Only at Charlotte: Democracy in Technology

Thursday, March 2, 2023

UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics’ commitment to inclusion and diversity begins with its vision statement. Since established in 2000, CCI has demonstrated a commitment to educating students in a way that equips them to lead and succeed in a world where technology touches almost every aspect of daily life. 

As enrollment has continuously multiplied over two decades, the college remains strategically focused on making a positive impact on equity in the technology workforce by ensuring the student body reflects the community it serves. This has made the college the No.1 producer of minority computer science graduates in the region, and has earned the college recognition as an example of what is possible when inclusion is an action, not just stated as an initiative.

Bojan Cukic, CCI’s dean, explains the secret to CCI’s tremendous success. “Teams with diverse perspectives are better at finding innovative and creative solutions – and at recognizing bias and promoting equitable outcomes in systems they will be developing as professionals,”  he says. “Our students have the opportunity to experience firsthand the diversity that is key to excellent performance.”

CCI’s enrollment since 2017 reflects: 

  • A 73% increase for undergraduate Black, Indigenous and other students of color (including Hispanics), and 140% for African American and Hispanic graduate students
  • 77% growth among women 

“Our major really is a microcosm of our society,” says software and information systems professor Manuel Perez-Quinones, whose commitment to diversifying computing has earned him several national awards, including the Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award. “Shifts in our population and demographics in society are reflected in our major. I hope computing can have a tremendous impact on what transpires in terms of integration and social mobility, because of the importance of computing in everything we do.”

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