Snapchat smashing digital divide

Cal State Dominguez Hills has received a $5 million gift—the largest donation in its history—from the developer of Snapchat for the creation of an institute focused on addressing equity gaps in computing education.

Housed in the CSUDH College of Education, the new institute will serve as a leader in computing education research, teacher preparation and curriculum development centered around equity and access, particularly for bilingual learners, officials said.

The institute will also partner with Los Angeles-area school districts to make high-quality computer science education an integral part of the experience for all K-12 students.

“The legacy that Snap Inc. is helping to build will positively impact the South Bay and California as a whole, and reverberate through generations of computer science teachers and learners,” CSUDH President Thomas Parham said in a statement. “Integrating computer science education into the curriculum of K-12 schools in underserved communities is an important step in closing the digital divide that leaves many would-be scholars on the outside looking in.

“With Snap Inc.’s help, CSUDH will smash that digital divide and create technology-savvy, academically engaged leaders throughout Southern California.”

The donation was made in conjunction with the launch of the Action to Catalyze Tech Report, created by the Catalyze Tech coalition, which seeks to solve the acute lack of computer science teachers in part by funding endowed centers for computer science teaching in colleges.

Ahead of the first virtual DEI Innovation Summit, the Catalyze Tech coalition announced $20 million in new funding for four teaching colleges. In addition to CSUDH, Georgia State University will receive $5 million from Snap Inc. The University of Florida and University of Texas at El Paso will also each receive $5 million from philanthropist Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel Capital, and Hopper Dean Foundation, respectively.

“We’re so excited to begin the work,” CSUDH College of Education Dean Jessica Pandya said. “We’re going to incorporate computer science knowledge and theories into course material, working with teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District, Inglewood, Lynwood, and other local districts to support them as they learn to integrate computer science into their everyday teaching.

“We are also going to start a variety of activities for school-aged students, from coding nights to coding summer camps, with an explicit focus on issues of access and equity.” 

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