About the CS-IDEA committee

Our mission

To attract and retain diverse students, staff, and faculty in computer science and engineering and help all students, staff, and faculty thrive within the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Minnesota.  

What we mean by diversity

We recognize our department’s responsibility to serve and support the following individuals and groups:

  • American Indians and other indigenous populations
  • People of color, including underrepresented groups and new immigrant populations
  • People with both apparent and non-apparent disabilities
  • People who identify as women
  • People of various gender and sexual identities and expressions
  • First-generation students
  • Students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds

We also address issues of access and climate for individuals who might encounter barriers based on their religious expression, age, national origin, ethnicity, or veteran status.  Furthermore, we recognize the importance of working with people who claim more than one of the above identities.

Committee meetings

The CS-IDEA holds open bi-weekly meetings during the academic year. If you are interested in how we can together make the CS&E department and the field of computer science in general more inclusive, diverse, and equitable, then please join us! Find information about our next meeting, along with links to other relevant activities on campus and beyond, on our Calendar.

2021-22 committee members:

Dan Keefe - IDEA Committee Chair/Faculty (he/him) 

Dan Keefe photo

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? It is important to know that this committee was not the starting point for "IDEA" work within our department. We have students and staff who have received university-level recognition for their work and faculty who have even received international-level recognition for their leadership in broadening participation across the larger field of computing. The goal of the committee is, in large part, to better support these champions. Why a committee? Well, students may not be aware, but the way that academic departments work is that new policies, admissions decisions, curriculum changes, webpage redesigns, and many other big initiatives get worked on in "committees". Faculty rotate and share the responsibility of serving on various committees--it's an official responsibility of the job. So, a few years ago, I proposed during a faculty meeting that we should form a committee to help us learn about and implement best practices for policies, curriculum, and training; advocate with a collective voice; and do more across the entire department to help our champions who have been doing amazing IDEA work for years. The timing coincided with (and the committee's work has been greatly assisted by) national-level efforts to broaden participation in computing (e.g., at NSF and bpcnet.org), college-level efforts to create the CSE D&I Alliance, BIPOC-led Twin City uprisings in support of racial justice, and discussions within our department about changes to our culture, policies, and more.

Debarati Das - Graduate Student (she/her)

Debarati Das photo

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? The CS-IDEA committee works collaboratively to encourage students and staff to grow in their own understanding of diversity and promote equal opportunity for all and this is something I am very passionate about.

Sean Dorr - Graduate Student (he/him)

Sean Dorr photo

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? Both my mother and grandmother dedicated their lives to creating opportunities for Native American children to thrive. Being raised by these women instilled in me the importance of having Native American voices present wherever our people are, and more importantly, where we are not. Walking in alignment with these teachings, I joined the CS-IDEA committee to ensure opportunities are in place for underrepresented bodies to flourish in computing, both today and tomorrow.

Favonia - Faculty (any pronoun)

Favonia photo

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? Because DEI cannot protect itself.

Mohamed Mokbel - Faculty (he/him)

Mohamed Mokbel

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? Believing that diversity, equity, and inclusion are keys to go forward, I would like to play a role in pushing and deploying our efforts of diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels.

Luc Nelson - Staff (he/him)

Luc Nelson photo

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? I wanted to serve on the CS-IDEA Committee to expand the equity, inclusion, and justice work we've already been doing on the CS&E student services team. Working directly with CS&E students, staff, and faculty on various projects to remove barriers and create a more welcoming environment for everyone within the department has been one of my most rewarding professional experiences. There is still much more work to do!

Eman Ramadan - Graduate Student (she/her)

Eman Ramadan photo

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? As part of an underrepresented group myself, I have always knew what it felt like and the issues such groups suffer from. When I see something, I always say/do something about it to fix it if I can, that's why I was so excited when I knew the department was starting its own committee for inclusion, diversity, equity, and advocacy. I felt there are many things we could do to have a better environment and culture for everyone to feel better and be supported during their study. Through the past years, I have seen how the department's leadership is eager, passionate, and ready to do what they can to support the same goal. We managed to accomplish few steps over the past couple of years, and we know there is still more to come, but we are on track.

Morgan Turner - Postdoctoral Associate (she/her)

Morgan Turner photo

Why did you decide to get involved in CS-IDEA committee? I joined the CS-IDEA committee to better understand current issues in the field of computing and to learn more about what can and should be done towards making meaningful progress on these issues.

2020-21 committee members:

Dan Keefe (chair), Debarati Das, Favonia, Maria Gini, Crystal King, Luc Nelson, Eman Ramadan, Ashmita Sharma, Allison Small, Loren Terveen, Morgan Turner

2019-20 committee members:

Dan Keefe (chair), Klarisse Andre De St Amant, Alisa Dean, Favonia, Victoria Interrante, Eman Ramadan, Ancy Tom, Shana Watters