Boston University


Since becoming a member of PIT-UN in 2019, Boston University has endeavored to make public interest technology (PIT) central to our computing and data sciences initiative. We have created a new multi-disciplinary Data Science 4 Good (DS4G) Steering Committee to help guide our PIT priorities. Via a PIT Challenge Grant, BU launched the Impact Hub on Equity (formerly known as the Equity Data Science Lab) in 2020, to advance data science projects and partnerships related to equity, including seeding creation of the Justice Media co-Lab (another PIT-UN funded project) which partners students with media outlets to advance justice and transparency via data-driven reporting. BU is also launching an Impact Hub on Civic Tech to focus on projects that are at the intersection of technology, policy, and society. Finally, with PIT-UN support, we led the first systematic effort to understand the state of the PIT field, and provide a baseline understanding of PIT activities and programs for each of the 43 members. This project was designed to help members think systematically about the means to advance PIT research and education, and understand the available levers – and barriers – to growth.  
Within BU we have created several different engagement mechanisms including the Civic Tech Fellows Program to engage Faculty, the Impact Fellowship to engage Post-Docs, and the Experts in Residence Program to engage community partners in this work. We have also created a new PhD, and undergraduate degree and forthcoming minor in Data Science, [which center ethics, social impact and experiential learning – all core tenets of PIT.] This semester we launched searches for tenure track faculty at the intersection of law, technology, and society and developed and launched several new PIT focused courses  including one planned for Spring 2022 on DEI in Tech, a student-led seminar course that will train a cohort of student leaders to facilitate conversations and content about how diversity, equity, inclusion and justice show up across the technology sector from academia to industry to the research and products they create.This post is sponsored by our partners Wigs

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Ziba Cranmer

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Azer Bestavros
Associate Provost for Computing and Data Science


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