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Technical Report Released for University of Illinois Computer Science Culture Study
Just over 10 years ago, we conducted a culture study of the Computer Science Department at the flagship University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, one of the top five computing departments in the country. The study found that while the department placed an emphasis on research, it did so in a way that, in conjunction with a lack of communication and transparency, devalued teaching and mentoring, and negatively impacted the professional development, education, and sense of belonging of the students. As one part of a multi-phase case study spanning over a decade, this report presents findings from our 2017 culture study at the university. Our data reveals improvements in the perceptions of undergraduate teaching quality. However, among faculty, undergraduate students, and graduate students, we also found evidence of continuing feelings of isolation, lack of mentoring support, incidents of bias, policy opacity, and uneven policy implementation that are areas of concern, particularly with respect to historically underrepresented groups. We discuss our findings and offer recommendations to the department on ways they can further their efforts to create positive cultural change in computing.