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Distinguished Lecture Series

DLS is a joint project of CRA-W and the Coalition to Diversify Computing.

Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS) Recruitment Events for Groups Underrepresented in Computing

Padma Raghavan
Pensilvania State University
Distinguished Lecture Series

Cheryl Seals
Auburn University
Distinguished Lecture Series
Co-Director (CDC)

Applications NOW being accepted to host DLS recruitment events


The Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) and the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC) sponsor a Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS) to encourage women and minorities to pursue graduate education in computer science and engineering. The DLS brings prominent faculty and industry researchers to campuses to encourage women and minorities to attend graduate school. The visits include a technical talk(s) by the researchers as well as a variety of "recruiting" events such as panel discussions with the visiting researchers and graduate students about graduate school, lunches with undergraduates, meetings with graduate students, and meetings with faculty interested in recruiting/retention. At the events, students will have the opportunity to discuss the graduate school process and experience with successful female and minority researchers, facilitating their ability to make an informed decision about pursuing graduate study.

University sites are needed to host DLS recruitment events. Interested institutions are encouraged to apply, or to contact the DLS Co-Directors at dls [at] if they have questions.

Previous and upcoming lectures:

Motivation for the Program

Members of government, scientists, educators, and industry specialists recognize that there are serious problems with the current lack of diversity in the science and technology fields. Diversity encourages innovation. "Technology is going to change our political, economic, social, and personal lives," said Anita Borg, who was a long-time CRA-W member and a strong proponent of increasing the involvement of women in the technology design process. "Women need to be there saying, 'This is how we want things to change.'" Creating opportunities for diversity in the technological disciplines which are so vital to our future is a major goal of all our CRA-W and CDC programs. Encouraging women and underrepresented minorities to aspire to be among the leaders in these fields, by earning graduate degrees, is the goal of this program.

The Distinguished Lecture Series actively recruits members of underrepresented groups by sending faculty and industry researchers to college campuses to meet with undergraduate students and incite interest in graduate education. The format of a graduate recruitment workshop held in conjunction with a Distinguished Lecture Series has proven to very effective. In addition to the Distinguished Lecture, typically held as part of the host institution's Distinguished Lecture Series, the events include a panel of current graduate students and two female or minority Ph.D. researchers, one from academia and one from industry (at least one of whom delivered a Distinguished Lecture). The panelists discuss their reasons for choosing to attend graduate school and briefly explain their research before inviting questions from the audience. "Our aim is to express the excitement of research," said Carla Ellis, a founder of the program. "It seems to be working, as the panels were well received by the undergraduate students in attendance."

Resources for DLS Organizers

Resources for event organizers available here.

Sponsors of the DLS

The Distinguished Lecture Series was initially sponsored by a generous grant from Lucent Technologies to CRA-W. The joint CRA-W and CDC program is now supported in part by the NSF Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program.

DLS is a joint project of CRA-W and the Coalition to Diversify Computing.