2015 NEXT Award Commendation Page: Michigan State University

Departments of Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering

Recipient of the 2015 NCWIT Extension Services Transformation Award

Second Place ($50,000)


NCWIT recognizes the accomplishments of Michigan State University in promoting women in computing by awarding them second place (tie) in the inaugural 2015 NEXT Awards. The College of Engineering began their work with NCWIT Extension Services in 2009 with the goal of working across departments to increase women’s participating in the College. At that time, only 10% of their computer science majors and only 9% of the electrical engineering majors were women. By 2013, women’s enrollment in these programs had increased to 14% and 11%, respectively. While the gains have been modest to date, they are significant given the institutional context and the timeframe. The MSU team quickly and effectively implemented a broad-range of well-conceived recruitment and retention efforts. Of particular note are several new courses and seminars, including the Computer Science Department’s Computational Thinking Lab, an optional course to encourage and support students with limited programming experience who are enrolled in the introductory computer science course. The committee anticipates that the team’s efforts will soon bear fruit given the College’s commitment to diversity, its investment in staff and cross-department coordination, and its dedication to systematic evaluation of its initiatives. The College is also commended for its active participation in the NCWIT Academic Alliance, including developing key resources for use by other schools, and its participation in the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program.

Collaborative Team:

Department of Computer Science and Engineering:

  • Professor Laura Dillon

College of Engineering:

  • Ms. Teresa VanderSloot, Director of Recruitment and K-12 Outreach/Women in Engineering
  • Ms. Judy Cordes, Director of Student Success/Women in Engineering
  • Dr. Drew Kim, Assistant to the Dean for Recruitment & K12 Outreach

Department of Chemical Engineering:

  • Dr. Daina Briedis, Assistant Dean for Student Advancement and Program Assessment

Department of Mechanical Engineering:

  • Professor Alejandro Diaz, Chair

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering:

  • Professor Timothy Grotjohn, Chair

Extension Services Consultant:

  • Dr. Michelle Slattery


For more information on NCWIT's Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs, visit ncwit.org/extensionservices.