Study finds increased STEM enrollment: Taking from education and business
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.
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.