Diversity Action Plan

Students in computer lab

Diversity Committee

  • Aisha Ali-Gombe
  • Robert Hammell
  • Sidd Kaza
  • Alex Wijesinha

Our goals to increase diversity in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences will follow our college’s goals as indicated below.

FCSM Goals

  • increasing the quality and diversity of our students, faculty and staff while increasing retention, curriculum initiatives, scholarship and research
  • attending to climate, recruitment and retention of students, staff and faculty of various ages, career experiences, nationalities, philosophies and viewpoints, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, gender, disabilities and race

Using the above goals in the FCSM plan for diversity as a guideline, the COSC plan will initially focus on the following two areas:

  1. student recruitment — increase efforts to improve student diversity in our undergraduate and graduate programs
  2. faculty retention and recruitment  improve the feedback process from faculty evaluations for reappointment, tenure and promotion

Student Recruitment

Increase efforts to improve undergraduate student diversity with respect to minorities/underrepresented groups. Our ongoing recruitment effort focuses on women, low income, and African-American/Hispanic/Native American populations. This is accomplished through the department website, K-12 initiatives and open house events. We will also continue current efforts for improving diversity in these areas.

Current Efforts

Department recruitment efforts to increase underrepresented populations in the computing majors (ongoing):

  • faculty representative/contact for the Annual Minorities in Engineering Day held at Lockheed Martin in Manassas, Virginia
  • faculty representative for Towson University at the High School Cyber security Expo and Career Fair in conjunction with the Annual Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition held at the Johns Hopkins applied physics laboratory
  • department representatives at Towson University’s Information Fair Session Open House Event
  • advisor to Towson University’s Chapter of National Society of Black Engineers (Computing)
  • co-advisor to Towson University’s Minority Science and Technology Club (Computing)
  • faculty judge at the Historical Black Colleges and Universities — STEM Undergraduate Research
  • Towson University’s faculty coordinator to the minorities in science and research conference sponsored by the Career Communications Group
  • speaker at Park School, 7th Grade Life Skills Program (the title of presentation is “Social Impact and Cyber-Ethics”)

Department Recruitment efforts to increase underrepresented populations in the Computing Majors (in progress):

  • Towson University/Department of Computer and Information Sciences and CyberSTEM will hold a summer camp for high school during the weeks of July 23rd and July 30th of 2012.
  • CIS STEM Outreach Program Working with Notre Dame Prep School and Western High School, we will offer hands-on, interactive activities for middle and high school students in engineering and computer programming.
  • CIS department is planning to participate in the Grace Hopper Celebration 2012 Academic Sponsorship.
  • CIS department is establishing a relationship with the Y of Central Maryland STEM Initiatives.

Tracking Progress

The department has obtained baseline data on current enrollments for these groups. It will monitor these enrollments on an annual basis to determine the effectiveness of our activities.

Student Enrollment Data

The data for our current students (on the FCSM website) and the CoSMIC Scholars program (given below) will be used as a starting point to identify areas in which improvements can be made.

CoSMIC Scholars Program

CoSMiC Scholars in Current Grant Period by Ethnicity and Gender*

Gender African American Asian White
Male 2 3 20
Female 13 1 13

*NOTE: Not reported male = 5, female = 10; Total male = 29, total female = 37

CoSMiC Scholars in Current Grant Period By Gender and Major

Gender Science Mathematics Computer Sciences
Male 5 8.5 17.5
Female 17 13 5

Note: Differences in the totals above may be due to listing of double majors.

Faculty Retention and Recruitment

Retention Efforts

Following the annual and third-year evaluations, the department chair, P&T chair and the faculty mentor will meet with the faculty member to convey the results of the evaluation and discuss strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to provide an appreciation of the faculty member’s contributions and to help identify areas (if any) that need to be improved. The participation of the department and P&T chairs and the mentor will provide better feedback concerning the evaluation to the faculty member. While the above measures apply to COSC faculty, they will also help provide a better environment for feedback and open discussion. This will enable the department to more closely address and meet the individual needs of its diverse faculty members.

Recruitment Efforts

The COSC department has successfully followed equal opportunity policies and procedures as evidenced by the diversity of its faculty members. Search committees assisted by other faculty make special efforts to ensure that advertisements also reach potential candidates that are members of underrepresented groups and minorities. The department will continue to follow and evaluate the success of its current approach in recruiting faculty.