Since launching in August 2021, the Utah Center for Inclusive Computing (UCIC) has positively impacted curriculum, recruiting, and student experience in the Kahlert School of Computing.
In Fall 2021, the School began offering students two options for getting started in computer science. The common path is CS 1400: Introduction to Computer Programming followed by CS 1410: Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming. This two-course sequence teaches students two of the most popular programming languages (Python followed by Java) and presents material at a pace designed to help inexperienced students make a successful start. The alternate path is CS 1420: Accelerated Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming. This Java-only programming course is designed for students who arrive most prepared for a computing major. Students come to the School from many different backgrounds. Providing options that meet students where they are has increased student success and satisfaction.
In Summer 2022, the School conducted its inaugural year of BUMP: Bridge Undergraduate Magnify Program. This two-week program is a brief introduction to the University of Utah, college life, and computing. The sessions are designed to prepare incoming freshmen for study at the University and success in one of the School's degree programs.
Student ambassadors represent UCIC at the School, College, University, and community level. They coordinate and execute events on campus to support current students and at local high schools to recruit future students.
With UCIC support, the School places retention TAs in the most critical introductory and required CS courses. A retention TA is a teaching assistant whose primary purpose is to promote retention of the students who are at risk of failing or withdrawing from a class, offering extra assistance to help such students understand and practice course concepts, and eventually, continue to the next CS course. This intervention has resulted in positive outcomes for students who engage directly with their retention TA.
With UCIC support, the School is developing a number of inclusivity modules. The modules are short videos for an audience of computing undergraduates, which handle issues of inclusivity. Attention-check and reflection questions assess student retention of the information. Each module responds to a specific experience or concern among students. Inclusivity modules currently under development address the topics of teamwork, confidence, and bias.