Recruiting Young Women into, and Retaining Them in Computing Majors

If you are in the Pittsburg PA area you may find this talk interesting. I’ve served on several panels with Dave Klappholz and he is seriously committed to better pedagogy and better recruiting of women and under served minorities into computer science. I also appreciate that he studies the teaching of computer science and how do do it better. We don’t do enough of that in my opinion. He’ll be giving a talk at Carnegie Mellon University next week. I’m hoping he has a good turn out. I know he'd like to see a lot of high school teachers there and I know he has valuable things for them to hear.

When :   Thursday, April 21, 2009 at 3:00pm
Where:   Newell-Simon Hall 3305 Carnegie Mellon University
Speaker: David Klappholz,
        Associate Professor of Computer Science
        Stevens Institute of Technology
Title:   "Recruiting Young Women into, and Retaining Them in Computing
Majors: A High School and College Level Initiative (ACM-W Project) Based
Upon a 35-Year Psychological Study"
      Gender equity in computing has long been a national goal
advanced by those concerned with fairness and by those who know that the
female point of view improves the design and development of software
. Unfortunately, though, the percentage of young women entering
computing-related majors keeps falling, and the female dropout rate is
higher than the very high male dropout rate.  The Bureau of Labor
Statistics predicts a large increase in the need for B.S. and M.S.
computing graduates in the next decade. The largest untapped pool of
potential computing majors and, eventually, computing professionals, is
science- and math-talented high school students, but only about 10% of
entering undergraduate majors in computing majors are female. Despite
the many initiatives aimed at attracting young women, the number of
female computing majors keeps dropping
. In this talk we will discuss
results of an extensive psychological research study that followed
thousands of science- and math-talented students from middle school to
middle age and that explains why many previous initiatives have failed.
We will also discuss a new high school and university level initiative
that is supported by these psychological studies, and that has recently
been designated an ACM-W project. We will invite interested attendees to
personally participate in, and encourage their high schools,
universities, and/or employers to participate in this initiative.
       Dr. David Klappholz is an associate professor of computer
science at Stevens Institute of Technology, where his specialty is
software engineering. Dr. Klappholz spent a Fall 2002 sabbatical with
Barry Boehm at USC and has worked with Prof. Boehm, a major partner in
the initiative, every summer since then. In addition to his interest in
empirical software engineering research, Prof. Klappholz works, under
NSF funding, with an educational psychologist on issues relating to
engineering education pedagogy. He is also a member of a Stevens-based,
DoD-supported, team that is crafting a reference standard M.S.
curriculum in software engineering, a curriculum with a heavy systems
engineering slant. In a previous incarnation Prof. Klappholz did
research, supported by NSF, IBM Research, DoE, and others, on parallel
machine architecture, automatic code parallelization, compiler
optimizations, and, in his professional infancy, on natural language
understanding and translation.

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