Tag Archive: Diversity

Articles on diversity analysis and efforts.


After Leaving Computing, New Majors Tend to Differ by Gender

As computing departments across the U.S. wrestle with increased enrollment, it is important to recognize that not everyone who becomes a computing major stays a computing major. In 2014, CERP collected data from a cohort of U.S. undergraduate students who agreed to be contacted for follow-up surveys in 2015. While most of the students surveyed remained computing majors (96%), some students changed to a non-computing major. As shown in the graphic above, students in our sample moved to a variety of majors, and the type of new major tended to differ by gender. Most men (69%) who left a computing major switched to engineering, math/statistics, or physical science majors. On the other hand, most women (53%) tended to move to social sciences, or humanities/arts. These data are consistent with existing social science research indicating women tend to choose fields that have clear social applications, such as the social sciences, arts, and humanities. CERP’s future analyses will explore why women, versus men, say they are leaving computing for other fields.

Note this summary of longitudinal survey data is suggestive and is intended to spur further empirical investigation. Given our sample size, we did not run inferential statistics and do not claim the gender differences are significantly different. As such, the findings reported here should be interpreted with caution.

Tapia GroupTapia Group

Expanding the Pipeline: The 2016 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Shows Inclusion Matters

The 10th annual ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing (hashtag #Tapia2016) was held in Austin, Texas, on September 14-17. This year’s conference had a record-breaking 965 attendees, achieving 20 percent growth over 2015. Eighty sponsors and 150 colleges and universities were represented. With the theme “Diversity Matters,” the Tapia conference brought together students, faculty, researchers, and professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities in computing, and is the premier venue to promote and celebrate diversity in the field. The Tapia conference was sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).

Photo CollagePhoto Collage

Expanding the Pipeline: PROMISE Brings a New Phase of #ThinkBigDiversity to Maryland Grad Students

Graduate students in STEM fields can find their M.S. and doctoral experiences to be both isolating and academically challenging. Loneliness can be particularly poignant when the graduate student is a member of an underrepresented group; has had an undergraduate experience that was connected by school spirit, such as collectively rooting for the college’s sports teams; or has participated in group-based academic student success initiatives, such as the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, which primarily connect to undergraduate students.

To combat isolation, PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, hosts the annual Summer Success Institute (SSI), a pre-semester weekend conference in August for graduate students. The SSI features professional development activities that directly cater to the needs of graduate students in STEM, and peripherally to “postdoctoral fellows, professors, and career professionals (PP&P).”


Expanding the Pipeline: The National GEM Consortium Shines a Bright Light on Graduate Education and Retention

GEM is a network of leading corporations, government laboratories, universities, and research institutions that enables qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue graduate education in applied science and engineering. Its mission is to enhance the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups—namely, African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans—at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science. GEM recruits high-quality underrepresented students seeking to pursue advanced degrees in applied science and engineering, and matches their specific skills to the specific technical needs of GEM employer members.


Expanding the Pipeline: LAtINiTY: Empowering Latin American Women in Technology

The Latinas in Computing (LiC) community was established with the help of The Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology (ABI) at the 2006 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). Recognizing the status of Latinas as a double minority in North America, this community defines and implements strategies to improve the participation of the current and next generations of Latinas in technology. These dual strategies complement the work done by the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC) that focused on the recruitment and retention of minority students in computing-based fields in North America, and the work done by the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) to grow the research pipeline of women in computing. National Science Foundation (NSF) data shows Hispanic or Latino enrollment increased from 7.2% in 2002 to 9.9% in 2012, but the hiring of underrepresented minorities seems to be “stuck in neutral.”

WOCinTech ChatWOCinTech Chat

How to Recruit More Diverse Students: Challenges and Opportunities

In an era when the media talks about higher education in unique ways—such as focusing on the need for universities to display high post-graduation job placement rates and higher starting salaries to justify increasing tuition, and the need for college students to be well trained for the available opportunities in our national labor force—computing is perfectly positioned for recruiting prospective students. Indeed, for some groups and universities, growth in the area of computing has been strong and continues to grow (Zweben & Bizot, 2015). One fact sometimes cited by programs looking to encourage prospective students to matriculate in their major is to say that workers in STEM disciplines command higher wages, earning 26% more than their non-STEM peers. Another message focuses on the fact that workers with STEM degrees earn more even when they do not work in a STEM occupation (Langdon, McKittrick, Beede, Khan, & Doms, 2010). Despite the fact that these messages are well received by some individuals, for others, these messages are not sufficient to recruit them into a computing program.

Asian Versus White Student SUpportAsian Versus White Student SUpport

A Comparison of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and White Undergraduate Student Familial Support

Education research focusing on diversity in computing in the United States often considers Asian/Asian American students and White students to be “advantaged” demographic groups. However, Data Buddies survey data collected during the fall of 2015 indicate Asian/Asian American versus White students’ experiences pursuing computing degrees may differ. For instance, CERP examined undergraduate students’ family support for pursuing a computing degree. Whereas South Asian students’ level of family support was statistically equivalent to that of White students, East Asian and Southeast Asian students’ family support was significantly lower than that of their White peers, p ≤ .05. These findings suggest Asian/Asian American and White students may overlap in some experiences in computing, but this overlap may depend on students’ cultural identities within their Asian/Asian American identities.


TECHNOLOchicas: Raising Awareness of Technological Opportunities for Latinas

In the U.S., both the Hispanic population and the number of computing and STEM-related jobs are exponentially on the rise. By 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor expects 1.1 million computing-related job openings, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics reports that currently one in five women in the U.S. are Hispanic, and by 2060, nearly one in three women will be Hispanic.

Yet, in 2015, only one percent of the jobs in the computing workforce were occupied by Latinas. Furthermore, in 2014, Hispanic women received 2 percent of doctoral degrees in computer and information sciences.

Our country’s global economic power and influence greatly depend on our innovation competitiveness, but we’re not taking advantage of our diverse population. Latinas represent a vastly untapped talent pool, and the current representation of Latina girls and women in tech is dismal, both in the workforce and in education. Developing Latinas as qualified, technical job candidates is vital in not only increasing the bottom line of the U.S. economy and creating diversity in the computing workforce, but also for improving the economic outlook of the Hispanic community.

Student at grad cohort 2016Student at grad cohort 2016

2016 Grad Cohort: Strengthening the Community of Females in Computing

CRA-W recently hosted its latest Graduate Cohort Workshop (Grad Cohort) on April 14-15, in San Diego, Calif. Thanks to support from various sponsors, more than 550 female graduate students in computer science attended the event, up from 365 in 2015. Despite its significant growth, the program remains selective; more than 1,000 students applied for this year’s workshop. At the gathering, 31 speakers from industry, academia, and government shared their advice and strategies for success in graduate school.


Want to Encourage Gender Diversity? Choose Your Words WISEly

In recent decades, there have been many Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) initiatives aimed at increasing the participation of women in these fields. In computer science and engineering, the percentage of women pursuing degrees and careers has remained relatively low. According to CRA’s annual Taulbee Survey of Ph.D. granting institutions, less than 15 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees were awarded to women in the 2013-14 academic year [1]. Given the significant increases of women in other traditionally male dominated fields such as law and medicine in the past 50 years [2], computing’s persistent low representation of women is rather disappointing, to say the least. Women’s low participation is also alarming when we consider the increasing number of jobs in computing, as well as the positive impact of improving gender diversity on innovation in research settings [3] and on collective intelligence [4]. So the question becomes, how do we change things?