Equity-focused CS Education Research:
The reciprocal influences of research and policy
May 16-17, 2024
Georgia Tech Conference Center & Hotel
The Conference on Research in Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) is the premier venue for research on equity, inclusion and justice in computing and computing education. Now in its ninth edition, the RESPECT 2024 conference will be held in Atlanta, GA in May 2024.
As researchers, especially those of us focused on equity, freedom, and justice, our job is to give language to and make meaning of the joy, trauma, and unwavering spirit of the most vulnerable and marginalized among us. We don’t do this simply to shed light but to influence change. We stand when others are forced to sit and speak when others are silenced. For many of us, the past several years have rendered our usual tools ineffective, and often we find ourselves seated, scared to stand, and essentially silenced as we search for new language to describe old problems. We increasingly, and rightfully, feel frustrated… powerless…angry. Unfortunately, we sometimes allow these feelings to lead us to inaction. However, as the Black feminist scholar Audre Lorde wrote in her masterpiece, Sister Outsider, anger, directed in productive ways, can be transformative.
Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.
I have been grappling with this idea of channeling anger towards “progress and change” for the past year. I have engaged with and listened to countless conversations in the CS education research community of well-meaning and hardworking folks trying to figure out how to “workaround” oppressive policies in their state. I understand these arguments. I understand the fear that comes when your livelihood is under attack. I also understand that language matters. When we change the ways we speak about our work, the very intent and impact of that work has also been changed. Fair, different and unique do not mean the same thing as diversity and equity. If it did, there would be no need, or request, for the change.
So what are we to do? This question led us to the theme for RESPECT 2024: Equity-focused CS Education Research: The Reciprocal Influences of Research and Policy.
In yet another election year, we are taking the opportunity to focus RESPECT 2024 on interrogating the many ways research and policy inform one another. At RESPECT 2024 we will discuss ways to move our work out of the shadows and back into the spotlight. Some of the questions we will tackle are:
- What role can researchers play in the development of policy?
- How can we continue to fight for justice when policy dictates otherwise?
- How can we more effectively engage with our legislators who we need our help?
Since research in this area is inherently interdisciplinary, the conference invites contributions from sociology, learning sciences, cognitive and/or social psychology, feminist theory, gender studies, educational leadership and policy, human-computer interaction, as well as computer science education and related disciplines. Additionally, recognizing the important role that educators, students, and other community members play as partners in equity-focused efforts, RESPECT 2024 welcomes the participation of those who have not traditionally identified as “researchers” to present, including teachers, students, advocates, and policy-makers.
There are many ways to contribute to and participate in the RESPECT 2024 program, through research papers, experience reports, equity and policy perspectives, and other formats developed through the thought leadership from the organizing committee and in response to feedback from the RESPECT community.
Check out the submission details, and I look forward to seeing everyone in Atlanta!
Tamara Pearson, PhD
RESPECT 2024 Conference Chair