Charity Freeman serves as a Special Advisor to the IWERC Team on its two-part research project on improving equitable access and outcomes in computer science education in Illinois. In her role as Program Coordinator at Illinois Computer Science in Chicago, she supports students and faculty of the Department of Computer Science’s MCS and iCAN programs. Charity is an appointed member of the Illinois P-20 Council, as well as a Co-Chair of its CS Project-Based Working Group. She is also the Chair-Elect and Teacher Education Representative for the Computer Science Teachers Association’s (CSTA) national Board of Directors.
Previously, Charity managed and oversaw teacher training programs within DPI’s Community Education Unit of the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs, focusing on building capacity in computer and data science/analytics at the high school and community college levels. This included supporting the implementation of the CS endorsement for in-service teachers, as well as leading and coordinating teacher-focused professional development learning opportunities at DPI. As a Teach Plus Illinois Policy Fellow, she advocated for the recruitment and retention of teachers of color as a means to address the statewide teacher shortage and draw legislative attention to the lack of ethnically relevant role models in increasingly diverse classrooms. In her work as an inaugural cohort member of the CSTA Equity Fellowship, Charity supported the development of ongoing, peer-to-peer professional learning experiences for educators, administrators, policymakers, and other stakeholders in CS education around the globe.
Charity is completing her master’s degree in educational policy studies from Loyola University Chicago. She is also a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), and she has presented conference sessions, provided keynotes, moderated panels, and served as a subject matter expert on diversity, equity, and inclusion in (computer science) education for various organizations and events, including CSTA, the ACM’s Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, AERA, AnitaB.org, Georgia Tech’s Constellations Center for Equity in Computing, The Inclusive STEM & CS Summit, the Illinois Statewide K-12 Computer Science Education Summit, Loyola University Chicago, and Chicago Public Schools.
Charity continues to support equitable student access, engagement, and achievement in computer science, both within and beyond the classroom. “CS For All means making Computer Science a democracy where any student can envision a programmer, analyst, or gamer, and see themselves.”