Dimensions of Sustainable Diversity in IT: Applications to the IT College Major and Career Aspirations Among Underrepresented High School Students of Color

Dimensions of Sustainable Diversity in IT: Applications to the IT College Major and Career Aspirations Among Underrepresented High School Students of Color

Russell Stockard (California Lutheran University, USA), Ali Akbari (California Lutheran University, USA) and Jamshid Damooei (California Lutheran University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-741-6.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter acknowledges that diversity issues in the IT field go beyond racial and ethnic measures to include disability and age, to name but two of the numerous possibilities, and a global playing field. While the chapter examines the different forces that affect the career aspirations and opportunities of individuals of color, women, the disabled and the young as they make decisions relating to the IT field, it is not fundamentally driven by data, but by a need to develop and expand a definition and the dimensions of diversity. In doing so, we hope to provoke readers to view the issue of diversity and IT from a number of perspectives. We assert that diversity should be viewed globally with the understanding that the globalization process has begun to change the dynamics of the diversification phenomenon. Finally, in an effort to show the impact of career aspirations and what may influence the development of such aspirations among minority and nontraditional students, we report the findings of some studies that have recently been conducted. This study looks at the experiences, opportunities, attitudes and aspirations with respect to mathematics, science, computer science and information technology of underrepresented students in the federally funded Upward Bound and Math/Science Upward Bound programs. We conclude with a brief discussion of the role of social and cultural creativity and innovation, arguing that these are essential components of a notion of sustainable diversity.

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