Most of the time this blog is about my personal experiences and not about broader topics. But this month’s Communications of the ACM had two articles that I think everyone needs to read, so I’m going to write a post pushing them.

The first is an article by Mark Guzdial talking about bias in student course evaluations. Because I’m at an institution that values teaching and because course evaluations are standard practice for evaluating instructors, I’ve spent a lot of time reading both my evaluations and the evaluations for people coming up for promotion and tenure. Mark makes some very good points about why we might want to re-evaluate the idea of student evaluations as a metric for teaching and also pointing out that doing so would be difficult.

The second article that caught my attention was one by Jodi Tims who is the current ACM-W chair. In it she talks about the idea that improving gender equity in computing needs to be an effort made by all people in the field, not just those organizations focused on the topic and most especially not just by women in computing themselves. Jodi makes very specific suggestions for what individuals can do, but I also urge everyone to join a more organized group focused on gender equity. It’s a tough problem, and tough problems need to be solved through a large collective effort.