ECEP Hosts First Summit in Two Years

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      Held in Washington D.C. May 3-4, 2022, the 2022 ECEP Alliance Summit brought together 80 leaders from 21 of ECEP’s 22 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. The agenda was built around four goals:

      • Amplify state success and efforts
      • Reconnect and discover new ways to collaborate
      • Critically examine current BPC practices, policies, and pathways
      • Explore the continuum of BPC to find bright spots and focus on goals and strategies

      The last ECEP Summit was held in conjunction with CSEdCon in the fall of 2019. While typically an annual event, the summits were sidelined by the ongoing pandemic. While the ECEP Alliance members continued to meet during the monthly virtual ECEP Alliance calls, these were intended to serve as monthly touchpoints, conveying new resources and offering formal time for state sharing. The annual ECEP summits and convenings allow for two days of community building and extended opportunities for networking among state leaders, something the virtual monthly meetings can’t replace. 

      The event included a mix of challenging plenary sessions and panel discussions, engaging workshops and unconference sessions, and structured time for state teams to reflect on their previous goals and accomplishments as well as to develop action plans for the coming year to continue advancing ECEP’s mission of broadening participation in computing and computing-related pathways. The summit opened with a panel consisting entirely of members of ECEP’s executive board, a diverse team of ECEP state leaders who guide ECEP’s strategies and can speak directly to state change efforts. Dr. Josh Childs facilitated this opening panel, setting the tone for the summit as well as the first meeting of the ECEP community.

      Childs reflected on the development of this panel.

      ECEP is laser focused on turning our mission into actions,” Childs said. “The executive board assists our entire alliance in keeping equity at the center of our strategic work. This panel was designed to let the audience know that we would be holding each other accountable to our mission during our time at the summit and when we returned to virtual meetings.

      Special guest Junious Williams, an expert in multi-sector collaborations and collective impact initiatives focused on equity and social justice, served as the keynote speaker, challenging the group to be vocal and fearless advocates for change. One key takeaway from Williams' keynote included a definition of equity adapted from the Urban Strategies Council that will help ECEP states to ground their work over the next year:

      Equity is fairness and justice achieved through systematically assessing disparities in representation, opportunities, and outcomes, and eliminating disparities through targeted actions focused on structural, systemic, and programmatic changes.

      The summit evaluation, conducted by ECEP’s external evaluation team, found that the format — including speakers and workshops — stimulated interest and led to a successful event. Ninety-one percent of summit participants strongly or somewhat agreed that their overall experience was positive! 

      Additional guest participants included representatives from the National Science Foundation, the Kapor Center, and Google, which sponsored an evening networking event. Special thanks to the ECEP executive board and the state representatives who helped to facilitate workshops and unconference sessions.