Report co-authored by UW–Madison’s Jackson earns best paper honor at RESPECT 2020

UW-Madison’s Jerlando Jackson is the co-author of a report that received a best paper recognition at the 2020 Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) Conference.

Jerlando Jackson

Jackson is the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Higher Education and chair of the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He also is the director and chief research scientist of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory.

The paper being recognized is titled, “The iAAMCS Ecosystem: Retaining Blacks/African-Americans in CS PhD Programs.” (View the report here.) Co-authors on the report are Jeremy Waisome and Juan Gilbert, both with the University of Florida’s Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering.

The paper’s abstract explains that a “persistent challenge in computer science (CS) graduate education is the lack of representation, retention, and graduation of certain racial and ethnic groups. Despite increased enrollment in computer science departments across the United States, the persistence of Black/African-American students remains primarily unchanged since the mid-1990s, particularly at the doctoral degree level.”

It adds: “The Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS) is an NSF Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance (BPC-A) that provides a national ecosystem by connecting students and faculty through short and long-term programmatic activities to build community and advance Blacks/African-Americans in computing research. This paper presents an analysis of admissions and graduation data of Black/African-American CS PhD students from the CRA Taulbee surveys from 1995 to 2018.”

The findings, the abstract notes, “suggest that less than 50 percent of the Black/African-American students that enter CS PhD programs finish. However, of those Black/African-American CS PhD students that have engaged in iAAMCS activities, 86 percent completed their PhD.”

RESPECT 2020 was a virtual, international conference designed to serve as a premier venue for peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary research on broadening participation in computing (BPC).