Division of Computer and Network Systems
Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC)
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The Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program aims to significantly increase the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents receiving post secondary degrees in the computing disciplines, with an emphasis on students from communities with longstanding underrepresentation in computing. Those underrepresented groups are women, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. The BPC program seeks to engage the computing community to develop and implement innovative methods, frameworks, and strategies to improve recruitment and retention of these students through undergraduate and graduate degrees. Projects that target stages of the academic pipeline from middle school through the early faculty ranks are welcome. New with this solicitation is the emphasis on national impact: All BPC projects must have the potential for widespread impact. That is, they should either develop an effective practice that could be widely deployed or they should deploy existing effective practices so as to reach larger audiences.
The BPC program will support three categories of awards: Alliances, Demonstration Projects, and Leveraging, Scaling, or Adapting Projects.
Alliance and Alliance Extension Projects are broad coalitions of academic institutions of higher learning, secondary (and possibly middle) schools, government, industry, professional societies, and other not-for-profit organizations that design and carry out comprehensive programs addressing underrepresentation in the computing disciplines. They have a large regional or national scope. Typically, Alliances operate across multiple stages of the academic pipeline and address multiple targeted groups. Together, Alliance participants (1) develop and implement interventions that support students and early career faculty, (2) create sustainable changes in culture and practices at the institutional, departmental, and organizational levels, (3) serve as models and contribute to repositories for effective practices to broaden participation, and (4) leverage the work of existing BP efforts and other Alliances. Competitive projects will have significant impact both in the quality of opportunities afforded to participants and in the number of participants potentially served. Successful Alliances are eligible to compete for additional funding: an Alliance Extension increases the duration of the Alliance award as well as its scope, introducing additional targeted student groups, partners, and/or projects.
Demonstration Projects (DPs) are more focused than Alliance projects. Typical DPs pilot innovative programs that, once fully developed, could be incorporated into the activities of an Alliance or otherwise scaled for widespread impact. Projects might, for example, be proposed by a single institution or might focus on a single underrepresented community, a single point in the academic pipeline, or a single impediment to full participation in computing.
Leveraging, Scaling or Adapting (LSA) Projects are intended to extend the impact of our most effective practices through leveraging, scaling and/or adaptation. Typical LSA projects will use existing organizational structures and demonstrated best practices. They can leverage the work of BPC-funded Alliances or DPs, as well as efforts by other organizations. They might, for example, copy and adapt a successful regional Alliance infrastructure for a new region, combine and leverage the work of two or more Alliances, adapt an effective intervention for a different audience, or take an effective intervention and implement it across an Alliance or other organization with a broad reach.
All BPC projects have significant assessment and evaluation efforts with both formative and summative components.