Broadening Participation in Computing

At Illinois, we seek to develop and maintain a representative, inclusive, and supportive community that prepares and empowers all of its members to excel and effect positive impact in the broader community. To achieve these goals, Illinois CS has several efforts to support pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as faculty from Illinois and from computing institutions across the world.

Get Involved

Looking for a way to get involved with our BPC programs? Our department provides opportunities for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and external CS community members and partners to engage in BPC activities. Learn more below or contact the BPC Team.

BPC opportunities for Illinois CS undergraduate and graduate students are designed to support our students while also providing ways for students to contribute to our BPC mission.

  • BPC programs provide accessible pathways into computing, unique research opportunities, and opportunities to connect with fellow students and Illinois CS faculty through mentorship, professional development, and community building activities.
  • Student organizations foster a fun and supportive Illinois CS community.
  • Departmental, campus, college, and broader computing BPC resources support students in their personal, educational, and career goals.
  • Connect with our Illinois CS faculty to learn about unique research opportunities available to them.
  • Educational talks, workshops, and courses offered through cross-cutting educational activities prepare students to actively engage with BPC work as they continue on in their careers.

Faculty members have many opportunities to engage in BPC work with our students as well as educational opportunities that provide professional development in BPC best practices.

We welcome our alumni and friends to partner with us on recruiting, research, and philanthropy to uphold our global reputation as a leader in computer education and research.

Illinois CS strives to be a leader in BPC education. We invite our broader BPC community and partners to learn more about our cross-cutting educational activities which include workshops and educational seminars open to the broader community.  We have cultivated a list of external BPC educational resources which provide helpful tools for BPC best practices. If you are interested in becoming engaged with our BPC programs, please contact our BPC Program Team.

Programs & Activities for Students

Our  BPC programs and activities seek to inspire all voices, imagine the future, and invest in the next generation of computing leaders and professionals. We aim to make computing accessible for people from all backgrounds at all levels.

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Cross-Cutting Activities

As part of our commitment to broadening participation in computing, we offer a series of educational opportunities for our students, faculty, staff, and the broader computing community, including a variety of workshops for developing departmental BPC plans. 

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Aja Capel, center, with her father, Parrish Capel, and her mother, Dr. Shawn Love.

K-12 Outreach and Resources

Illinois Computer Science has developed a series of outreach programs and resources aimed at serving our local community to raise awareness about and interest in computer science.

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BPC Resources

We have a comprehensive network of department, college, campus, and community resources available for students, faculty, and staff to broaden participation in computing.

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Student Organizations

At Illinois, there's a lot of life outside the classroom. Student organizations at the university provide numerous extra-curricular activities and experiences that are available for every student to explore. 

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Our BPC Plan

In order to support meaningful actions that address the longstanding underrepresentation of various populations including women, African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and persons with disabilities in the computing field, The NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) launched a BPC pilot effort to encourage thoughtful engagement of and meaningful action by the community on this longstanding issue.

Our Departmental BPC plan, verified by the CISE-funded BPCnet Resource portal, outlines our goals, activities, and metrics for evaluating our department's BPC activities.

View our Verified Departmental BPC Plan.

iCAN logo

iCAN is a new one-year program for non-computer science college graduates who are interested in a high-tech computing career or pursuing a graduate degree in computer science. Specifically designed coursework in computing fundamentals is coupled with individualized attention from world-class faculty, plus academic and career mentoring.

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Past Events

Workshop on Departmental Plans for Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC)

November 13-15, 2019

This NSF sponsored workshop will take place at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science. Participants will spend 1.5 days  learning from BPC experts and working in break-out groups to develop a departmental plan for their own unit. The culmination of the workshop will be a departmental plan that leadership teams can take back to their unit for their faculty to use in support of their NSF CISE proposals.

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Rising Stars 2019: An Academic Career Workshop for Women in EECS

October 29 - November 1, 2019

Rising Stars is an intensive workshop for women graduate students and postdocs who are interested in pursuing academic careers in computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering. Launched at MIT in 2012, the annual event has since been hosted at the University of California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, MIT and Stanford University.

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Contact the Broadening Participation in Computing team at