Archive for April 9, 2010

You must be REALLY desperate!

“You must be really desperate!” is the underlying message in today’s Wall Street Journal.  “You want women so badly in computing, you enlisted Barbie?!?”

The voting was open to anyone, and nobody could vote more than once. But by the end of the first week, a growing flood of adult votes for computer engineer Barbie trumped the popular choice. Female computer engineers who learned about the election launched a viral campaign on the Internet to get out the vote and ensure Barbie would join their ranks.

“Please help us in getting Barbie to get her Geek on!” came the appeal from the blog GeekGirlCamp.com.

As Mattel puts it: Computer engineer Barbie “won the popular vote” and anchorwoman won the girls’ vote.

Why grown women felt so strongly about having themselves represented by a doll—especially one that feminists have always loathed—speaks volumes both about the power of the iconic Barbie doll and the current state of women who work in computer and information sciences. Their ranks have declined in the past two decades. In 2008, women received only 18% of computer science degrees, down from 37% in 1985, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

via Barbie, Who Has Flitted From Profession to Profession, This Year Let the Voters Decide – WSJ.com.

April 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm 5 comments

Minority Men in Community College

Interesting piece about an important stage of higher-ed for computing educators.  Community colleges are much more diverse than four-year colleges or universities.  The NSF BPC CAITE alliance is focusing on improving the matriculation from those community colleges into bachelors and graduate degree granting institutions in Massachusetts. This piece highlights three areas of challenge for these men.  The issues related to their identity reminds me of  Betsy DiSalvo’s Glitch work.  Their motivations for attending college are interesting and link back to the issues of identity.

This study draws on the experiences of 87 African-American, Hispanic, and Native American men who were enrolled in developmental math courses at four Achieving the Dream institutions to find out more about what affects the success of men of color in community college. The fieldwork explored how students’ experiences in their high schools and communities, as well as their identities as men of color, influenced their decisions to go to college and their engagement in school. The students offered their perspectives in their own words in three rounds of focus groups and interviews during the 2007-08 academic year

via Terms of Engagement: Men of Color Discuss Their Experiences in Community College — Overview.

April 9, 2010 at 8:14 am 1 comment


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