The Michigan Engineer News Center

Five faculty honored for increasing women’s participation in computing

A team of NAME and EECS faculty have been awarded with a Second Place Excellence in Promoting Women in Undergraduate Computing Award.| Medium Read
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The collaborative team at the University of Michigan includes Dr. Mary Lou Dorf, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Valeria Bertacco, Dr. Amir Kamil, Dr. Laura Alford, and Dr. William Arthur; the Team’s Extension Services consultant is Dr. Angela Arndt. They have received the NCWIT Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Award. Sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Google, the NEXT Awards honor academic departments that show significant positive outcomes in increasing women’s meaningful participation in computing education.

Recipients of the NEXT Awards demonstrate outstanding achievement as clients of NCWIT Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs (ES-UP), a program that helps academic departments of computing develop high-impact strategies for recruiting and retaining more women students with advice that is customized to local needs and conditions.

“Not only are we proud to recognize these department for their remarkable results, but we’re also proud to recognized the ripple effect these institutions create among the computing community at large,” said NCWIT COE and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “They are setting an example for other institutions – reinventing their culture by establishing better habits and practices for attracting and keeping a range of students in their computing programs.”

In the U.S. in 2015, women earned 57% of all undergraduate degrees. Yet, women earned less than one-fifth of all computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees (https://www.ncwit.org/resources/numbers). Departments can change the gender imbalance of their student body through deliberate efforts directed at the local system that creates and maintain gender imbalance.

As a second place winner, The University of Michigan team received $50,000. NCWIT has recognized the depth and breadth of Michigan’s recruiting and retention efforts in CS. Currently, those recruiting efforts focus on undeclared students and include a multifaceted promotional campaign and redesign of the introductory computing course EECS 183. Retention efforts include the use of relevant and interesting course content, collaborative learning, timely feedback, and student encouragement through their first four computing courses (EECS 183, 203, 280, and 281). A mentorship program for undergraduates was also created by EECS 183 and 280 faculty so women in CS could feel more welcomed and included.

About NCWIT
Each NEXT Award recipient is a client of MCWIT Extension Services (ES-UP) – a program that connects academic departments (“clients”) with expert Extension Services Consultants (ESCs) who provide informational and motivational assistance in identifying opportunities, resources, allies, and assessment plans to craft high-impact reform efforts for recruiting and retaining more women in their programs. Diverse institutional clients nationwide work to achiece quantifiable results such as increased enrollments, declared majors, and graduation rates for women students in IT and allied engineering programs. Find out more at www.ncwit.org/extensionservices.

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