The NAS report discusses strategies central for managing enrollment and resources, and makes recommendations for departments and institutions. Its findings and recommendations provide much-needed guidelines on how institutions can allocate resources to meet growing student demand and to adequately support their computer science department in the increasingly central role of computer science in education and research.
Computing Research News
To investigate the current situation, CRA produced an enrollment survey to measure, assess, and better understand enrollment trends and their impact on computer science units, diversity, and more. Part of this effort included a survey of doctoral- and non-doctoral granting academic units in fall 2015. Generation CS: CS Enrollments Surge Since 2006 reports the survey results with respect to majors, nonmajors, diversity, impact on academic units, and units’ actions in response to the surge and is now available on the CRA website.
On Monday, August 15, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will hold a public Workshop on the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments.
This workshop is being convened as an information-gathering session of the Academies’ Study on the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments sponsored by the National Science Foundation and co-chaired by Susanne Hambrusch, professor of computer science at Purdue University and CRA Board Vice-Chair, and Jared Cohon, president emeritus of Carnegie Mellon University.
CERP recently collected data from Intro CS students as part of the “booming enrollments” research underway at the CRA. Within this dataset, a sample of undergraduate students (N = 50) who had recently dropped an Intro CS course reported their reasons for doing so. Women were significantly more likely than men to report they did not enjoy their Intro CS professor’s teaching style, and that the course content was too challenging, p < .05. These findings suggest that the “weed out” technique in Intro CS may have a more negative impact on women than men, and that the current “boom,” if left unchecked, has the potential to impair diversity efforts in CS.
CRA-WTaulbee Data Analysis, Expanding the Pipeline
We are in the throes of another undergraduate enrollment surge. The number of new CS/CE majors in bachelor’s programs at Taulbee departments this year has reached the peak levels seen at the end of the dot-com era. While this is better news than the opposite (declining enrollments), it is critical that the field take into account how policies and efforts to manage the enrollment surge will affect groups that are under-represented in computing.