The AiiCE Computing Environment Survey (ACES) is an annual survey that explores how university CS departments foster equitable and inclusive academic environments for all students (undergraduate and graduate). Interested departments can use this instrument for baseline and longitudinal data on the impact of interventions.

Additional information on the survey, process (and timeline), IRB information, and FAQ are available below. For additional questions, please contact Dr. Nicki Washington at and reference “ACES Survey.”

General Information

The survey includes closed- and open-ended responses on student experiences in the department, including interactions with leadership (e.g., department chair, as well as director of undergraduate and graduate studies), faculty, staff, teaching assistants, and peers.

Demographic information allows for disaggregation of results based on race/ethnicity, gender, disability status, and first-generation college student status; allowing departments to better understand the needs of all students without compromising identities. The survey can be completed within approximately 5-7 minutes.


Upon survey completion, participants can opt-in to an online raffle for an online Visa gift card, following the close of the survey. A total of 100 participants will be selected to receive the gift card.


Organizations interested in completing the survey should review and complete the following process. (Note: This is the general timeline for the yearly ACES distribution).:

  1. (Feb 1-March 8) Complete the organization information form, which collects information on institution type, department enrollment, and contact(s) for survey distribution.
  2. (March 11-April 30) Organizational contacts will be emailed the student recruitment letter (which includes links to the informed consent form and survey). Contacts will be responsible for distributing the survey within the department (and will be sent reminder notices). The deadline for survey completion is April 30.
  3. (May 1-May 8) Raffle and gift card distribution to winners.
  4. (May 15-Aug 31) Data analysis.
  5. (Sep 1-Oct 15) Reports generated and returned to organizational contacts.

IRB Information

ACES is currently approved to collect data from respondents at any institution of higher learning under Duke IRB Protocol #2021-0230. For questions about subjects’ rights, please contact Duke University’s Campus Institutional Review Board (IRB) at or 919-684-3030 and reference the protocol number above.

Review the ACES FAQ for answers to additional questions.

ACES Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Given the time required to collect and analyze data (as well as create department reports), this timeline allows us to provide a comprehensive report for each organization.

ACES is currently approved by Duke IRB for distribution across all institutions of higher education under protocol #2021-0230. While most IRB offices accept this protocol, it is always good practice to confirm with them, if you have any questions.

This survey will be distributed yearly. You are welcome to sign up for the next distribution cycle in a future year.

There are several ways in which ACES differs from, yet complements the Data Buddies Survey:

  1. In agreement with the Data Buddies research team, we only distribute ACES each spring semester, to avoid overlap with the Data Buddies distribution cycle (fall). This allows departments to receive two types of important department information each academic year.
  2. ACES only collects information related to student perceptions of efforts to create equitable and inclusive environments, comfort discussing departmental concerns, experiences related to a lack of inclusion and accessibility, and overall satisfaction with department efforts. This includes responses related to leadership, faculty, staff, teaching assistants, and students. ACES does not collect the same information as the Data Buddies Survey, making it a great complement to the information received through the program.
  3. ACES collects closed- and open-ended responses. This allows departments to see direct student responses that support the quantitative results. All qualitative responses are de-identified and included in department reports.
  4. Demographic data collected includes race/ethnicity, gender, classification, disability status, and first-generation college student status.
  5. Responses from demographics with smaller sample sizes are not discarded in reporting. As researchers with multiple identities that are historically underrepresented in computing, we acknowledge that the most comprehensive and accurate perceptions of the department are often from those whose voices are the least represented. For this reason, we do not exclude any responses. Although directly or indirectly identifiable information is never shared, we avoid any potential identification (due to small sample sizes) by aggregating or anonymizing groups, as necessary. For example, a small response rate from students identifying as Black, Native American, and Latinx would be aggregated to “students from ethnoracial groups that are historically underrepresented in computing.” While we recognize this requires intentionality in the analysis (as no identity is a monolith), we are intentional about including all voices, while also protecting those who are the most vulnerable.

Students can opt-in to an online raffle for an online Visa gift card. This raffle occurs within 7 days of the survey closing, and students are notified via university email address provided. Note: We do not retain names and email addresses of any students opting into the raffle, it is never shared with department contacts, and it is destroyed before the data analysis period begins.

Absolutely! We hope that you will leverage this survey initially to obtain baseline data, and then in subsequent years to measure the impact of department interventions. We ask that you please ensure that AiiCE and ACES are appropriately cited in any dissemination efforts.