It is now well established that the field of computing research is lacking in demographic diversity, both in the academy and in industry. To address this issue, many computing-related mentorship and training programs with diversity goals have been established. But do they really work? And how, exactly, do we determine whether they do? In this article, I discuss the lack of diversity that exists in computing, examples of programs that have been developed to address the lack of diversity, and a new evaluation center at the CRA headquarters that offers rigorous, comparative evaluation of how participants in a given program fare in their computing career progression relative to non-participants. We invite all computing community members to get involved with CERP by (a) providing data to enable us to do comparative evaluation, (b) employing our infrastructure for program evaluation, and/or (c) by being an active audience as we learn about ways to increase diversity in computing.
Computing Research News
Articles relevant to the CRA Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP).
First year graduate students enrolled in a Ph.D. program in computing (N = 129) were asked How important was each of the following factors in your decision to pursue your current graduate degree in computing? Salary potential; Dependable employment; Career opportunities/advancement outside of academia. Responses ranged from (1) Not at all to (5) Extremely.
Undergraduate students who had participated in summer REUs were asked about the degree to which they obtained experience with the publication process while engaged in those REUs. Participants in CRA-W/CDC summer REU programs indicated that they had obtained significantly more experience with the publication process than students who had taken part in other summer REUs, p ≤ .05. Click here for full details.
Two samples of undergraduate students graduating with computing majors indicated their plans for the fall; data were collected during the spring of 2011 and 2012. CRA-W/CDC REU participants indicated that they planned to enroll in a computer science graduate program in the fall at a higher rate than any other type of students, p ≤ .05.
In September 2012, the National Science Foundation awarded funding for CERP as part of a Broadening Participation in Computing grant to an Alliance of the Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women (CRA-W) and the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC). The goal of CERP is to be a national resource for programs that promote research careers and diversity in computing. The Center’s flagship project is the development of the Data Buddies project, which is a database measuring issues of persistence among students and faculty in computing departments nationwide. In addition to its immediate value for program evaluation and benchmarking, this rich source of data will be analyzed in depth for what it can tell the computing community about factors that help thicken the research pipeline and underrepresented minorities and women (URM-Ws) in graduate programs and research careers.