Assignment 2 - Team Exploration - Diversity and Inclusion

Your 2nd assignment will build directly off of your 1st assignment.

By now, you should be well acquainted with the theme of the startups for this course, as well as your team. Your second assignment will be to identify areas where your team has expertise and where it may lack expertise.

The intention of this assignment is to help you identify strengths and weaknesses of your team, explore your own unconscious bias, and evaluate the general diversity of your team. You will be expected to identify some potential bias your team may have given their life experiences and describe how these biases may impact the project. You will further be expected to identify where you need to bring in subject matter experts and where you could improve your team’s diversity.

You will be expected to work together and submit this assignment as a team. Anyone can submit it, I suggest using an issue on the repo you’re about to create to coordinate that submission.

Example from a previous term. (you should note this repo came from a previous iteration of this course, so some of the instruction was different. If you are unsure about something, err on the side of caution and use this term’s instructions or ask me).

Initial Requirements

  1. Should be at least 1 page of writing, 12pt font, single spaced. Write as much as you feel is needed to accurately capture the rest of these requirements.
  2. Identify where your team’s backgrounds and expertise may benefit the project
  3. Identify where your team’s backgrounds and expertise are not enough for this project
  4. Given (3), identify some subject matter experts you think would help fill this gap. Describe how.
  5. Identify where your team may lack diversity and how this could affect the company, team, and product
  6. Describe how people in other diverse groups benefit your team’s vision

Note: You will not be penalized for not being “diverse” enough. This is an exercise to explore diversity and identify how your team’s backgrounds may impact your ability to empathize with customers, see ethical considerations, etc. There are no diversity criteria

What is the purpose of this assignment?

This assignment works to help you get to know your team and dive into the topic of diversity and inclusion. This is a topic that is generally not covered in your undergrad, but it permeates our industry. It is hoped that through this assignment you learn about both diversity, as well as intersectional roles in order to be a more effective engineer.

We expect you to thoughtfully write and dive into these topics past surface level. We expect you to watch the lectures on this topic before submission in order to gain a better understanding of the topics.

We expect all members of your team, including CSC454/2527 students, to participate in this assignment.


Your “startup” is global. The moment you launch, your project is global. It will target groups and demographics around the world, it will (hopefully) hire people who aren’t like you, it will grow as an collection of humans who are different. When your company lacks diversity, it stunts its own growth and contributes to toxicity in the industry.

Diversity is a very broad term and encompasses a lot of areas, both broad and niche. Some major areas of diversity include:

There are a lot more niche and broad topics that we could discuss, but this subset is just to get you started. The notion here is that people with different combinations of life experiences will help identify how your product may or may not work for them, provide novel ideas, and help with conflict resolution in the workplace as people are more accommodating by workplace culture of others’ differences, etc.

Keep in mind that we are not suggesting to selectively hire people based on their “diversity”, but to understand that diversity can help you grow and you can take proactive steps to ensure a welcoming environment for diverse candidates and customers.


You must create a release on your repo. This will give us a snapshot in time and allow us to grade it. See release body criteria and example below. Assignments without a coherent release body that follow the instructions in this assignment will be rejected and marked 1 day late.

Assignments are always due at 11:59:59pm Eastern Time.

Second, you must submit the release on the LearnSoftware application. You can find the submission location here:

Release Body

Release bodies must include:

Example release body demonstrating the written instructions

Questions or Concerns?


ExpertiseDescribes how each team member’s existing expertise can benefit the project
Describes areas where your team may not have adequate expertise. This should include areas outside of engineering.
Subject Matter ExpertsStudents identify areas where they may lack expertise and describes subject matter experts that can help fill those holes.
Areas are more than surface-level deep (e.g. students don’t just list out “engineering, will ask instructors to advise” or “industry partners”). Clear thought and care has gone into the rhetoric.
Unconscious BiasThe team has clearly given some thought into potential areas bias may occur and describes the situations.
The writing clearly goes beyond surface level bias and the students have given serious thought about it.
Writing also provides examples of possible solutions to help mitigate these biases.
  • Explain some areas, which you are comfortable sharing, where the team may lack diversity. You do not need to attribute statements to any individual team member, but you are welcome to do so if you are comfortable.
  • You do not need to feel pressured to share or pressure colleagues to disclose anything to the team or publicly, but for the dimensions folks are happy to share, it will give you the opportunity as a team to determine where you may have blind spots on your team.
  • Do not feel restrained by the subset listed above as there are many dimensions of diversity, visible and non-visible, that change how you experience the world.
  • Teams should aim to go beyond visible dimensions of diversity, though those should be included (e.g. gender, nationality, ethnicity).
  • Team gives thoughtful rhetoric on how these areas may impact their team and product
Participation & Teamwork (Individual Grade)Effectively worked as a team member and shared equitable work load during this assignment.
Communication was regular and effective & acted in accordance with team principles.

Rating Scale

This scale is used for each line of the rubric above.

Outstanding, Thoughtful and thorough100% of pts
Strong, Provides some thought80% of pts
Acceptable, Simple explanation60% of pts
Insufficient, Little effort was made to give explanations40% of pts
Unacceptable, No effort was made or the section was missing0% of pts