Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in CMS

Gradient for Change Awards
Nomination Deadline: May 10, 2021

EAS New Horizons Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award
Nomination Deadline: May 19, 2021

Students Students Students

The Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences is dedicated to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are a community that values and celebrates differences among our members and we strive to create an equitable and inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds. We value working in an environment that is diverse in terms of identity (this includes, but is not limited to, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, neurotypicality status, socioeconomic status, culture and family background, religion, political party affiliation, immigration status, social caste, nontraditional students, parental status, and first-generation students) and also in terms of perspectives and ideas. We strive to ensure that all members of the community, regardless of identity, are equitably empowered to achieve academic and research success.

We view a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a fundamental part of our mission as an academic department. This commitment is important to all aspects of our work in the computing and mathematical sciences. Our diversity makes us better educators and more effective at identifying and solving problems. An equitable and inclusive community allows our students, staff, and faculty to achieve their fullest potential. Every member of the CMS community is here because of their potential to contribute meaningfully to the most challenging and fundamental problems in the computing and mathematical sciences, and it is the mission of the department to create an environment where all community members can reach that goal.

We strive to create and sustain a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment by taking concrete actions to increase awareness, reduce bias, and eliminate inequities such as:

  • mitigating the effects of bias and explicitly considering a commitment to equity and inclusion in our admissions, hiring, and promotion processes.
  • valuing, supporting, and recognizing members of our community who work on initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • maintaining a climate of inclusion through regular departmental activities that welcome diverse views and where individuals are free from personal attacks.
  • supporting all members of our community, especially those who may face additional challenges in academia and society due to systemic injustices.
  • leveraging our intellectual and material resources to broaden participation in the computing and mathematical sciences through outreach to communities that are underrepresented in STEM.
  • designing courses, providing resources, and establishing department policies to be equitable and inclusive such that all members of the community, regardless of identity, are equally empowered to meet Caltech’s standard of excellence.
  • regularly engaging in self-reflection and assessment, both conversational and data-driven, to understand our blindspots and where we can take action to avoid implicit bias, reduce inequity, and improve inclusivity for people from all backgrounds, perspectives, and viewpoints.

Points of contact

We welcome feedback from the Caltech community around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we encourage you to reach out to us.

Ombudsperson: Adam Wierman
Open Office hours: Fridays 3-4pm, ANB 215. While Caltech is virtual, please email Adam for the zoom information. Anonymous feedback: Email to anonymously contact the Ombudsperson.

Outreach Director: Claire Ralph

CMS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee

Beyond the DEI Steering Committee, the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion are important focuses for many other groups within the CMS community including, for example, the CMS Undergraduate Advisory Council, the CMS Graduate Advisory Council, the CMS Partners Program Council, and Women* in CMS. Contact information for these groups can be found here.

If you have an idea for a new initiative or activity related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in CMS, we would love to hear about it. Please reach out to any of the DEI steering committee members above.


Gradient for Change Awards

CMS and IST are announcing the inaugural Gradient for Change Awards this year. The awards honor students, postdocs, staff, and faculty in the Caltech community who demonstrate exceptional efforts to make Caltech and/or the broader scientific community a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. The awards recognize and highlight individual contributors or small teams who are considered agents of change, community leaders, and/or allies to historically marginalized group(s) in the information sciences, including computer science, applied mathematics, and beyond.

Nominations will be reviewed by a committee of students and faculty that is selected by the CMS DEI Steering Committee. Depending on the applications in a given year, separate awards may be given at the undergraduate, graduate, staff, postdoc, and faculty levels. Awards come with a $500 prize.

Nomination instructions and requirements:

  • Nominations should be submitted via email to Sydney Garstang, sydney@caltech.edu by Monday, May 10, 2021.
  • Candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by their peers/advisors.
  • Nominations should take the form of a letter no longer than 1 page that describes both the activities of the nominee and the impact of those activities. Supporting materials detailing the efforts are allowed but not required.
  • The nominee must have held an active appointment/employment during the 2020-2021 academic year as one of the following: Caltech undergraduate student, graduate student, postdoctoral scholar, staff, or faculty member.
  • The activities of the nominee must contribute to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion in the information sciences, broadly defined, including but not limited to computer science and applied mathematics.

Examples of qualifying activities: community organizing; outreach; mentorship; allyship; activism; teaching; curriculum design; creation and implementation of new initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.


EAS New Horizons Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

The Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences seeks nominations to recognize and honor individuals within the EAS community who have actively contributed to EAS’s goal to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive engineering community. The award is available to members of the EAS community, including current students, postdoctoral scholars, staff, and faculty. Nominations are due Wednesday, May 19, 2021 and are accepted from anyone in the EAS community, EAS alumni and members of the Caltech community.

Click here for full description of how to make a nomination.