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CRA Launches CS Enrollments Survey


CRA has launched a survey about the significant increases many institutions are seeing in undergraduate computer science course enrollments (often referred to as the enrollment boom). This is a question of deep concern to many in our community. The survey is a unique opportunity to measure, assess, and better understand enrollment trends and their impact on our field, and we would like to include as many academic units as possible.

Why an Enrollments Survey? Doesn’t Taulbee cover that?

The Taulbee Survey collects numbers of majors and pre-majors and gives an overview of growth in the field, but it doesn’t tell us about increased course enrollments by non-majors, or the effects of increases at the unit level. The goal of the Enrollments Survey is to measure, assess, and better understand enrollment trends and their impact on our field. We want to know what units are seeing, how they are responding, and where the pressure points are. We also want to try and understand any potential effects of the boom and department responses on diversity.

What kinds of questions are asked?

We ask questions about:

  • The unit context: degrees/ programs and resource allocation
  • Information on declaration of or admission to the major, which affects the unit’s ability to manage enrollments
  • Computing courses for non-majors
  • Changes in demand
  • Department impact and responses to demand increases
  • Enrollment numbers, current and historical, for a few representative courses (which may require assistance from an institutional data person)

With the exception of the representative course enrollments, most questions are not numerical. Many of the questions ask for opinions and observations about increases seen (or not) and impacts (if any) on the academic unit.

How will results be reported?

Results from this survey will be reported in preliminary form at SIGCSE in March 2016, and more completely at the CRA Conference at Snowbird in July 2016. A full report will also be produced and posted on the CRA website by September 2016. Our findings will also feed a National Academies study on computing enrollments.

Who should participate?

The survey is for units offering undergraduate programs in computer science. Currently we are surveying the same computing doctoral units in the U.S. and Canada that are eligible for the Taulbee Survey, with the exception of units that offer only computer engineering or information degrees.

Non-doctoral computing departments are expected to have the opportunity to answer the same questions through the ACM NDC survey, when it launches later this winter. Those departments can contact Yan Timanovsky at timanovsky@hq.acm.org to be included in ACM’s NDC Study of Non-Doctoral Granting Departments in Computing. See http://www.acm.org/education/acm-ndc-study for more information.

We recommend that the Unit/Department Head/Chair (or equivalent) complete the survey or oversee its completion. Messages were sent to most of those people on November 23. If you think you should have received one and did not, contact Betsy Bizot at CRA (see below). Be aware that people other than the chair, including those who usually respond to Taulbee, will not see this survey on their Taulbee home page unless access is specifically requested for them.

Have a question?

If you have questions about access to the online survey, contact Betsy Bizot at CRA, bizot@cra.org, 202-266-2943.

If you have questions about the project in general, contact CRA Board member Tracy Camp, tcamp@mines.edu, 303-384-2184.

 

Signed,

CRA Enrollments Committee
Tracy Camp, Committee Chair (Colorado School of Mines)
Rick Adrion (University of Massachusetts)
Betsy Bizot (CRA)
Susan Davidson (University of Pennsylvania)
Mary Hall (University of Utah)
Susanne Hambrusch (Purdue University)
Ellen Walker (Hiram College)
Stu Zweben (The Ohio State University)

 

 

CRA Launches CS Enrollments Survey