MIS Department Receives Grant Aimed at Promoting Diversity in Information Technology

Feb. 20, 2014

News
MIS Department Receives Grant Aimed at Promoting Diversity in Information Technology

The top-ranked Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) at the UA Eller College of Management has been awarded a $10,000 grant to launch a program aimed at promoting diversity in the fields of information technology and computer science.

TUCSON, Ariz. –  February 20, 2014 – The top-ranked Department of Management Information Systems  (MIS) at the UA Eller College of Management has been awarded a $10,000 grant to  launch a program aimed at promoting diversity in the fields of information technology  and computer science.

The grant is an  Academic Alliance Seed Fund Award by the National Center for Women &  Information Technology (NCWIT). The fund is supported by Microsoft Research.

The  UA project, headed by Paulo Goes (department head and Salter Distinguished  Professor in Management and Technology) and Gondy Leroy (associate professor of  MIS) approaches the challenge of promoting workplace diversity through  awareness-building among the next generation of leaders.

“This  isn’t just about attracting women to the field,” said Leroy, a longtime member  of NCWIT and leader in initiatives to do just that. “It’s about reaching a  group that’s been missed so far – future managers and leaders of all  backgrounds who need to be equipped to counter the problems and leverage the  benefits of diversity as they prepare to join the working world.”

“It’s  extremely important that students be exposed as early as possible, and as often  as possible, to diversity-related initiatives,” said Goes. “This project will  deliver a series of activities that will provide future IT leaders with the  awareness to manage and lead a diverse workforce.”

The  program is structured to include a learning phase, with guest speakers, and a  practical phase, with students applying their knowledge to team challenges  proposed by partner corporations Raytheon and Walmart.

“Students  who participate in the practical challenge will receive a certificate of  completion,” Leroy said. “The team with the most successful solution will be  invited to attend a major conference, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in  Computing.” The 2014 conference is scheduled for October in Phoenix.

“The  MIS department will also create a one-credit course for undergraduate and  graduate students aimed at providing hands-on experience with diversity-related  projects,” said Goes. “This course is a natural extension of our existing  course structure, and will be an ongoing option for students so that we can  sustain diversity training in the long term.”