, giving them a global mindset as they settle in their respective fields.

This research-in-progress aims to explore the teachings of DEI at a Computer Science Department of a research university in Texas. The first starting points of this research was the limited literature on teachings of DEI. While data on demographics in Computer Science programs are available annually, these reports do not reflect teachings of Diversity.

The second starting point for the research was that the university in question had already adapted the five-year Engaging Classrooms Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), as part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to increase student success and student learning experience. The university had partially implemented one of the QEP assessments, EPIC (Exposure, Persuasion, Identification, Commitment), and to examine faculty perceptions on Active Learning, Assessment, and Inclusivity regarding identifying the environment supporting student learning. Although 28 faculty members from different departments had been surveyed, the CS department was not assessed due to COVID-19. Of the faculty surveyed, less than 50% scored significantly low on Inclusivity Practices based on the following four criteria: 1. Designing class content to represent contributions of people from diverse backgrounds; 2. fostering an environment in which all students play an important role; 3. making efforts to cultivate a scientific community among my students; and 4. incorporating culturally diverse and relevant examples into my teaching.

Coupled with the limited literature on the teachings of DEI, and low levels of Inclusivity Practices led the researchers to explore the issues related to DEI in the CS department at three levels: 1. Students: Scanning CS curricula to determine the teachings of DEI competencies in the areas of Understanding Implicit Bias, Microaggression Development and Understanding, Cultural Competency, Promotion of Civility, Social Justice Development, Organizational Learning, and Youth Development (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, n.d.); 2. Course Design: Reviewing all courses from a DEI perspective (accessibility and usability for all learners) using Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric (2014); and 3. Faculty Inclusivity Practices: Assessing faculty using EPIC. The only level which was completed so far was level 1 of the research. The existing CS courses were scanned for DEI competencies. Although one course, Professionalism and Ethics included modules covering Ethics, Intellectual Property, Internet of Things, Privacy, and Regulations, the DEI competencies were not present.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. (n.d.). DEI Competency Areas. https://dei.extension.org/dei-competency-areas/

QEP Assessment Report (2020). Engaging Classrooms QEP. Unpublished, SHSU. https://www.shsu.edu/qep/new/index.html

Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric (2014). Design Standards for Online and Blended Courses. MarylandOnline, Inc.

Reynolds, G. W. (2019). Ethics in information technology (6th.ed.). Cengage.

SHRM (2020). INCLUSION 2020 Conference. https://conferences.shrm.org/inclusion/?utm_campaign=conf_small_conference~inclusion2020~digital&utm_content=107109055918&gclid=Cj0KCQjws536BRDTARIsANeUZ5_PrkmZrI1gUTFnNCw7PBnptDm7JQDhf3BCDi3WcO2eVhw_YfCF-eAaAm0NEALw_wcB