2021 CoNECD

Increasing the Enrollment, Retention, and Graduation of Undergraduate Women Majoring in Computing

Presented at CoNECD Session : Day 1 Slot 3 Technical Session 4

Increasing the Enrollment, Retention, and Graduation of Undergraduate Women Majoring in Computing

Keywords: Undergraduate, Computer Science, Gender, Women

Increasing the participation of women in undergraduate computing requires a multi-pronged, systemic approach that include strategic recruitment, inclusive pedagogy, meaningful curriculum, student support, high-level institutional support, and evaluation of initiatives. The Extension Services (ES) program at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) employs this systemic approach for changing the way students experience computing majors and has yielding notable success; computing departments that participated in the ES program steadily increased the percentage of women declared majors from 11% in 2008 to 20% in 2017, ES clients steadily increased the retention rate of women declared computing majors from 79% in 2008 to 91% in 2017, and the percentage of degrees awarded to women steadily increased from 11% in 2008 to 20% in 2017. Moreover, ES clients continue to make progress over time. The greater the number of years since ES consultation and implementing our systemic change strategies, the greater the progress in women declared majors and graduates with bachelor’s degrees in computing. While the results in this paper focus on computing departments, the recruitment and retention recommendations are applicable to engineering and other STEM disciplines where women are severely underrepresented.

  1. Dr. Leisa D. Thompson University of Virginia [biography]
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For those interested in:

  • Broadening Participation in Engineering and Engineering Technology
  • computer science
  • gender
  • undergraduate