Posts tagged ‘undergraduate enrollment’

Trends in CS Enrollments at Small, Liberal Arts Colleges

Great to see some data on what’s going on at smaller schools, not just in the doctoral-granting institutions.  On average, as much of an upswing as what’s reported in the Taulbee, but not all schools reporting increases.  Interesting analyses of what’s working and what’s not.

What contributes to the program’s success? Faculty involvement, quality teaching, and enthusiasm for undergraduate research. Flexibility with prerequisites and independent studies. Outreach. Interdisciplinary projects. Growing knowledge/visibility about CS and its broad usefulness, including awareness among faculty colleagues. The job market. Multiple introductory courses/sections. Inclusion in general distribution requirements. Becoming a separate department. Stable set of faculty. Students choosing first-semester courses themselves.

Decline?  External forces/national trends. Not enough faculty to offer enough spaces in lower level courses. Faculty turnover. Student rumor mill (regarding a potential cut).

via Trends in CS Enrollments at Small, Liberal Arts Colleges (BoF Survey Results) – Google Drive.

April 4, 2013 at 1:44 am 1 comment

Computer science enrollments soared last year, rising 30% – Computerworld

The growth of departments in the Taulbee report is astonishing, but what Computerworld got wrong is calling it “computer science enrollments,” as opposed to “computer science enrollments in PhD-granting institutions.”  The Taulbee report doesn’t cover all CS departments, and that’s why the new NDC survey has been launched.

The Taulbee report also indicates that the percent of women graduating with a Bachelors in CS has risen slightly, while the Computer Engineering percentage has dropped.  Both are well south of 15%, though — a depressingly small percentage.

The number of new undergraduate computing majors in U.S. computer science departments increased more than 29% last year, a pace called “astonishing” by the Computing Research Association.

The increase was the fifth straight annual computer science enrollment gain, according to the CRA’s annual surveyof computer science departments at Ph.D.-granting institutions.

via Computer science enrollments soared last year, rising 30% – Computerworld.

March 18, 2013 at 1:39 am 1 comment

Connecticut aims to grow STEM enrollment

Interesting model.  To be effective, I’d suggest hiring the STEM faculty with an eye toward STEM education.  Hire faculty who want to make improving the quality and retention of STEM graduates, not just more STEM researchers.  Make it count.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced Thursday a plan to dedicate $1.5 billion to growing the science, technology, engineering, and math programs at the University of Connecticut. The money will be used to hire more faculty members, enroll more students, build new STEM facilities and dorms, and create new doctoral fellowships and a STEM honors program.

The proposal, called Next Generation Connecticut, spans UConn’s three campuses. If the program passes the state legislature, it would increase the number of engineering undergraduates enrolled by 70 percent and the number of STEM graduates by 47 percent. UConn currently enrolls 7,701 undergraduates and 1,973 graduate students in STEM fields. It would also fund the hiring of 259 new faculty members, 200 of whom would be in the STEM fields.

“It’s transformational,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “It’s really every president’s hope that they get this kind of investment from their state or from their donors.”

via Connecticut and Texas aim to grow STEM enrollment, but take different approaches | Inside Higher Ed.

February 27, 2013 at 1:25 am Leave a comment

The future of the university with MOOCs: It’s all about the individual

Interesting piece in Inside HigherEd which argues that the real impact of MOOCs on the University is to get the University out of the business of engaging students and working to improve completion, retention, and graduation rates.  Nobody gets into the University until proven by MOOC.  And since so few people complete the MOOCs, the percentage of the population with degrees may plummet.

Constructing this future will take some time, but not much time.  It only requires the adaptation of various existing mechanisms for providing proctored exams worldwide and a revenue and expense model that allows all the providers (university and faculty content providers, MOOC middleware providers, and quality control providers) to establish profitable fee structures.  In this model, the risk and cost of student engagement is borne by the students alone.  The university assumes no responsibility for student success other than identifying quality courses.  The MOOC middleware companies create and offer the content through sophisticated Internet platforms available to everyone but make no representations about the likelihood of student achievement.  Indeed, many student participants may seek only participation not completion. The quality control enterprise operates on a fee-for-service basis that operates without much concern for the number of students that pass or fail the various proctored tests of content acquisition, and many participants in MOOC activities may not want to engage the quality control system.

via MOOCs and the Future of the University | Inside Higher Ed.

January 28, 2013 at 1:18 am 6 comments

SAT is less predictive for females?

I’d not heard this claim before, seen below in an interesting USA Today piece on trying to get more women into STEM fields.  Is it really the case that math SAT scores are not as predictive for females as males?  I found one study about SAT predictive power, but it doesn’t seem to say that SAT is less predictive for women.  I found other pieces complaining about the predictive power for SAT, but I didn’t see anything about the role of gender.

Not to be ignored is the school’s decision in 2007 to make SAT scores optional in admissions. Tichenor says math SAT scores were not accurately predicting the success of its female students. Historically, average math SAT scores for women have been lower than those for men.

Celina Dopart, who graduated this spring from Worcester Polytechnic with a degree in aerospace engineering and is headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall for graduate work, says she submitted her scores, but liked the message sent by the test-optional policy.

via Math and science fields battle persistent gender gap –

September 12, 2012 at 5:39 am 10 comments

Claim: Mr. President, there is no engineer shortage, at least compared to China

Interesting response to President Obama’s call for creating many more engineers, which has started from the claim that we’re not being competitive with China’s production of engineers. This article from the Washington Post suggests that there isn’t a shortage of engineers at all in the US. It feels like the problem of determining whether or not we have enough CS enrollment – what’s “enough”?

What’s more, China’s tally of 350,000 was suspect because China’s definition of “engineering” was not consistent with that of U.S. educators. Some “engineers” were auto mechanics or technicians, for example. We didn’t dispute that China was and is dramatically increasing its output of what it calls engineers. This year, China will graduate more than 1 million (and India, close to 500,000). But the skills of these engineers are so poor that comparisons don’t make sense. We predicted that Chinese engineers would face unemployment. Indeed, media reports have confirmed that the majority of Chinese engineers don’t take engineering jobs but become bureaucrats or factory workers.

Then there is the question of whether there is a shortage of engineers in the United States. Salaries are the best indicator of shortages. In most engineering professions, salaries have not increased more than inflation over the past two decades. But in some specialized fields of software engineering in Silicon Valley and in professions such as petroleum engineering, there have been huge spikes. The short answer is that there are shortages in specific fields and in specific regions, but not overall. Graduating more of the wrong types of engineers is likely to increase unemployment rather than create jobs.

via President Obama, there is no engineer shortage – The Washington Post.

December 26, 2011 at 9:47 am 6 comments

Big growth in CS in NYC

Interesting piece that takes a regional perspective on undergraduate CS enrollment. The suggestion is that New York is seeing a big growth in computer science because the focus there is across disciplines, not just technology for technology sake (as in Silicon Valley). It’s based on a notion that computing is “a basic skill in the 21st century.”

The number of declared undergraduate computer science majors at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science jumped 12% this year over last year; at New York University, the number rose 10%. Queens College and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., also reported jumps in the number of computer science majors. At the same time, the number of students enrolled in computer science classes has surged between 30% and 50%, professors said.

via Students Shift to Computer Science –

December 22, 2011 at 7:25 am 5 comments

Is CS now “the hottest major on campus”?

I completely believe that the “elites” are having a major up-tick in CS applications.  Is everyone?  I am not hearing the same level of optimism at all colleges and universities.  When I visited Melbourne last week, I learned that CS applications for next year’s undergraduate class are down 10% for the entire state of Victoria.  Enrollment is a big issue there.

I don’t have data that says that CS isn’t growing nationwide, but more to the point, I don’t think anyone has data that can tell us.  We only have data from the Taulbee Report.  We need Taurus.

The nation’s best undergraduate computer science programs are bracing for a record number of applications this fall, as more high school seniors are lured by plentiful jobs, six-figure starting salaries and a hipster image fostered by the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

Early admissions are piling up at elite tech schools, including Carnegie Mellon University, Harvey Mudd College and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology – all of whose undergraduate computer science and engineering programs are rated tops by U.S. News & World Report, the de facto college ranking in the United States.

via Hottest major on campus? Computer science.

November 29, 2011 at 9:37 am 10 comments

Are the professors there to please the students or tell them the truth?

Alan Kay sent me the (below) linked article by Al Gore from Rolling Stone.  While the article is about climate change, it’s using climate change as a backdrop for considering the role of news media in science reporting today.  Is the role of the news media entertainment, where getting people to watch the show the goal?  Or is the goal of the news media fairness, about getting a story out that the journalist believes is true and considers all reasonable positions?  The article talks a good bit about the pervasiveness of television as a news source today (yeah, some people get news from the Internet, but many of the major Internet news sites are just the web-side of television media), and how big business directly manipulates television media.  I didn’t know that Big Tobacco had paid actors to dress as doctors, to create ads contradicting the Surgeon General on smoking back in the 60’s.

There are critiques of  this piece, based on the gap between Gore’s science (which is robust) and his policy recommendations (which have been less successful).  But here’s why (I suspect) Alan sent me this piece.  What’s our role as professors?  Just as media are supposed to play a watchdog role in society, we as professors have a particular role to play in society.  In fact, our role is similar to journalists (or so it’s been, historically), and runs into similar tensions. Is our goal to please the students-as-customers, to keep them happy, and give them what (they think) they want?  Or maybe our goal is to please the industrial employer-as-customer, to teach their tools, and to give the what (they think) they want?  Or is our goal to speak truth (as we see it), to teach what we believe is most fundamental, and thus, to give students and employers a new perspective?  Is it more important to get seats in chairs, or to get educated students out of those chairs?

The answer isn’t simple.   The new media need viewers to be economically sustainable, but they also need to be the truth-seekers in our society.We need more graduates, and we know that engaging them is the best way to get them to continue.  So yes, we need kids in seats, and we need to them to be happy.  But we also have a responsibility to educate, to teach students what we truly believe that they need, and to provide a deeper and more powerful perspective to industry.

The referee — in this analogy, the news media — seems confused about whether he is in the news business or the entertainment business. Is he responsible for ensuring a fair match? Or is he part of the show, selling tickets and building the audience? The referee certainly seems distracted: by Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, the latest reality show — the list of serial obsessions is too long to enumerate here.

via Al Gore: Climate of Denial | Rolling Stone Politics.

August 12, 2011 at 7:24 am 3 comments

4 Out of 5 in Community College Want to Transfer, Report Says –

Making transfer easier from community colleges is a big focus of the CAITE broadening participation in computing alliance. Community colleges tend to be much more diverse. Make it easier for those students (who are already interested in College) to get into your departments, and you have a strategy for improving diversity in your department. This new report says that lots of community college students want to do exactly that. What’s the problem then? Letting community college students know what classes to take to make the transfer easier, and making sure that departments in colleges, universities, and community colleges keep talking about changes to their curricula so that the mapping is up-to-date.

As many as four out of five community college students in the United States want to transfer to a four-year institution so they can obtain a bachelor’s degree, according to a report released Thursday by the College Board.

The report, on the challenges facing students who transfer from two-year public colleges to four-year institutions, also found that two of every five undergraduates in the United States is enrolled in a community college.

The report, “Improving Student Transfer From Community Colleges to Four-Year Institutions,” draws on interviews with 21 administrators from 12 universities, including Georgetown and the University of Southern California.

The popularity of community colleges can be attributed to a number of factors, including proximity to home and rising tuition at four-year institutions. The average tuition at a public community college is 36 percent of that at a public four-year university, according to the report.

via 4 Out of 5 in Community College Want to Transfer, Report Says –

August 10, 2011 at 5:59 am 5 comments

Women’s experience in undergrad engineering differs by race

A new study out of U. Washington found that women of different races had different experiences in undergraduate engineering.  Their data suggest that institutions can’t just recruit “women” as a whole, that different strategies are needed for different female groups.

The study used data collected in 2008 by the Project to Assess Climate in Engineering survey, conducted by UW researchers and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Investigators distributed questionnaires and interviews to undergraduate engineering students at 21 U.S. colleges and universities that were interested in supporting diversity programs. The study received more than 10,500 responses, with higher than average numbers of women and minority students.

“The study’s size gave us a really great opportunity to talk about race, which is usually not possible in engineering,” Litzler said.The UW researchers looked at the aggregate findings to seek overall trends among the responses. Students were asked about such subjects as teaching, labs, student interactions, personal experiences and their perceptions of their major.

“We see important trends in our findings,” Litzler said. “For example, Hispanics reported feeling like they were taken less seriously than other students. African-Americans, not at all.” However, black women reported higher instances of feeling singled out in the classroom because of their race than Hispanic, Native American and Asian-American women.  Another significant finding related to female students’ comfort approaching their professors. Many female students said they were uncomfortable approaching professors with questions, but black women were significantly less likely to report this as an issue.

via Race matters when recruiting, retaining undergraduate women engineers — University of Washington –

July 27, 2011 at 11:11 am Leave a comment

No cost for cheerleading or band instead of CS? Offer remedial classes for those who missed CS?

I got beat up a bit after my talk at TTU Tapestry a couple weeks ago. Two teachers from the same school stopped me at lunch, after my keynote, and complained about how we at Georgia Tech run our CS1 for Engineers in MATLAB.  “How can you expect students to be able to succeed in a programming course, with no high school CS?  Why don’t you offer some starter course with no programming first?”  I tried to explain that students do succeed in all three of our CS1’s with no previous programming experience, and our data suggest that students learn and succeed (e.g., relatively small percentage drop-out or fail) in these courses.  (This is in sharp contrast to the Peter Norvig piece about learning Java in 21 days.)

As the teachers went on with their complaints about me and Georgia Tech,  more of the story came out. Some of their students had gone to Georgia Tech in Engineering, had floundered in the CS for Engineers course, and were calling these high school teachers regularly for help.  “They spend a huge amount of hours working in labs!  More than others in their class, because they didn’t get the chance to take CS in high school.  Some kids have band or cheerleading, and they can’t fit CS in.  That shouldn’t mean that they have to spend so much extra time in lab to catch up!”

It’s that last argument that I had the most trouble with.  Their students didn’t have the background knowledge in CS. It seems clear to me that those students should have to work harder than those that have the background knowledge. That the teachers thought that the extra work was unusual or extreme surprised me.  There was an implicit assumption that, because these students didn’t get the background classes due to band and cheerleading, we at Georgia Tech should provide remedial classes.  To be clear, it’s not that the CS wasn’t offered at their high school. Their school has two CS teachers. It’s just that cheerleading and band took priority over preparing for the Engineering program at Georgia Tech, which requires computer science.

What is the expectation of high school teachers for the workload in CS1?  What is the expectation of high school teachers for what College CS classes will demand?  Is it reasonable to expect Colleges to provide the introductory classes that others get in high school?  Maybe it is reasonable for Colleges to provide more high school level classes, especially if we want to grow enrollment.  But I do worry about the perspective that says that it’s reasonable to skip the intellectual background classes because of non-academic activities.  I have nothing against non-academic activities like band and cheerleading.  However, the non-academic activities are not an excuse for a lack of background knowledge for higher-education — and if you do miss the background classes, you should expect to have to work harder when you get to College.

July 19, 2011 at 8:56 am 8 comments

NCWIT database of CS jobs vs graduates per Congressional district

Joanne Cohoon presented this really interesting database at TTU Tapestry this week. NCWIT has gathered data from a variety of sources to let you see the predicted number of jobs requiring a CS/IT degree vs the predicted number of CS/IT graduates per state and per Congressional district.  There are some hiccups in the data, because this stuff is hard to measure.  One hiccup in the data is apparent if you look up at Arizona — it’s the only state in the US where the supply of graduates far exceeds the number of jobs.  That’s because all the University of Phoenix graduates nationwide get counted as Arizona graduates.  When I look up my Congressional district, I find very few graduates — but I wonder if that’s because there are no CS programs in my Congressional district.  As a ballpark measure, it really brings home the huge demand for IT/CS College graduates.

On this page you’ll find data about IT jobs and computer science education, disaggregated by state and congressional district. We encourage you to use these data to influence educators, legislators, administrators, parents, and other decision-makers where you live or work. Please keep in mind that these are the best available computing education and workforce indicators to date; however, they do have limitations. They should serve as a starting point for advocating for CS education and NOT as a way to rank or evaluate specific states and districts. To get the full picture, we suggest you start with the national graphic and then move to state- and district-level data.

via NCWIT : Our Work : Campaigns : Improving Computer Science Education.

July 8, 2011 at 10:08 am 3 comments

Does Engineering in K-12 work? UK vs US

I didn’t know that Engineering was a “foundation subject” and “compulsory” in the UK elementary school curriculum.  The article below makes it sound really great.  The part that I’m wondering about is whether the UK is having more luck filling their STEM classes than we are in the US.  My perception was that the whole of the Western world was having trouble enticing kids into STEM.  If UK has had engineering in the elementary school curriculum for 20 years, but is ending up with the same problems getting students to major in STEM, maybe the argument is weakened that we should put Engineering and Computing into elementary school to help bolster enrollments?

The way the U.K. teaches engineering is a lot more exciting these days. The curriculum has evolved from making matchbox holders in woodworking to designing circuit boards and electronics. Design and Technology, D&T, was introduced around 20 years ago and takes a holistic approach to learning. Science and math principles are taught through hands-on activities, not through rote learning. Students learn by making things, making mistakes and learning from both. D&T can help shape the next generation of engineers.

While D&T is growing in the U.K., it’s all but absent in the U.S. At a time when engineering is in such high demand, D&T should be considered as part of the school day. Science and engineering vacancies are anticipated to grow 70 percent faster than other jobs, but there won’t be enough qualified people to fill them. With China trending to overtake the U.S. as the number one economy, ensuring the next generation is equipped with the skills needed to engineer the future is paramount.

via The Missing Link Between STEM Education and Jobs of the Future – James Dyson – Technology – The Atlantic.

June 30, 2011 at 1:46 am 3 comments

Hollywood Spurs Surge in Computer Science Majors –

It’s great for CS to get this kind of coverage in the NYTimes, but the assumptions in the article still bother me.  Do we really know that it’s due to Hollywood that there’s a surge?  Eric Roberts thinks it’s more due to people realizing that CS is a great career boost in a bad economy.  And we still don’t know much about the commonality of the enrollment rise.  NYtimes uses CRA data, which is robust but not pervasive — it’s high-quality data, but only about research institutions.  The department closings in the last couple years suggest that not everyone is seeing enrollment increases.

Never mind that Mr. Zuckerberg, like other tech titans, did not major in computer science — or even finish college. Enrollment in computer science programs, and degrees from them, are rising after a decade of decreases, despite much handwringing about the decline of American competitiveness in technology and innovation from President Obama on down. And educators and technologists say the inspiration is partly Hollywood’s portrayal of the tech world, as well as celebrity entrepreneurs like Steven P. Jobs of Apple and Mr. Zuckerberg who make products that students use every day.

via Hollywood Spurs Surge in Computer Science Majors –

June 13, 2011 at 8:55 am 4 comments

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