Posts tagged ‘NCWIT’
An argument for diversity is that it leads to better team decisions and designs. But it turns out that having women on the team at all leads to better group performance. It’s an important finding to argue why we need more women in CS, which is still a question I hear regularly, “So what if almost all our undergraduates are women?” Or as one blogger recently put it (see here if you really want to read more of this), “No one in the tech sector right now gives a shit about diversity. There is no reason whatsoever why a lack of diversity in the field would be a problem unless it comes from government quotas and legal threats.”
Instead, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics.
First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.
Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.
Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.
I’ve argued before that there is no reason to believe in the Geek Gene (see post here), and every reason to believe that good teaching can overcome “innate” differences (see post here). Now, a study in Science suggests that that belief in “innate gift or talent” can explain why some fields have more diversity and others do not.
Sparked by sharing anecdotes about their personal experiences in fields with very different gender ratios, a team of authors, led by Andrei Cimpian, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and philosopher Sarah-Jane Leslie of Princeton University, surveyed graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members at nine major U.S. research institutions. Participants rated the importance of having “an innate gift or talent” or “a special aptitude that just can’t be taught” to succeed in their field versus the value of “motivation and sustained effort.” The study, published online today in Science, looked across 30 disciplines in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, the social sciences, and the humanities.
The authors found that fields in which inborn ability is prized over hard work produced relatively fewer female Ph.D.s. This trend, based on 2011 data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, also helps explain why gender ratios don’t follow the simplified STEM/non-STEM divide in some fields, including philosophy and biology, they conclude.
I wrote my Blog@CACM post for January on the rising enrollment in computer science and how that is making irrelevant our advances in retaining students (see article here). Retention is simply not the problem in US CS programs today.
But thinking about the 1980’s and today (as described in this blog post), I began wondering if our boom-and-bust cycles might be related to our inability to manage the boom.
- First, we get a huge increase in enrollment due to some external factor (like the introduction of the personal computer).
- Then, we have to manage the rise in enrollment. We try to hire faculty, but we can’t bring them in fast enough. We stop worrying about high-quality, high-retention education — we need the opposite! We set up barriers and GPA requirements.
- Word gets out: CS is hard. The classes are too difficult. It’s too competitive. Minority group students suffer from the imposter phenomenon and leave faster than majority students.
- Result: Enrollment drops. Diversity decreases.
- Then the next external factor happens (like the invention of the graphical Web browser), and we start the sequence again.
If we could give everyone a seat who wanted one, and we continued to focus on retention and high-quality education, might we actually have a steady-state of a large CS class? Could our inability to manage the load actually be causing the bust side of the cycle?
GenderIT 2015 Advancing Diversity
Join us April 24-25 at the University of Pennsylvania!
In IT and technology-related fields at large, diversity has been a longstanding and troubling issue. Particularly, girls, women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in these fields; few engage in STEM-related classes or enter IT professions. What can we do to address these challenges? What do we know about interests, images, and intersections around gender, race, and IT? How can we design K-12 education and craft career trajectories so that more girls and minorities express interest and participate in IT? What are some promising and innovative designs and interventions? How are trends in related fields, such as gaming, connected to larger IT developments? In GenderIT 2015, we will set out to examine and discuss these issues and more around three focal areas:
– Promoting computer science education in K-12
– Understanding developments around gender and gaming
– Developing new interventions and applications for STEM
Call for Papers and Posters
We invite researchers, designers, and practitioners to participate in the conference through contributions from your own work. Relevant topics include:
+ gender specific aspects of IT appropriation and use
+ the role of the new media for learning
+ gender awareness in computer science curricula and IT trainings
+ the relation of gender and IT in education, training, and work
+ the significance of gender for career choices and qualification paths in the IT domain
We welcome submissions following ACM format in the form of long papers (8 pages), short papers (4 pages) or posters (2 pages).
▪ Submissions: February 20, 2015
▪ Notifications: March 5, 2015
▪ Camera-Ready: March 20, 2015
▪ Paper (long and short): A long paper should consist of no more than 8 pages; a short paper should be no more than 4 pages. This is including figures, references and appendices, and an abstract of no more than 150 words. Longer submissions will automatically be rejected. The submission must be original; it cannot be published or be in a review process elsewhere. Long and short papers will be published in the ACM Digital Library.
▪ Poster: Posters are for new work, preliminary findings, designs or educational projects. They are accompanied by a two-page abstract. This text should articulate out the aspect of the work that is apt to lead to productive discussion with conference participants in the poster session. Posters will be published in the in the ACM Digital Library.
All submissions must adhere to the formatting guidelines in the ACM proceedings template. All submissions will be blind-reviewed. Please prepare your submission accordingly.
Please submit your papers for GIT 2015 here. The paper submission system is supported by Easy Chair and requires the creation of an “author” account for all submissions.
I met Elena Glassman at the ICER Doctoral Consortium in 2013. Her article below on her “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit is an interesting commentary on gender bias in computing.
As it turned out, people were extremely interested in our AMA, though some not for the reasons we expected. Within an hour, the thread had rocketed to the Reddit front page, with hundreds of thousands of pageviews and more than 4,700 comments. But to our surprise, the most common questions were about why our gender was relevant at all. Some people wondered why we did not simply present ourselves as “computer scientists.” Others questioned if calling attention to gender perpetuated sexism. Yet others felt that we were taking advantage of the fact that we were women to get more attention for our AMA.
The interactions in the AMA itself showed that gender does still matter. Many of the comments and questions illustrated how women are often treated in male-dominated STEM fields. Commenters interacted with us in a way they would not have interacted with men, asking us about our bra sizes, how often we “copy male classmates’ answers,” and even demanding we show our contributions “or GTFO [Get The **** Out]”. One redditor helpfully called out the double standard, saying, “Don’t worry guys – when the male dog groomer did his AMA (where he specifically identified as male), there were also dozens of comments asking why his sex mattered. Oh no, wait, there weren’t.”
New International Conference: Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT)
Shared from Tiffany Barnes, with her permission.
The engagement of diverse people in an endeavor drives creativity and innovation, but in computing and STEM fields, broadening participation is also a matter of equity. It is critical that we, as the computer science education community, improve inclusion of diverse people, especially those from underrepresented populations. Globally, underrepresentation differs regionally and culturally by gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic advantage, physical, mental, and cognitive ability, and LGBT status. The need to support diversity becomes even more important for disenfranchised groups with limited legal rights and protections. Lest we think that this is a minority-only issue, consider developing countries or the poor of every nation, with little to no access to education and resources, where computing could help build the economy, health, education, and financial systems.
We invite you to join IEEE Computer’s newly-established Special Technical Community on Broadening Participation (stcbp.org) to create a collective global strategy to research and improve participation and inclusion in computing.
Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) is the focus of our first international meeting. Co-located with the STARS Celebration in Charlotte, NC, just after ICER, RESPECT 2015 will be a premier research conference with research papers, experience reports (due March 27), posters and panels (due June 5). We invite all interdisciplinary work that draws on computer science, education, learning sciences, and the social sciences to help us build a strong community, theory, and foundation for broadening participation research.
We hope you will get involved today by joining stcbp.org, submitting to stcbp.org/RESPECT2015, attending RESPECT 2015 August 13-14, or contacting the STC-BP chairs Tiffany Barnes, firstname.lastname@example.org, or George K. Thiruvathukal, email@example.com.
Colleagues at Pearson asked me to share this announcement with you.
Join Pearson and learning leaders from Higher Ed, K–12, and STEM industries in Silicon Valley to discuss strategies for closing the gender gap in STEM. We’ve partnered with Google, Code.org, Maker Ed, Girls Who Code, and the City of San Francisco to bring you lively discussions and presentations on how educators and industry leaders can work together to close the gap in STEM education and STEM careers.
- Keynote presented by Mona Akmal, Director of Product at Code.org
- Google presentation of the company’s research report Women Who Choose Computer Science—What Really Matters
- Google campus tour
- Panel discussion featuring Susan Nesbitt from Girls Who Code & Patrick Mitchell from TechSF, City & County of San Francisco
- Presentation about the gender gap’s economic implications by J. Robert Gillette, Associate Professor of Economics, Gatton College of Business & Economics, University of Kentucky
- Presentation “Imagine a World Where Women Feel Safe: Break the Silence” by Deborah Acosta, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of San Leandro
- Panel discussion, moderated by Lisa Regalla, National Program Manager at Maker Ed, featuring secondary-school and college women discussing their interest in STEM careers, mentorship, and other topics
- via STEM: Closing the Gender Gap | Pearson.