As a white male in my 30s, I am in a position of received privilege. I acknowledge this and I account for this. I leverage my own privilege to create space for people to speak in their own voices, rather than to be spoken for.
Diversity is about experience and worldview. It's about dignity: the mutual respect to which everyone is entitled. (Not convenient respect that is conditional on one's education, political beliefs, sexuality, gender, income, embodiment, or abilities.) It's about mental health and compassion. It's about being an ally when and where an ally (silent or vocal, passive or active) is needed. It's about learning and being open to learning -- about different challenges, different lexicons, different struggles and strengths. I take this very seriously.
While I am committed to diversity and inclusion in all its forms, I feel particularly strongly about women’s rights in the work place, as well as highlighting the often-overlooked role of women and people of color in the technology fields. Accordingly, I am currently an official faculty mentor for women in two highly selective undergraduate programs at IU: The Center of Excellence for Women and Technology (CEW&T) and the GROUPS STEM program, which provide research experience and mentorship to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. I actively encourage my students to attend such conferences as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and to subscribe to feminist STS and Queer STS dis-lists. I strive to bring female and underrepresented colleagues from my professional network to campus whenever possible (i.e., for colloquia and guest lectures). In this way, I hope to contribute to the development of a more egalitarian and inclusive community of professionals not only within my department, school, and university, but beyond, as students leave the university to begin their professional lives.
It would be absurd to devote classroom time to the ramifications of future computing paradigms without giving direct consideration to their impacts on diversity. By destabilizing the myth of the ‘great (white) man’ in the histories of computing, coding, and design, and by highlighting the works of female scholars and scholars of color, I seek to engender a tacit understanding of the diversity that has contributed to the virtuosic leaps in technological development over last century.
In addition to the work I have done with underrepresented student populations at IUB and UCI, which is described in my student evaluations that can be found in my teaching statement, I have a long history work that is fundamentally grounded in recognizing the humanity of all people. While I was earning my M.Sc. at Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, I worked as a research apprentice to Prof. John A. Sloboda. During that apprenticeship, I worked on a project affiliated with the Iraq Body Count Project (IBC). IBC was and is fundamentally an exercise in humanist accountability: through a network of in situ reporters (both amateur and professional), IBC provides an accurate account of civilian casualties that have resulted from military involvement in the Middle East. In my capacity as Research Apprentice, I was responsible for data analysis and theory building around popular perceptions of civilian casualties in situations of armed conflict. I was and still am proud of being involved, even in this small way, in giving a voice to the voiceless—of helping to recognize their humanity on a global stage that is often indifferent.
But my role as an academic who is fundamentally driven by a commitment to making our society more inclusive and sensitive does not end at the boundaries of the university or in the lobbies of conference hotels. If we are to build a more robust, understanding, and inclusive society we must do so where ‘society’ lives, even when that engagement does not fall into a professionally recognizable format.
As a member of many overlapping communities, I am first and foremost a human and a humanist. I believe in the beauty and productivity of difference and inclusiveness. I believe in and practice the fundamental right to dignity.
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