The goal of the NSF-funded FLIP (Diversifying Future Leadership in the Professoriate) Alliance is to address the broadening participation challenge of increasing the diversity of the future leadership in the professoriate in computing at research universities as a way to achieve diversity across the field.  In particular, the problem that we address is stark and straightforward: only 4.3% of the current tenure-track faculty in computing at these universities are from underrepresented groups.

The FLIP Alliance solution is equally stark and straightforward: we intentionally bring together the very small number of departments responsible for producing the majority of the professoriate with individuals and organizations that understand how to recruit, retain, and develop students from underrepresented groups in order to create a network that can quickly and radically change the demographic diversity of the professoriate across the entire field.

The challenge is important to address because diverse faculty contributes to academia in a number of critical ways:

  • Serve as excellent role models for a diverse study body
  • Bring diverse backgrounds to the student programs and policies developed by the department.  It is recognized that faculty generally set such policies and programs.
  • Bring diverse perspectives to the research projects and programs.

Further, in practice, key national leadership roles, such as serving on national committees that impact the field of computing, often come from research universities.

The FLIP Alliance consists of FLIP Advocates at the following institutions, which were found to be the largest producers of computer science faculty at research universities [based upon the analysis by Jeff Huang]:

  • Cornell University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • University of Texas
  • University of Washington

The FLIP Alliance is funded by an NSF INCLUDES grant awarded in 2017. This two-year grant provides the needed funding to launch and demonstrate the effectiveness of strategies focused on recruiting and retaining diverse doctoral students at the FLIP institutions. After two years, the FLIP Alliance will focus on strategic dimensions for scaling the effective programs. The principle investigators on the grant are Valerie Taylor (University of Chicago), Charles Isbell (Georgia Tech), and Jeffrey Forbes (Duke University), with Stafford Hood and Denice Hood at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as senior personnel to oversee the evaluation and assessment.

For questions regarding the FLIP Alliance contact: Valerie Taylor, CMD-IT Executive Director