Visit from Farnam Jahanian, AD for CISE at NSF

May 22, 2013 at 1:05 am 2 comments

Farnam Jahanian visited Georgia Tech last month.  Farnam is the Assistant Director at the US National Science Foundation, in charge of all computing related funding (CISE Division).  He spoke to issues about computing education funding, and I got to ask some of my questions, too.

He said that the Office of Management and Budget has really been driving the effort to consolidate STEM education funding programs.  OMB was unhappy that Biology, Engineering, and CISE all had their own STEM education programs.  However, CISE got to keep their education research program (as the new STEM-C program) because it was already a collaboration with the education division in NSF (EHR).  All the rest (including TUES) is being collapsed into the new EHR programs.

In his talk, he made an explicit argument which I’ve heard Jan Cuny make, but hadn’t heard an NSF AD make previously:

  1. We have a dramatic underproduction of computing degrees, around 40K per year.
  2. We have a dramatic under-representation of certain demographic groups (e.g., women, African-Americans, Hispanics), and we can’t solve #1 without solving that under-representation.  He says that the basic arithmetic won’t work.  We can’t get enough graduates unless we broaden participation in computing.
  3. We have a lack of presence in primary and secondary school in the United States (K-12).  He claims that we can’t solve #2 without fixing #3.  We have to have a presence so that women and under-represented minority groups will discover computing and pursue degrees (and careers) in it.
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2 Comments Add your own

  • […] to “engaging.”  Unless we draw in women and under-represented minorities, we can’t close the jobs-graduates gap.  We have to change how we teach to draw more women and under-represented minorities, and MOOCs […]

    Reply
  • […] We have very few AP CS teachers in the United States — about 1 for every 12 high schools, and they’re not evenly distributed.  I do get that an AP CS MOOC may make it more available to more students.  Still, I’m not excited too about a MOOC to teach AP CS.  AP CS is already overwhelmingly white and male.  The demographic data from existing CS MOOCs is even more white and male than our face-to-face classes.  I can’t see how an AP CS MOOC will improve diversity, and we have a desperate need to improve diversity. […]

    Reply

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