CS Education for the Socially-Just Worlds We Need: The Case for Justice-Centered Approaches to CS in Higher Education

by   Kevin Lin, et al.

Justice-centered approaches to equitable computer science (CS) education prioritize the development of students' CS disciplinary identities toward social justice rather than corporations, industry, empire, and militarism by emphasizing ethics, identity, and political vision. However, most research in justice-centered approaches to equitable CS education focus on K-12 learning environments. In this position paper, we problematize the lack of attention to justice-centered approaches to CS in higher education and then describe a justice-centered approach for undergraduate Data Structures and Algorithms that (1) critiques sociopolitical values of data structure and algorithm design and dominant computing epistemologies that approach social good without design justice; (2) centers students in culturally responsive-sustaining pedagogies to resist dominant computing culture and value Indigenous ways of living in nature; and (3) ensures the rightful presence of political struggles through reauthoring rights and problematizing the political power of computing. Through a case study of this Critical Comparative Data Structures and Algorithms pedagogy, we argue that justice-centered approaches to higher CS education can help students not only critique the ethical implications of nominally technical concepts, but also develop greater respect for diverse epistemologies, cultures, and narratives around computing that can help all of us realize the socially-just worlds we need.


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