While talent is universal, opportunity is not. The acute under-representation of African Americans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is a national disgrace. Artificial intelligence offers historic, transformative liberating and empowering solutions to wide-ranging problems across industries, institutions, government and cultures. Yet, entrenched systemic biases remain. The systemic under-representation denies a diversity of voices and participation into shaping society’s future, and worse, deepening existing biases.
Here we describe how Colleges of WIT will assure a level of diversity and inclusive participation and development in the transformative computational data science. We solicit the support of major technology stakeholders and universities. We detail our ‘back-to-the-future’ roots and mission of public television: a station that first and foremost educates and informs by promoting the capacity of KMTP TV as an educational public television station. We also endeavor to entertain, inspire and motivate to action.
African Americans are vastly underrepresented among doctoral degree recipients in STEM. They earn only 1.8% of all doctorates in physics; 3.8% in mathematics; 3.7% in computer science; and 4% in engineering disciplines. We are unable to document any African Americans who have earned doctorates in the last five years in the cross-STEM and newly developing discipline of artificial intelligence, despite the transformation the discipline will produce across the economy and society. Acute under-presentation also persists in masters and undergraduate programs.
Enhance Scientific Knowledge
Our mission is to enhance the education of underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a particular focus on students of African descent. We seek to generate, disseminate and monetize this knowledge to address systemic challenges to development of education, culture, enterprise and families in minority communities. We are dedicated to providing students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery.
Meritocracy, Creativity and Diversity
Our processes for faculty recruitment and student admissions reflect a focus on academic excellence. Reflecting these values, we are recruiting retired Stanford faculty and current Stanford doctorate students. Our students likely are those who are “bubbling under” the requirements of Stanford and other top colleges. Our process is to enhance these accomplishments to enable our students to enter Stanford and other top schools and/or to graduate from our college.
Creativity is celebrated. Our process will mimic Stanford in most respects and utilize Stanford resources as Stanford permits, as we develop a reputation for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. Some of the Stanford resources are open to the public, scholars and students, such as Stanford continuing Education courses taught on Stanford’s campus; Stanford libraries; Stanford Professional Development courses; and Stanford Online High School. We will create greater opportunities.
While a commitment to diversity is a work in progress for most colleges, for us, it is a consistent theme, our raison d'être. We will excel at collaboration. We will provide access to research, educational programs, internships and tech community activities. We value porous boundaries with the technology industry, government agencies, including NASA, the Palo Alto Airport and the FAA. Where we lack academic courses, our students will concurrently enroll in nearby Foothill College for instruction. Foothill College has an outstanding reputation for academic success. It is only one of a handful of community colleges whose students have transferred to Stanford. Other schools and colleges will play a role in our success.
IMITATION & INNOVATION
Meritocracy, Creativity and Diversity
WIT does not plan to reinvent the wheel. There are thousands of colleges worldwide and here in Palo Alto. We envision drawing upon the exemplary academic resources and seek joint ventures and cooperative agreement with our neighbors, Stanford, Foothill College and NASA. As writer Charles Colton put it more than a century ago, paraphrased, ‘Imitation is the finest form of flattery.’While WIT will imitate, it will also innovate to assure the needs of its students.
Dramatic Increases in Science Graduates
We will build on unique strengths to engage and inspire underrepresented faculties and students. By 2030, we will develop a 1000-student campus and graduate 50-plus science doctorate students annually to catalyze artificial intelligence to remedy or alleviate critical faults on issues affecting minority education, culture, enterprise and families. We will create a pipeline of STEM students from pre-school through college, relying in part on home schooling and selective online high schools, such as Stanford Online High School.
The first phase of our First Five Year Strategic Plan will be launched in September 2020. Utilizing access to Stanford, NASA and Foothill College, we plan to enroll up to 26 graduate school level students in programs in autonomous aviation and space, computer science and A.I. and Media Arts.