AIS and the National Center of Women in Information Technology
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Posted by: Brook Pritchett
NCWIT is a community of more than 700 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in technology and computing. Focused on increasing meaningful participation from women in IS across the entire educational and occupational ecosystem, NCWIT achieves its aims by providing free, research-based resources for educators and change leaders, by creating programs that support young women’s professional development and provide resources to educational institutions, and by forming strategic, high impact alliances.
AIS’ commitment to fostering diversity within the field and increasing women’s representation in Information Systems in particular could have no better strategic ally than NCWIT. AIS’ participation has helped focus NCWIT on expanding their purview beyond computer science to encompass information systems in its mission.
AIS became an Academic Alliance Member of the National Center of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) in 2012.
In 2013, the AIS Women in IS Task Group was founded to increase outreach to women in IS and assist with the NCWIT relationship. Co-chaired by Sweta Sneha, Kennesaw State University and Lakshmi Iyer, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
NCWIT participated on a panel at AMCIS 2013 in Chicago, and also hosted an exhibitor booth where they placed a red “Sit with Me” chair to engage with attendees.
AIS is invited in 2013 to participate on NCWIT’s Leadership Team, with Jane Fedorowicz appointed to serve as AIS’ representative.
2014: Lakshmi Iyer asked to serve on the Academic Alliance Leadership team to further the discussions on CS/IS/IT collaboration.
In 2015, NCWIT Cc-sponsored the video competition track at the AIS Student Chapter Leadership Conference.
Robin Poston took over as AIS’ Leadership Team representative in September of 2016.
Serving as AIS’ representative to the NCWIT Leadership Team includes attending the Annual Summit each spring, which brings together hundreds of educators, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and social scientists to discuss research, ideas, and action items for narrowing the technology gender gap. It is also an opportunity for Alliances to meet face-to-face, to share leading-edge research and find pedagogical inspiration, and for NCWIT to recognize the outstanding achievements of leaders working to advance the NCWIT mission.
At the May, 2016 Summit, I encountered a number of outstanding sessions and programs, including (to name a few): a talk by Wake Forest’s Melissa Harris-Perry on intersectionality and diversity in computing; workshops on subjects like Broadening Participation Through Engaging Pedagogy and Alternative Paths to Careers in IT; a panel convened by the Academic Alliance that presented on effective programs at 5 colleges/universities; and an informative discussion led by NCWIT CEO Lucy Sanders and other members of the Leadership Team that centered on women’s meaningful participation in computing. NCWIT’s ongoing studies of patent rates, different rates of participation in “creative” and “meaningful” job roles, and current attempts to measure an Inclusive Innovation Index (III) are all excellent examples of how NCWIT’s philosophy of achieving its mission through research-based initiatives dovetails neatly with the AIS mission of advancing knowledge and the promotion of excellence in the practice and study of information systems.
While I have learned quite a bit in my role as the AIS representative to the NCWIT Leadership Team, it is my honor to pass the baton to long-time AIS member Robin Poston, who is currently serving as Interim Chair of the Department of Business Information and Technology and is an Associate Professor of Business Information and Technology at the Fogelman College of Business & Economics at The University of Memphis. In her new role, Robin will be attending the next NCWIT Summit in Tuscon, AZ, May 22-25, 2017.
AIS Past President