Study finds increased STEM enrollment: Taking from education and business

August 10, 2014 at 9:34 am 3 comments

First the good news: STEM enrollment is up.  Then the surprising news: Humanities are not losing students to STEM.  Rather, it’s the professional fields like education that are losing enrollment.  That makes CS Ed (and other STEM discipline-based education research (DBER) fields) the odd winner-losers.  Yay, there are more students, but there will be fewer STEM teachers in the future to teach them.

Policy makers regularly talk about the need to encourage more undergraduates to pursue science and technology fields. New data suggest that undergraduates at four-year institutions in fact have become much more likely to study those fields, especially engineering and biology.

And while much of the public discussion of STEM enrollments has suggested a STEM vs. liberal arts dichotomy (even though some STEM fields are in fact liberal arts disciplines), the new study suggests that this is not the dynamic truly at play. Rather, STEM enrollments are growing while professional field enrollments (especially business and education) are shrinking.

via Study finds increased STEM enrollment since the recession | Inside Higher Ed.

The ComputerWorldK agrees. They claim that the smart students were going into business, then Wall Street collapsed, and now they’re going into CS and that’s why we’re having sky-rocketing enrollments.

The number of computer science graduates will continue to increase. Computer science enrollments rose by nearly 30% in the 2011-12 academic year, and they increased 23% the year before that.

The trend of enrollment increases since 2010 bodes well for a “future increase in undergraduate computing production,” according to the report.

The recession that hit in 2008 sent IT unemployment soaring, but it may have done more damage to the finance sector, especially in terms of reputation. That prompted some educators at the time to predict that the recession might send math-inclined students from the world of hedge funds to computer science.

via Wall Street’s collapse was computer science’s gain – Computerworld.

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New NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Solicitation Get CS into Schools through Math and Science Classes: What we might lose

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alanone1  |  August 10, 2014 at 9:52 am

    “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

    The world from the perspective of whom? And what?

    P.S. can’t we try to evaluate both computing and STEM from a stronger point of view than just counting noses and wanting more of them? How about wanting more talent and ability and perspective with or without noses?

    Cheers,

    Alan

    Reply
    • 2. alanone1  |  August 10, 2014 at 9:55 am

      P.S. WordPress cut off the beginning of my comment, which was:

      “the smart students were going into business, then Wall Street collapsed” ?? Eeecks! And now “the *smart* students” are going into STEM and CS? Double Eeecks!

      Reply
  • 3. Raul Miller  |  August 10, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Probably more critical than any other educational policy is childhood nutrition.

    This is important for brain development which is fundamental for any educational program.

    And, frankly – looking at our inner cities, we have been falling down on the job here. I think we rely on immigration to make up for that problem, but that means we are missing a lot of opportunity.

    Beyond that, we have a problem with over-specialization. Probably all parents and potential parents should have some training in education. Probably the only way to accomplish this involves pushing educational basics at the grade school level – we should probably do a better job of training children to be good students. Do we even know how to do this?

    Finally, our industry segments are also overspecialized. If we recognize that childhood nutrition is important for our society, and that we have been failing at it, this probably means we need larger segments of our industry and society making sure that children are being adequately taken care of.

    This, combined with the self-interest of companies, suggests that nutrition support (aka “free” lunch) should be a part of the compensation plan of most successful companies. A large company can afford to “cut out the middle man” and go straight to the supplier. Many, of course – perhaps most – will not do this well. But even mediocre performance here would be better than status quo.

    Of course the STEM/CS debate is also interesting, and probably important. But it cannot really stand on its own.

    Reply

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