Archive for March 21, 2010

US Dept of Ed says CS is part of STEM

A note follows from Susan Rodger to ACM SIGCSE members, from her position on the ACM Education Policy Committee.  This is great news!  Cameron Wilson showed us this at the ACM Education Council meeting last weekend — the quoted statement showed up in the Federal Register, so it’s citable:

As a member of the ACM Education Policy Committee I wanted to make SIGCSE members aware of two important items.

1) First, the Department of Education has recognized computer science as a
science part of STEM. This is important for applying for funds related to

“Consistent with the Race to the Top Fund program, the Department interprets
the core academic subject of science under section 9101(11) to include
STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) which
encompasses a wide-range of disciplines, including computer science.”

2) The Department of Education has two funds to apply for:

a) Invest in Innovation Fund (I3)
You can apply for these funds. A letter of intent is due April 1.

b) Race to the Top
Only states can apply for these funds, but you can contact your
state department of education and point out to them that computer
science is an eligible discipline and ask how computer science
education fits into your state’s plan.

For more details, please see this memorandum from ACM:


Susan Rodger, Professor of the Practice
Dept. of Computer Science, Box 90129
LSRC Room D237
Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0129

March 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm 3 comments

In India, Most CS Grads are Women

The latest issue of CSTA Voice is focused in international computing education issues.  I find these articles fascinating for giving us a sense of what are the factors influencing computing education outcomes, in combinations we might not be trying.  Comparisons with other countries can help us to question some of our assumptions.

Roli Varma writes about computing education in India:

According to government statistics for 2003, women in India received 32% of bachelor engineering degrees and 55% of bachelor CS degrees. This may be surprising in light of the fact that women in India have little to no early exposure to computers or time using them as tools. In 2008, the World Bank ranked India 160th in the world with a per capita income of $950, making ownership of a computer a luxury which few can afford. As a result, young women are unlikely to have used computers until they are admitted to a university.

Is exposure to computer science in high school a necessity to engage female students in computing?  Not in India.  It may still be a necessity in the United States, where public opinion about computing may have turned girls away from computing early.  Clear in both situations, though, is that use of computing doesn’t have a lot to do with pursuing computer science as a major.  We have lots of use of computing here, and few female majors.  They have little use of computing, and many female majors.

March 21, 2010 at 8:42 am 3 comments

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