Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TTIC

In research and academia, diversity of ideas and counsel are imperative to producing the most impactful outcomes. TTIC’s mission to “achieve international impact through world-class research and education in fundamental computer science and information technology” requires respecting, celebrating and promoting contributors and collaborators from across the spectrum of race, gender, beliefs, sexual orientation, abilities and disabilities, and encouraging inclusion of groups still underrepresented in our field. TTIC endeavors to create a more balanced and welcoming community, both within our walls and outside of them.

We are dedicated to research and academic excellence, and aim to provide opportunity, inclusion, access and expanded representation in STEM fields to communities of color, first-generation college students, women, and others. We will reflect our commitment to these values in our recruiting, hiring, and admissions practices. In the proud tradition of the South Side of Chicago, where TTIC is located, we plan to continue pursuing and expanding community outreach and programs that benefit our neighbors and create long-term opportunity for participants.

To achieve our mission it is essential to pursue the inclusion of those who remain underrepresented at the Institute, the research communities we are part of, and more broadly the science and technology fields. Equally essential is to provide everyone, and in particular those who have not been included in the past, with what they need to succeed. We find this important, not only to gain a broader range of current perspectives, but to grow the future pool of talented individuals who can contribute to research at TTIC and elsewhere. Because TTIC recognizes this, our goal is to make the Institute an even more inclusive, diverse and equitable environment. We are committed to actively moving toward that goal with purpose, transparency, fairness, and vigor.

Our DEI Initiatives

At the faculty level

Each new faculty is assigned a senior member of the faculty as a mentor, who will meet regularly to discuss and help navigate work-life balance, teaching, research, and fundraising.

Faculty development opportunities are available through hosting workshops, facilitating Girls Who Code sessions, attending outreach events, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) visits, and more.

At the student level

We actively review student support services and recruitment practices to increase opportunity, access, and equity for a diverse student and applicant population.

Admissions does not collect race reporting as part of the application process.

At the community level

We work with a variety of community partners, including Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to help create, facilitate, and fund outreach activities for youth and underrepresented students, and the teachers and facilitators that have the impactful on-site access that support student learning.

New Horizons in Theoretical Computer Science School is a week-long online summer school that exposes undergraduates to exciting research in the area of theoretical computer science and its applications. The course is free of charge, and encourages applications from students who are members of groups that are currently underrepresented in the field of theoretical computer science.

Outreach Activities

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is an after-school coding program for elementary school girls. TTIC has worked with various area CPS schools and is continuing in its role as Community Partner. Volunteer facilitators commit 1-2 hours per week to help teach sessions for a ten-week quarter. If interested, contact Rose Bradford at rose@ttic.edu.

Leadership Alliance

Leadership Alliance is a national summer research internship placement program for underrepresented undergraduates in STEM fields. TTIC is currently a member institution and is accepting applications through the program. TTIC faculty interested in being involved in the program should contact Greg Shakhnarovich at greg@ttic.edu.

Broadening Participation in Computing Plan

TTIC has developed a plan for the Institute’s effort towards making TTIC an ever more inclusive, diverse and equitable environment, and towards expanding participation in education, research, and practice of computing at large by groups currently under-represented in the field. This plan describes a range of current and planned activities and provides a roadmap for future evaluation of the effectiveness of TTIC’s effort in this domain.

TTIC Community Resources

DEI Committee

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee at TTIC is comprised of faculty members, administrative staff, and students who are committed to advising the Institute leadership on steps towards making TTIC a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment; and with advising on and overseeing development and implementation of outreach efforts at TTIC aimed at improving diversity and inclusion in the field of Computer Science.

If you are interested in joining or communicating with the DEI Committee, please send an email to dei-committee@ttic.edu

Women at TTIC

Women@TTIC is a group of women faculty, research assistant professors, courtesy faculty, and PhD students at TTIC. Quarterly meet-ups have been a tradition where the group members have hearty conversations over lunch. This tradition has continued in remote settings during the past year with fun meet-ups including virtual games of Balderdash and Escape-Room. Beyond the usual tradition, the group also occasionally holds joint student events with UChicago Grad Women in Computer Science (GWiCS) which enables more interdepartmental interaction.

To contact the group you can send an email to:

Donya Saless, donya@ttic.edu

Melissa Dutz, melissa@ttic.edu

Workshops and groups


For feedback or comments, for example identifying an area where we have room for improvement, suggesting an additional resource that may be of interest to the broader community, or anything else you’d like to bring to the attention of the TTIC DEI committee and institutional leadership, email us at dei-committee@ttic.edu, or drop an anonymous suggestion at this form.