2017 NEXT Awardees

We are pleased to announce the 2017 NEXT Awardees!

Awards will be presented at the 2017 NCWIT Summit on May 23, 2017.

The NEXT Awards celebrate past and present Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs (ES-UP) clients for excellence in recruiting and retaining women in computing education, falling into three categories: Grand Prize, Second Place, and Honorable Mentions. For detailed information about each award, please visit www.ncwit.org/nextawards; for more information about ES-UP, please visit www.ncwit.org/extensionservices.

  • Grand Prize winners receive up to $100,000 for demonstrating a strong commitment to and proven results in recruiting and retaining women into undergraduate computing programs. The 2017 NEXT Award Grand Prize winner is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Computer Science for its long-term commitment to the recruitment and retention of undergraduate women. The department employs an impressive array of outreach and recruiting efforts, and has acted to identify and eliminate the effects of implicit bias in admissions. Efforts to improve culture and pedagogy are shaped by evaluation and include training for faculty and teaching assistants, hiring of professional teaching faculty, increased opportunities for collaborative learning, strong support for students and student activities, and ongoing improvements to the introductory course sequence. The series of “CS+X” majors (e.g. CS+Anthropology, CS+Astronomy, and CS+Linguistics) represents significant institutional commitment and has yielded notable success in attracting undergraduate women.
    The Collaborative Team includes Ms. Cynthia Coleman, Dr. Cinda Heeren, Dr. Susan Larson, Dr. Lenny Pitt, and Ms. Heather Zike; the Team’s Extension Services consultant is Dr. Elsa Macias.
  • Second Place winners receive up to $50,000 each for demonstrating a strong commitment to and proven results in recruiting and retaining women into undergraduate computing programs but have not yet achieved the magnitude of results seen in the first place winner. The 2017 NEXT Award Second Place winners include the University of Michigan, Division of Computer Science and Engineering, and the University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Computer Science.
    • The University of Michigan was selected for the commendable breadth and depth of its recruiting and retention efforts. Recruiting efforts focus on undeclared undergraduate students and include a multifaceted promotional campaign and redesign of the introductory class, Elementary Program Concepts. Bias training for course staff and students, and efforts to maintain a diverse group of female and male teaching assistants, are noteworthy. Retention efforts include the use of relevant and interesting course content, collaborative learning, timely feedback, student encouragement, and department sponsorship of student groups for undergraduate and graduate women. Significant increases in faculty hiring indicate strong institutional support, and evaluation is used to guide efforts. These initiatives have been rewarded by consistent upward trends for female majors and graduations.
      The Collaborative Team at the University of Michigan includes Dr. Mary Lou Dorf, Dr. Valeria Bertacco, Dr. Amir Kamil, Dr. Laura Alford, and Dr. William Arthur; the Team’s Extension Services consultant is Dr. Angela Arndt.
    • The University of Colorado Boulder was selected in part on the strength of its partnership with the Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) Center, a College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) initiative to increase diversity of all engineering majors, including computer science. Recruiting events, such as Girls Explore Engineering Day and the Mocktail Party, coupled with improved messaging and frequent personal contact with admitted students, have significantly increased the percentage of women newly enrolled in computer science (CS). A new class for students without prior programming experience makes computing accessible to students across campus and will better prepare those students who continue in CS. Routine evaluation of diversity initiatives and climate, practices such as “interview grading" to increase student contact with instructional staff, and CEAS-wide efforts to hire more female faculty are important tools for increasing retention and graduation rates for undergraduate women.
      The Collaborative Team includes Dr. Rhonda Hoenigman, Dr. Sarah Miller, and Ms. Amanda Parker; the Team’s Extension Services consultant is Ms. Michelle Slattery.

    Honorable Mentions include the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Computer and Information Science, and New York University Tandon School of Engineering, Departments of Computer Science and Engineering; Technology, Science and Culture; and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

    • The University of Pennsylvania is recognized for sustaining high percentages of women over the past decade. The multiple degree programs, computer science as a second major option, and new CS for All computing courses for non-engineers have proven effective in attracting women. Introductory programming for students without prior experience, financial support for research experiences for undergraduates, adding teaching faculty, and increasing hires of female faculty demonstrate commitment to student diversity and success. Broad institutional responsibility and support for gender diversity are evident.
      The Collaborative Team includes Dr. Sampath Kannan, Dr. Susan Davidson, and Dr. Sanjeev Khanna; the Team’s Extension Services consultant is Dr. Rita Powell.
    • New York University Tandon School of Engineering is recognized for the range of initiatives undertaken to increase women’s participation in computer science and engineering. The interdepartmental and cross-school collaborative team took an intentional and strategic approach and used NCWIT resources and strategies effectively. Recruiting efforts include collaboration with centralized marketing and admissions offices on effective messaging, revisions to promotional materials, multiple recruiting events, and personalized contact with prospective students. For retention, gender sensitivity training for faculty and teaching assistants, attention to pedagogy, and revisions to the introductory course sequence are notable. Strong institutional commitment is evident, and the recent upward trends in new enrollments and declared majors are impressive. With the many initiatives that are either planned or already in place, it is anticipated that these trends will be reflected in graduation rates.
      The Collaborative Team includes Dr. Phyllis Frankl, Ms. Elizabeth Ensweiler, Ms. Cindy Lewis, Ms. Nicole Johnson, and Dr. Kristen Day; the Team’s Extension Services consultant is Dr. Jennifer Goodall.