FAQs for ES

What is the ES consulting process?

Extension Services Consultants (ESCs) are experts in NCWIT’s research-based recruitment and retention strategies who help academic departments identify opportunities and challenges for increasing women in their computing programs, and who provide advice and suggest resources for departments to develop strategic recruitment, retention, and do-it-yourself evaluation plans. The ESCs check in with departments periodically to discuss what is working, what is not working, and to track progress. Visit the ESC Biography Webpage to learn about each of the current ESCs.

The academic departments form “client cohorts” so that participants can imagine, test, and refine ideas with their peers and compare their progress with others whose needs and conditions are similar or different from their own.

To recognize ES clients’ achievements, NCWIT has established the NCWIT Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Awards, funded by Google.org. These awards recognize client departments that have shown significant positive outcomes in women’s enrollment and graduation rates, and have excellent potential for sustaining progress.

How does an academic department become involved with ES?

  • Resources: Find tools for changing undergraduate women’s representation with research-based strategies.
  • (COMING SOON!) TalkItUP: ES will facilitate TalkItUP, 30-minute online conversations about approaches to recruiting and retaining women undergraduates with departments that have substantially increased enrollments and/or graduations.
  • Become a Client: Many computing departments have worked with ES consultants to develop strategic plans for change. Funding is not currently available through ES for work with an ES Consultant. However, academic departments are invited to find funding within their own institution or from a corporate sponsor. Email the ES Program at es@ncwit.org for more information.

How do we know if efforts are working?

Evaluation is critical for knowing how to use the scarce resources available for recruiting and retaining women undergraduates. These primary tools can help clients diagnose their situation and evaluate their progress:

  1. NCWIT Tracking Tool: The NCWIT Tracking Tool is an online tool to help departments evaluate efforts for recruiting and retaining students in their major(s). Programs submit data on applications, acceptances, enrollments, and graduations, working with their institutional research office. Tracking Tool users can generate reports and trend charts to assess their progress in increasing enrollment and retention of women undergraduates across time. The Tracking Tool can also provide comparisons to other ES clients and to national trends.
  2. NCWIT Entry Survey: This customizable survey is used to find out which recruiting initiatives work and which do not. Students are asked to indicate which of the department’s recruiting initiatives they participated in.
  3. NCWIT Second Course Survey: This survey helps departments track retention in early courses. It is used to determine whether participating in the first course led students to participate in the second. It also asks students to indicate their intention to declare a major or seek a minor in the department.
  4. Student Experience of the Major (SEM) Survey: This diagnostic tool helps departments to assess classroom climate, an important influence for retaining students. It is used to inform the design and implementation of effective retention strategies.

How is ES funded?

ES was originally developed with funds from the National Science Foundation (Awards HRD-1203148/1203198/1203174/1203179). The current NSF grant is in partnership with ENGAGE: Engaging Students in Engineering and provides consultation to computing and information technology departments who work in conjunction with colleagues in engineering departments, fields where the participation of women also has been historically low. The teams work collaboratively to expand the pool of women enrolled and graduating from computing and engineering programs.

Google.org has provided generous funding for additional development of ES, including funds for new clients, the development of the NEXT Awards, the addition of new features in the NCWIT Tracking Tool, and the production of new resources.