Lessons Learned from Providing Hundreds of Hours of Diversity Training
2:10 PM - 2:35 PM
Thu Mar 12, 2020


The past thirty years have seen many advances in our understanding of issues that impede diversity, as well as interventions that can remove or mitigate those impediments. The advances are generally presented in psychology journals and are under-consumed by computing educators, leading to the need for diversity training tailored to said educators. We have hundreds of hours of experience providing diversity training to computing educators, and have learned many lessons about how training should and should not be delivered to engage participants in understanding diversity-impeding forces and implementing interventions to improve the attraction and retention of diverse students.

This paper is a collection of those lessons learned. We focus on concrete approaches to presenting material rather than on training organization or content, including a dozen specific practices that have proven particularly effective or ineffective in reaching diverse audiences. Examples include how how to avoid offending participants, how to help experts not lose their audience, how to pace and organize material for maximum impact, how we tie many topics into a single cognitive framework, and how we've learned to handle participant-raised objections. We also include commentary as to why we believe they did or did not work. We also describe possible future research to validate and expand on our observations and a few open questions for diversity training.

Luther Tychonievich Assistant Professor, University of Virginia
James P. Cohoon Professor, University of Virginia