Non-Doctoral-Granting Departments, Social Acceptance of STEM, NCWIT at DSW, and a Startup Mentality

New Insight Into Non-Doctoral-Granting Departments in Computing

Did you know the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) completed the first survey of non-doctoral-granting departments in computing in early 2013? The survey focused on enrollments, degrees, faculty/student demographics, and faculty salaries. The ACM report compares and contrasts data with the Taulbee survey of doctoral-granting departments in computing. In general, the comparison indicates that there are positive enrollment and degree production trends in both non-doctoral-granting and doctoral-granting departments in computing.

For example, “Among the 2011–2012 graduates, 16.2% were female. This compares favorably to gender data from Taulbee institutions where 13.3% of graduates were female. IS, IT, and SE programs had significantly higher rates of female graduates (21.8%, 20.5%, and 18.2%). View the table for Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded by Gender and Program Type here.

Take a look at the report for details on other key findings and comparisons to Taulbee data.

Societal Acceptance of STEM Could Lead to a Stronger Economy

Did you know that the future of the U.S. economy may be partially dependent on our ability to encourage girls, at both the K-12 and collegiate levels, to pursue education and careers in STEM? An important aspect of this encouragement should also be creating societal acceptance of STEM, according to Amy Fleischer, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Villanova University. Fleischer explains, “If we don't recognize and acknowledge that our lack of female scientists and engineers is not an ability-driven gap but instead a pervasive socialization problem that begins at the earliest ages, then we will continue to alienate and exclude half our population from these critical fields – and risk harm to the future U.S. economy.”

Fleischer also points out that while there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to STEM fields, some data suggests that we are moving in the right direction. For example, disciplines such as biomedical and environmental fields granted roughly 39% and 44% of its degrees to women in 2011.

Read more on Fleischer’s take on this issue here.  

Retaining Female Tech Talent

Did you know that women are leaving tech jobs twice as often as men? The Anita Borg Institute recently released the Women Technologists Count report, outlining ten important tips for retaining technical women and decreasing attrition rates within an organization.

Telle Whitney, President and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, describes the importance of retaining female tech talent as a “business imperative.” As described in NCWIT’s Scorecard, gender diversity is associated with “increased sales revenue, more customers, and greater profits.”

Read the ten tips for retaining women in tech roles from the report here. “What I'm excited about [in] this reports is that it shows that organizations can do something about retention and understand what that looks like," Telle said.

NCWIT has some great resources related to this article: Top 10 Ways Managers Can Retain Technical Women Top 10 Ways Successful Technical Women Increase Their Visibility, and Top 10 Ways Managers Can Increase the Visibility of Technical Women.  Find these resources and more at the newly developed Affinity Group Alliance Resource Page, which catalogs areas of research best-suited for the AGA.  I will add more resources to this page as I come across them, so please check back regularly.

NCWIT at Denver Startup Week

Did you know that NCWIT Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Catherine Ashcraft, and NCWIT Assistant Director, Terry Morreale, recently presented at Denver Startup Week (DSW). Their talk outlines some of the psychological dynamics that are at play, such as schemas and how we all carry perceptions, and sometimes stereotypes, into the workplace in unconscious ways. Following the talk, several companies from the Entrepreneurial Alliance participated in a dynamic panel discussion about things they’ve done or changed that have made a difference to the way their companies and startups approach hiring, interviewing, and building culture. It was an awesome way to provide the startup community with some of the successes and progress in gender diversity from NCWIT members. You can find a great summary of this panel and NCWIT’s presence at DSW which was published here.

Male Advocates and Allies: Promoting Gender Diversity in Technology Workplaces provides an inside look at how some men are already attempting to address subtle unconscious biases and promote gender diversity in technology workplaces.

Thank you SendGrid, SpotXchange, ReturnPath, and On3 Software! NCWIT appreciates these EA and WA members and all of you participating in other outreach efforts. Events such as DSW and the recent presentation at Apple’s headquarters, including Sifteo and Memeo, are how we share our resources, build our network of change leaders, and talk about ways everyone can support and advance gender diversity.

Do you know of upcoming events where NCWIT’s participation may be of value? Would you be interested in hosting an event on these topics? Let us know.

A Startup Mentality Serves Young Girls in STEM

Did you know that a “startup mentality” might be an invaluable way to attract young girls to STEM? It is exactly this idea that guided Tara Chklovski, a Ph.D. recipient in Aerospace Engineering, to create her 2006 startup, Iridescent. “Young girls are such big users of tech, but they never see themselves as inventors of tech,” said Tara.

Iridescent is based on a two-step methodology that provides the opportunity for both children and adults to build upon their interests in science. First, adult mentors from STEM fields complete training for teaching their research to the general population. Then, they teach courses to high school girls, underprivileged minority children, and their families. Iridescent now includes four locations across the country, in addition to its original small community lab in Los Angeles. Iridescent also offers the Technovation Challenge, a global competition for small groups of girls to build mobile apps that solve problems in their local communities.

“The path to solving a problem is never straight, but we want to change the way that innovation happens… We’re bringing underrepresented groups into the world of solving problems,” said Tara.

Learn more about the work being done at Iridescent and the impact that one person can have on young girls in STEM here.

Do you want to start a conversation with a young woman about what a career in information technology has to offer? Check out this NCWIT Talking Points resource.