Members of CRA-E are engaged in activities that promote the health of the computing research pipeline. Our activities are primarily focused on promoting undergraduate research, providing resources to faculty to prepare talented students for research, and encouraging undergraduates to pursue graduate education and research careers in computing fields.
CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers
The CRA-E oversees this prestigious annual award program which recognizes undergraduate students in North American colleges and universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research. Up to four CRA Undergraduate Researcher Awards are made each year. In addition, some nominees are designated as runners-up, finalists, and honorable mentions. Deadline is typically in October.
CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award
The award recognizes individual faculty members who have provided exceptional mentorship, undergraduate research experiences, and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of these students to research-focused graduate programs in computing. Eligible nominees are full-time faculty members at North American academic institutions. The award is given annually and multiple recipients may be chosen. Deadline is typically in November.
CRA-E Graduate Fellows
This CRA-E program gives graduate students the opportunity to get involved in a number of CRA-E’s activities in an effort to provide leadership experiences for young researchers interested in the research pipeline. Deadline is generally in January.
The goal of UR2PhD is to increase the percentage of women entering PhD programs by at least 15% per year, with even higher increases for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
The programs’ specific objectives are to:
- increase the number of undergraduate research opportunities for women (especially Black, Latina, and Native women) by expanding universities’ capacities for high-quality undergraduate research; and
- close the gap between a first research experience and a successful PhD application.
The CRA-E has partnered with CRA’s Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP) to develop and run PRE.CISE, a Peer-connected Undergraduate Research Exploration in Computer and Information Science and Engineering). Project PRE.CISE plans to connect CISE REU supplement students by creating a network of peers across institutions and provide information on graduate school and research career opportunities. The project also seeks to gather information to better understand the research experiences of students supported by REU Supplements in CISE disciplines. The 10-week summer program is available for undergraduates supported as REUs through an NSF CISE supplement award.
The CS Grad4US Mentoring Program supports and mentors recipients of the NSF CSGrad4US Graduate Fellowships returning to graduate school for a PhD in computer science.
The Conquer website provides resources for undergraduate students interested in research and graduate school and for faculty mentors. Some of the many resources on this site are:
- Information for students who want to get into research and guidance on applying and selecting a research-focused graduate program.
- Information for faculty on successful research with undergraduates. Includes a field-tested Powerpoint slide deck on “Why go to graduate school” that we recommend using at a presentation at least once per year.
- An FAQ section with the most commonly asked questions about grad school applications.
Undergraduate Research Highlights
The Research Highlights series showcases outstanding research done by undergraduate students. Each article features the story of a successful undergraduate researcher and offers personal insights into their experiences with finding an advisor, undertaking new research projects, and discovering how research can impact their personal and professional futures.
Teaching Faculty: Professional Development and Academic Careers Workshops
CRA-E offers workshops on informing graduate students and post-docs about academic teaching career options as well as professional development workshops for teaching track faculty in Ph.D. granting departments.
The Professional Development Workshop fills a crucial need as many Ph.D. granting departments have limited experience on how to mentor, evaluate, and promote teaching faculty. The Academic Landscape Workshops seek to increase awareness among prospective faculty candidates of the landscape of academic career options with a focus on teaching and to gain a better understanding of the landscape of academic positions. Both workshops inform participants of best practices, evaluation and promotion, engagement opportunities beyond teaching, responsibilities and rights, and strategies for successful scholarship.
- 2018 SIGCSE: Professional Development for Teaching Faculty
- 2019 SIGCSE: Professional Development for Teaching Faculty
- 2019 FCRC: Academic Careers: The Landscape is Broader than You Think
- 2020 SIGCSE: Professional Development for Teaching Faculty
- 2021 SIGCSE TS: Professional Development for Teaching Faculty
- 2022 SIGCSE: Professional Development for Teaching Faculty
- 2023 SIGCSE: Professional Development for Teaching Faculty
- 2023 FCRC: Teaching-Oriented Academic Careers: The Landscape is Broader than You Think
Videos on Computing Research
CRA-E, in collaboration with CRA, has created five short videos entitled “Choosing a PhD in Computer Science.” The videos showcase young researchers with PhDs who are now working in industry as they talk about what compelled them to pursue a doctorate and how they are using their advanced training in their work. We hope to produce additional videos in the future
Workshops on Best Practices in Mentoring Undergraduate Research
CRA-E holds workshops for faculty, postdocs, and senior graduate students at research conferences on best practices in involving undergraduates in research.
The Admissions Project
Recruiting domestic students (i.e., U.S. citizens and permanent residents) into computer science Ph.D. programs in the U.S. is a challenge for most departments, and the health of the “domestic Ph.D. pipeline” is of concern to universities, companies, government agencies, and federal research labs. This project conducted a study analyzing applications, acceptances, and matriculation rates to 14 doctoral programs. Informed by findings from these studies, recommendations to strengthen the domestic Ph.D. pipeline are presented. The result of the study can be found at https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~hadas/Snowbird2014.pdf and a summary appeared in Communications of the ACM, Understanding the U.S. Domestic Computer Science Ph.D. Pipeline, Vol.58, No. 8, July 2015.
The Pipeline Project
Increasing the number of US students entering graduate school and receiving a Ph.D. in computer science is a goal as well as a challenge for many US Ph.D. granting institutions. Although the total computer science Ph.D. production in the U.S. has doubled between 2000 and 2010, the fraction of domestic students receiving a Ph.D. from U.S. graduate programs has been below 50% since 2003. This study examined the baccalaureate origins of domestic students who have matriculated to Ph.D. programs in computer science. The result can be found here.