CERP found that nearly half of graduate students in computing degree programs surveyed in 2016 indicated they were not very knowledgeable about how to obtain research funding. Of note, this trend occurred among Ph.D. students as well as Terminal Master’s students: 45 percent of Ph.D. students and 52 percent of Terminal Master’s students indicated below average knowledge in this area. This finding suggests advisors and departments should spend more time working with students on this professional development skill.
Computing Research News
Articles relevant to the CRA Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP).
The CRA wishes to thank the computing departments who distributed CERP’s Data Buddies survey during the fall of 2017. These departments’ collective effort provided vital data for CERP’s research and evaluation assessing students’ varied experiences in computing degree programs.
Ph.D. students’ interest in a faculty position at a research university declined over time. This may be cause for concern for the academic community given that almost half all Ph.D. granting institutions with open searches for the 2017-2018 academic year were not able to fill all of the positions advertised.
CERP data indicate students who engage in a formal research experience during college are more likely to apply for graduate school and enroll in a Ph.D. program after college, compared to students without formal research experience.
CERP data indicate first year and second year students were proportionally less likely to attend a technical conference in computing over the past year compared to upper division students. This finding is important because participation in conferences may help foster engagement and retention in computing, particularly among first and second year students.
CRA’s own Jane Stout, director of the CRA Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP), was recently featured in the article “Q&A: Researcher Shares Strategies to Increase Diversity in Tech,” in EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education. Amy Burroughs, managing editor of EdTech spoke to Jane about why the lack of diversity in tech persists, how institutions benefit from diverse groups and how IT leaders can build more diverse teams. Drawing from her social science background and her current research on factors that influence women and minorities pursuing computing careers, Jane emphasized building a sense of belonging and community and encouraged IT managers to actively recruit women who can serve as role models and mentors. She also encourages IT managers to recognize that there are different types of effective leadership styles.
Mentorship is an important part of graduate school as it can foster students’ growth into successful computing professionals. CERP’s Data Buddies survey for computing graduate students found that Ph.D. and Master’s level students consider different groups of individuals to be their mentors.
We found most undergraduate computing students believe computing careers afford ample opportunity to be in a position of influence and serve humanity. However, students believe computing careers afford relatively less opportunity to spend time with family. These findings suggest computing careers may be unattractive to groups of students who place strong value on family.
CERPCRA-WExpanding the Pipeline
The Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) held the 2017 Change Leader Forum in Westminster, Colorado from June 12 – 14, 2017. The Forum provided attendees an unparalleled opportunity to engage with diversity and inclusion advocates, and learn research based best-practices related to gender equity and inclusion in engineering. Nearly 200 attendees representing a variety of institutions and roles participated in the Forum, including university leaders, corporate partners, engineering faculty, K-12 teachers, and academic diversity officers. CERP Director Jane Stout was a panelist on the opening keynote panel presentation “A Research Agenda on Gender in Engineering and Computing.”
CRA-WExpanding the Pipeline
Engaging undergraduates in research can be an effective way to increase their confidence, perception of science, and sense of belonging. But at many large research universities, it can be difficult for undergraduate students—especially early undergraduates—to find research opportunities. Furthermore, even when they find opportunities, they might not have the background, training, or support to be successful. These issues are particularly acute for women and other underrepresented groups in computer science as they tend to have less pre-college computer science experience. The program is working with CERP to understand the impact ERSP has on its participants.